A topic that came up recently was whether a poem should contain an introduction or explanation . I think most poets, as I am, are more than happy to leave the words to be interpreted by the reader. Indeed, I am on record as saying just that, and I still stand by my words, that it is not necessary to work out what the poet wanted to convey. So long as the reader enjoys the images created, is moved somehow then if the poem tells them a different story I’m a happy Poet, in fact I’m often intrigued and enjoy other peoples take on my work.
But following recent discussions, I’ve given this topic some more thought. Regardless of what has just been said, I ask the question ‘ does a knowledge of the Poets thoughts, memories, opinions enhance the enjoyment of the poem? Personally I think it does . Some of you do usually give an introduction. And I love reading them! It adds an extra dimension of information, a more personal connection to the choice of words in the poem. Any poem is still open to interpretation, but with an introduction you have choice. One last point, We’ve also in our circle discussions touched on why poetry isn’t more popular and one of the proposed reasons was that a lot of poems are not easily accessible, shrouded in metaphor, analogies and surreal imagery. An introduction would hopefully allow more people to enjoy our art.
What say you Poets ?
With this in mind, by way of example, I’ve written an introduction to the following poem, which is about as opaque and unfathomable as you can get.
A short poem talking about Psychometry. Psychometry is the supposed ability of certain people to read memories, history and thoughts using E.S.P , by holding an inanimate object. So an example of this would be to hold a key and describe the person it belonged to, and/or events that the owner of the key would have experienced while it was in his/her possession.
They’re somewhere waiting to be heard,
lost sounds that can only briefly last,
though I’d hear again, if by hand stirred,
as the faint echoes from long faded past.
They are many, and in time’s keeping cast,
I will know in what places they were made,
yet deep in my heart I know,
I am that past, into which they slowly fade.