Poetry, and why I don’t write it

Nellie Brosnan

Poetry is one of those things I can’t stand. It carries on line after line, leaving the reader either intrigued or overwhelmed — mostly overwhelmed — by the topic it discusses. A wise person once said: poetry is short for a reason — because no one can keep up that level of stupidity for more than a page. Amen.

One of the worst years in high school is sophomore year in which students undergo the dreaded poetry unit. Literature teachers are convinced that there is a deeper meaning behind every poem and force their students to find it. They believe that a poet puts a certain comma in a certain place for a reason, and because of that comma, the entire poem is able to provide an insight on life that can be related to the present day. Yet the true purpose of that comma might just be to separate parts of a sentence, but a literature teacher will not hear of it.

I used to write poetry. I used to write about colors and what I thought they symbolized. I picked the most absurd colors, not your typical red, yellow and blue, but colors like amber and apricot ice, which isn’t even a real color. I wrote dozens of these color poems, all of which did not make any sense, but were entertaining to write nonetheless. Here’s a sample of my type and level of poetry called, “Tickle-Me-Pink,” a poem I wrote back in 2004.

Tickle-Me-Pink is bubble gum.
Tickle-Me-Pink is lots of fun.
Tickle-Me-Pink is a red rose blossom.
Tickle-Me-Pink is a newborn possum.
Tickle-Me-Pink isn’t discouraged or blue.
Tickle-Me-Pink is a friend to me and you.

Even though it was eight years ago, my level of poetry has not improved over the years, partly because I stopped writing. After what felt like my hundredth poem, I realized how much time I was wasting while writing the stupid things and decided to quit. And my thoughts about poetry have remained the same this entire time: writing poetry is a colossal waste of time.

But looking back on those years when I used to write about colors like bronze, ginger, and yes, apricot ice, I now realize how much fun writing them was. I got to be creative and imaginative, inventing things in any way I liked. It didn’t matter if it rhymed or made sense; all that mattered was that I was coloring outside the lines.

There is nothing definite about poetry. It can be about heavy topics or light topics and vary from simple things like balloons or flowers to more serious things like politics or death. There may be no real symbolization behind it, but that’s the beauty of it. Poetry is one of those few opportunities in which you can write about anything you want, anything you feel, and it is never wrong because it’s yours. Everyone is a poet and they don’t know it, but if they write a poem, they will.