What Is Poetry Anyway?

Forget the sensuous rhythms, the candlelit flows
The flame-drenched language
                                and the exaggerated escapades

Forget the masterful forms, the dreamy refrains
The count of lines and stanzas
                      and the elaborate rhyming schemes

Forget the scathing irony, the fanciful similes
The absolutely astonishing alliteration
                         and the mind-blowing metaphors

Forget all that glitter and just keep the gold
        A poem isn’t a poem
                                                Unless it’s about you


Here’s also the first version of this poem, which I’ve been working on for too long.

A poem is not a poem
On the page
Unless it’s about you

Though it may feel and look
Like some poetry
It’s not the same

Every word decays
In my candlelit mind
Unless it’s about you

Often lines and stanzas
Go astray, too, when
A poem is not a poem

Because there is no prose
Or even rhyme
Unless it’s about you

And in my heart and
On the page
A poem is not a poem
Unless it’s about you


92 comments on “What Is Poetry Anyway?

  1. Ace says:

    Wow Ben, this is just absolutely stunning. I am truly speechless. Both versions are so beautiful in their authenticity and truth. I love the formatting in the first one and the rhythmic flow in the second one. And you are so right…a poem is not a poem unless it’s about you. That is so powerfully true. AMAZING, my friend!!! I can’t express how much I love this 💚💙

    • Thanks, Ace! I know I can always count on your support. I like each version for different reasons like you said. And, every creative piece is kinda like our creative babies. We love them all in deep ways. But usually it’s the “other” or “you” that makes a poem a poem, for sure. Thanks for all your thoughts. Stay your best self and have a fantastic night! 💚💙

      • Ace says:

        You’re always welcome, my friend!!! Yes, I love how you say “creative babies”…it’s so true, each creation has a special place in our hearts and minds. And yes, “you” can be interpreted in so many ways, that’s why I loved your line so much. It’s truly a gift to read your masterpieces! Keep shining and being amazingly YOU 💚💙

      • Ace says:

        Hey there!!! I’m just checking in to let you know I nominated you for The Brainstorms Award. You absolutely deserve it! No worries if your site is award free, just wanted to share your beautiful work and how much I appreciate you!!!! Much love, my friend 🖤🤗

      • That’s cool. Thanks for thinking of me on this award. Hopefully I can get around to doing it soon. Much love to you as well. Have a great night! 🙂

      • Thanks again! Really special to hear this. And you gift me with your praise. I do not take it lightly. I can always get behind the power of a “YOU”. 💚💙

  2. abykittiwakewrites says:

    Love the first version. Good stuff.

  3. They are both amazing in distinct ways. Love them both! Brilliantly done.❤️

  4. Secrets says:

    Oh, I like seeing these two versions Ben and I am glad you posted both. As to which is my favourite… A lady never tells 😆

  5. crimsonposy says:

    Forget it all, haha. Our lives are poetry. Nicely written!

  6. Cassa Bassa says:

    The original is simple, the newer version is more extravagant, it’s interesting to see how 2 poems express the same weight in 2 different ways.

  7. I find that the revision is more sophisticated. 🙂

  8. Very interesting to read both poems and knowing you a bit..I am struck with the fact that they really are not about the same thing..I think the first version, tells us poets, if we don’t put ourselves in the poem it’s not really poetry and the second is a love poem about your love (you) who you choose to only write about because you’re totally obsessed by this love..if that love(you) is not part of your poem..well it’s not your poem:) It’s not poetry ataall..I might be wrong..but I was immediately struck by this thought, in the 2nd version:) Super romantic Ben!

    • Well, yes. I think you’re correct in your assessment. Though I think in some ways it was an unintentional shift at the start. The distance between revising the pieces and the shift in form slightly altered the meaning. One of them is certainly about a perfect lover. And everything you said makes perfect sense to me. Thanks for writing this comment. It’s a masterful reading you’ve done. Wow. Thanks a lot, Karima!

  9. Marlapaige says:

    Both of these are exquisite, but the final product is absolutely breath-taking, It’s amazing to see the two next to each other – the creative process at work. I also love how the two poems are effectively the same, but they say two completely different things. The first one makes me feel like poetry isn’t poetry unless the poet gives something of themselves to the craft. The second one is a poem that’s about loving someone else and wanting to write about them and hearing them in every poem you read. It’s really an interesting dichotomy on the same theme. Thank you for sharing

    • Thanks, thanks! I do think it’s interesting to see a full creative process. Things can change so much during revisions and over time. Alternate versions are exciting at times. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really am intrigued by hearing other’s opinions and ideas. Such a cool thing that we all think differently about the same thing. Subjective truths are very interesting. Thanks again!

