On writing poetry and perceiving the world

On writing poetry and perceiving the world

I've written poetry for most of my life. I'm not sure whether it is any good. But clearly some people like some of my work.

For me, though, whether the poems are good or not isn't the point. For me me they are a way of recording feelings and impressions of something I see, hear or feel. Describing how something was for me is something like adding another dimension to a photograph. 

Every experience is unique

Sharing is interesting because I think every experience we have is really unique to us. That is because we will bring to it our interpretation of an event. That interpretation will be flavoured by all that's gone before; all that we are, all we know and all that we are. Some of our responses will come from deep inside us. We won't know how they came to be. And in childhood particular ways of viewing things and judging them were passed on to us by our parents and others. We were encouraged to share a view of what was beautiful or good. We were probably told what was and was not good writing or good art. No one can comes completely new made to it.

We assume we share exactly the same experiences. 

We assume each one of us sees, for example, colours in something like the same way. But of course that isn't entirely true - what about people who are colour-blind? If we have the same equipment in our eyes, though, we assume we see the same thing. But then it's the very personal brain which interprets what the optic nerve is saying. 

Our experience of poetry is usually very personal to us

This personal interpretation is even more so with poetry. We make up our impression up from a few, usually, intense words. How good the poem is, for us, depends so much on our part of the work in reading it. And subtle emotion is such a delicate thing to create.

Sunshine On A Winter's Afternoon

Anyway, yesterday I wrote about sunshine on a winter's afternoon. I had a very clear impression in my head of what that afternoon was like for me. I knew what I was seeing and how it felt. But I wonder in my very short few words how much of that impression I passed on. 

The differences between us

And thinking about differences in perception led me on to wondering how such the differences challenge us in our ability to make deep and meaningful relationships with other people? Perhaps at the very least we need to accept that they will have very different experiences of the world we share with them. I suppose one of the wonders of a relationship can be the joy in learning to understand the others' perceptions. But sometimes great difference in perception can be deeply disturbing for us. And if we make no effort to understand and empathize with those different perceptions, we lose out.  Where we cannot accept the difference, what chance is there for a healthy relationship? So maybe we need to work hard at taking stock of how different perceptions can be. And we can encourage others to share their perceptions in a spirit of acceptance and non judgement. There is no one right way to perceive the world. And hearing their perception does not mean we automatically change ours. Acknowledging and respecting each other's is what counts. And their perceptions can enhance our own if we wish. We have a lot to gain.

I will certainly keep that in mind in my future poetry and try to give even more clarity in how I express my own perceptions. And here is a link to the very modest poem I wrote.



Wendy Mason  Smith is a  Personal Coach and Writer helping people feel happier. If you would like help with your career or your life away from work, you can book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link


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