The High Cost of Free Verse
Without depth free verse can end up being a pile of angsty teenage regurgitation on a page. Annoying. Embarrassing. Possibly age appropriate but not truly poetry. At least not poetry that leaves the taste of truth in a reader’s mouth. Make no mistake free verse is personal. But that’s not all it is. It’s not meant to be a cargo dump of feelings. It demands the writer to have intimate relations with their own feelings, to ride the wave of these encounters down to the universal truths at their roots. These truths will resonate with their corresponding universes be they large or small. Poets are seers. Poets are storytellers. Most of all poets are truth tellers. Enter our world and uncover more about your own. Swallow our words and taste yourself. Walk in the steps of our cadence and notice formerly hidden parallel paths you hadn’t yet realized you want to explore.
It takes courage for writers to dive deeply enough to accomplish this mercurial feat. There are no error free air tanks to don. It’s all free diving and your lungs will feel as if they are bursting as your heart staccato shrinks and expands in painful ways. But the journey serves you as much if not more than those you serve. And serve them you must. Otherwise your musings will only afford you a certain level of self stroking satisfaction void of connection leaving you hungry for more. There will then be no completion or climax to your self story.
Not everyone will thank you for showing them truth. Not everyone will accept the invitation to ride your words down their own uncharted streams. Naysayers will reject your writing as egocentric scratchings unworthy to be labeled poetry. “Where is your rhyme,” they will ask as they flick the honeyed or acid laced words of reason you offer from their fingertips. Your words fit no structure they know. There is nothing to memorize only to absorb. Perhaps they are overfilled with certainty or fear. But small phrases will manage to wiggle in. They will nest waiting for a little more light to slide through the cracks. It is not your job to teach or preach. Do not weaponize your words in ways soft or harsh. Set them down. Like salt in a forest. Those who need them will come.