What only words can describe

Putting together this fortnight’s newsletter, I was struck by how poetry really can be found in everything – and how the perception of profound disagreement resides at its heart. I shan’t wax too much lest your attention wane, but the long and the short is that anything you can describe in words, you can describe in poetry.

And poetry is what, exactly? There’s irony in this dry old dictionary definition – “literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature.”

I think that’s missing a little vitality. Which made me think about what the essence of poetry might be, on a more visceral level. My proposition is: disharmony, or the appearance thereof. It makes for powerful stuff. Poetry disassembles and reassembles our reality. It points out the minutiae of concepts we’d taken for granted, and it unites what previously seemed “other” into a whole we’d never perceived before.

Much as yin and yang are opposites, yet at their core are also each other, so too there is always a sliver of one concept within anything else it could possibly be compared to – no matter how antagonistic the ideas might seem.

So, where does that leave conflict? If I take this lesson from poetry and extend it into divisions between people – disagreements, distrust, misunderstandings – then I’m left with the encouraging thought that divergence is simply a matter of not yet perceiving the unity.




Genevieve Sovereign
Community Manager – The Slow School of Business

Share this: