Poetry: Why Bother?

This morning, I was beginning to read a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. He’s a poet I know little about, but am confident he will be worth getting to know. His poem, “The Windhover” begins
I caught this morning morning’s minion, kingdom of daylight’s dauphin…
The effort to unravel “morning morning’s minion,” and the delight I felt as a result, suggested my own “morning catch,” which morphed quickly into “meaning’s catch:”

Here is how I commented on my own poem on Facebook:

The creative writers I recently began meeting with spent much of our first few sessions grappling with the PURPOSE of our writing. In the case of poetry, one question is “Why use metaphors when plain words could express the thought?” One of the best answers for me is that truth has more impact on a person when he or she puts effort into understanding it (this applies to the author and reader alike). My father and I spent years puzzling through Robert Browning’s “Rabbi Ben Ezra” (Grow old along with me…). I’m convinced that Browning’s insight has had far more positive effect in my thinking BECAUSE of that puzzling than it would have had Browning “just said what he meant!”

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