  10. Wow. So beautifully said. I really liked the first one 🙂

  11. Fascinating!
    It’s amazing how certain people can act as an element to a poem and add more spark to it. And yes, sometime it’s not about metaphors or rhymes, but their presence.
    These poems are perfect Benjamin 💫

  12. vintageblack says:

    beautiful message there about getting back to the (poetic) essence

  13. gabychops says:

    Dear Ben, despite all the erudite assessments, the plain fact is, nature didn’t heal your obsession with the person you still love. I am not the best person to advise, done many mistakes before myself.

    Thank you, I love both poems, you are very talented.


    • Thanks Joanna. I do appreciate your support very much! We all mistakes, in truth, but we are much more than our mistakes in the end. And, I don’t know too much of obsessions but sometimes you love certain people no matter what. And: I think Emily Dickson was right in saying this: “The Heart wants what it wants – or else it does not care”. Thanks again for all your kindness.

  14. Filarance says:

    Wowww..! Ben, it’s Marvelous.! Fantastic..! Awesome..! I really liked this piece very much..! So amazing..! Keep shinning..! Woww..! I’m speechless..!

  15. Chris Hall says:

    I enjoyed reading both poems, Benjamin, and it’s interesting to see the contrast between them. The first one you listed made me smile, I love the gentle mockery of the poet’s craft: ‘…absolutely astonishing alliteration…’ 🙂

    • Haha, exactly! A “gentle” mocking, perhaps. Poetry is supposed to be an almost higher form of art, but perhaps there is no high and low art. Just art … in many mediums. Thanks a lot! 🙂 Enjoyed reading what you wrote! 🙂

  16. Garima Rawat says:

    I love the deep meaning this poem has…’A poem isn’t a poem, unless it’s about you’…People generally tend to ignore poetry like any other form of art. When their world becomes dark or when they struggle with processing their emotions, they turn to poetry and suddenly the poetry becomes relatable.

    • Thanks, Garima. You’re right in that we take art for granted. It really is important in so many aspects of our lives and effects our moods. Weddings, funerals, relationships, graduations, history is all deeply tied to art. But sometimes we don’t treat art and artists with the respect they deserve. And I, too, am guilty unfortunately of consuming art and forgetting to praise it. Creating art is a hard job. Thanks for this thoughtful comment!

  17. Love, LOVE the second version.
    Your words manage to slip down into a special, home-like corner in my heart. 🌼💜

  18. VJ Knutson says:

    Thanks for sharing your poetic process – the outcome is sublime.

  19. Hasan Adan says:

    I love both versions and each has its own style and rhythm yet the message is clear and concise and a joy to read. I’m glad you shared both versions with us Benjamin!

  20. Simmi says:

    Beautiful! from the start to finish, wow! 😊

  21. Diana says:

    This was absolutely stunning, Ben! I loved both versions! Well done, buddy! 🙏💖🌈

  22. Both are just so wonderful

  23. ahiricreates says:

    This is amazing ben!! Each and everyy line! Both the versions are so great! The formatting of the first one is amazing! And I loved the beautiful start and flow of the second one two!! Glad you posted both of them!

    Both are amazing in two different ways❤️

  24. Great glimpse at how your writing evolves, thank you.

  25. Sunra Rainz says:

    I enjoyed this for its ambiguity. It could be romantic or it could be some other “other” you’re thinking about. Cause so often there is some entity behind the thought process of a poem. Lovely, Ben 🙂

    • Wow! Isn’t that the truth. The entity behind the words or the poems. Perhaps there is always one, even if it’s just a amalgamation of many. Thanks for your thoughtful comment! Always appreciative of your support and kindness! 🙂

      • Sunra Rainz says:

        You’re most welcome! I enjoyed reading you. I love that the poet doesn’t always know what they convey sometimes but it means something to someone else.
        Have a lovely rest of the weekend, Ben ☺️

      • Right. Exactly that sometimes. I like your thought there. You always get me thinking deeply on these things. Have a lovely week! 🙂

  26. Two marvellous poems. Evoked completely differently in many ways. ❤

  27. Salmeen Al Hathrash says:

    This lights up another candle in my mind, fascinated.

  28. Thanks for that! Appreciate it greatly!

  29. yassy says:

    What a yummy sweet poem. I like your heart and mind , it’s purity of soul that makes you write so. Great great poetry.

  30. Hi, Ben, I like them both, but the first is my favorite. I like the sense of fragmentation it imparts. Great work, as always! 🌞

  31. Loved this poem/post! Your first version of this is on the right track and contains some real gems and seeds of inspiration you should probably flesh out and rewrite. I’d love to see it? Love the line – “A poem is not a poem, unless it’s about you!” Anxious to see what you re-create from your first version! It’s a gem waiting to be mined!! 😊👍

  32. lynsnich says:

    Just started following. I love the way you write. The irony in this. Love it

  33. Kritika says:

    Touching poetry. Beautiful flow in both.

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