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What is Poetry? Poetry in Motion

by Helen Murray

The fundamental question is “What is Poetry?”

I have heard a horse described as “poetry in motion” and who could argue with that?  Whence such a title?  Perhaps it comes from the perfection of the form.

That is not said of just any horse, so what gives a horse a title like Poetry in Motion?

The first thing that offers that sort of potential has to be the breeding, the DNA.  Contained in the DNA is the shape and functional potential of the animal, but that has to be shaped by circumstance.

What circumstance can raise unique DNA to such levels of identity?

Consider the food, the training, the relationship with its trainers, the conditions of its life, the retention and freedom of its spirit.  Many circumstances may have to do with the amazing presence of an animal that could be described as “Poetry in Motion.”  Many horses run, romp and play, but relatively few are so described.

So perhaps it’s about “presence” that indescribable something, that compelling vision, that genteel, irresistible power of beauty that enters far beyond the term “horse” and encompasses an irresistible pinnacle of creation that commands reverence and memory.

So what is poetry?

Can it be defined by rhythm and rhyme, by verse and form, by subject or author?

Or, as for that unique horse, are we looking for memorability, reverence, unconfined freedom of spirit, the truth that comes from the deepest source, the sacred magnificence of the unbridled authority of eternal purpose, all delivered in the customized symbols of the heart.

Some cultures have placed a poet alongside their kings because he is a portent of a prophetic spirit framed in the wisdom that lights the path for reason.  As a true poet penetrates the great freedom where truth is eternally crowned, enthroned and its exquisite nature represented by his pen, which is clearly understood to be mightier than the sword, so he stands at the pinnacle of wisdom, humbled, amazed, mystified and utterly at peace.

Like the horse, the perfection of the form.