Zia Hassan

Eliciting Wonder

It’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t enjoy some kind of music. Same goes for movies, and even fine art.

But poetry? When it comes to poetry, there are vast amounts of haters.

Think about Shel Silverstein. People love him for his simplicity. The words rhyme so your brain can almost fill in the blanks. I think the lack of work required to get enjoyment out of his poems is relatively small.

Maybe it’s that poetry is a form of word art, as opposed to a novel that is perhaps a form of sentence art. Stringing sentences together to tell a compelling story is challenging. Take away the structure of sentences, though, and ask the reader to interpret their own meaning, and it seems that you’ve asked too much. It’s like eating finger food vs. a 3 course meal with a beginning, middle, and end.

But then again, the finger food was never meant to satiate. It was meant to elicit wonder.

And so it goes with poetry as well. The day that a person reads a poem that elicits wonder is the day that a person begins to love poetry. If a poem produces hunger of the spirit, then the poet and their reader has won.

I don’t understand every single line of T.S. Elliot’s Prufrock. But I do know that “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons” hits me in a way that no TV show ever could.