One of the comments on my poem, Ubuntu, had sparked this blog. Thank you to the fellow poet who kindly made the remark that the poem should perhaps be a bit longer (I am paraphrasing here).
When is a poem complete? When we have exhausted the topic/used the allotted number of lines for a given poetry form/ran out of steam?
An art teacher once told me that the secret to executing an excellent piece of art is to know when to stop. An overworked painting can be spotted (by most) a mile away and it jars on the senses.
A chef told me that an excellent dish is when just enough of the diners’ senses had been satisfied, but leaving them short of being fully sated – just a hint of wishing that there was one more morsel to tempt them. Each subsequent dish needs to leave the same effect on the diners. THAT constitutes culinary art.
Back to my original question: When is a poem complete? Some poems which I have read here on PS had left me with a sense of regret that it had come to an end. One such poem was the first place winner in a recent contest. Some lengthy poems I skip because the opening stanza did not draw me into the poem.
In conclusion, it appears to me that however long or short a poem is the three main elements need to be there, wooing the reader:
1.An opening statement which engages the interest of the reader
2.Developing the plot and this might employ poetry devices such as a pivotal phrase
3.The conclusion, ie the reason why the poem was penned in the first place
Each poem should tantalize the senses and provoke thought and, thereby, the participation by the reader when he/she mulls over the content of the poem. We do not always remember the exact words of a poem, but we do remember the impression it had left on us.