Heart vs Art: Therapy vs Critique
by Jack Webster
If diamonds had hearts that could break would you dare to cut?
When a poet imagines him or herself to be a castaway on a deserted island, desperately putting feeling after feeling into glass-bottle poems, hurling them into the storm-ravaged landscape of the brine-choked unknown, if one day someone were to arrive with a note in hand, and instead of rescuing him from loneliness informed the poet the rhyme scheme was undesirable and left, that the poet would be devastated is perfectly understandable. Dear poet, please let this article be a ship that forever frees you from the island of loneliness. It is not you who needs rescuing, but the reader.
Your poems are not bottles crying for help. Your poems are ships, that if carefully built, arrive to rescue others. Your poems are not requests to be found, but declarations "I have found..." and "you are found...", and what you name, in the riddle of the poem, will be found. And it is this finding that is love. It is when we read we feel found, no? If you feel lonely when you write, it is because you are writing for yourself, alone. When you write for others, you will not feel alone, because the reader is already there with you, and through the poem, your souls are already holding hands.
At its best, poetry is an act of service, not helplessness. Your poems will exist long after you are gone after there is no one left to find. But, there will still be readers that need finding, and your poems will be there to find them.
When a poet imagines him or herself to be a builder of ships in a community of shipbuilders, whether they intend to rescue others or simply set sail to enjoy creation, if another shipbuilder was to inform the poet they could go faster with three sails instead of one, or warn them not sealing the planks with pitch will leave them stranded somewhere, it is hard to imagine being devastated by that. 04/12/2019