ECHOES – explanation or interpretation


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.

6 thoughts on “ECHOES – explanation or interpretation

  1. Thank you Nigel for stretching my mind this Sunny! morning.
    First to your poem Echoes and its almost otherworldly feel, puts me in the right
    frame of mind.
    This is a subject I read much about and believe there are many vibes out there but we
    rarely tune in. A simple example; do you have some people that will call just as you call.
    Consistently, so you often block each other? There isn’t space for all I come across.

    As to introduction or conversation before the poem. As you know I am a sinner here. I feel more the need to talk to my potential readers, sort of a chat on the subject or event around.
    Personally I also promised in my About page ( very short ) that more would be revealed as
    time and writing flowed.

    I personally like some background to those whose poems I read. You have given such at times Nigel and so have some in the group. It has given added colour and depth.
    Let us face it, we do read up about poets and writers to better understand what was driving them and creating either the angst or joy.

    I do use both. Without a prior chat and with. Having the privilege of your follow, you already know this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I agree and value the point, new to me, regards looking up new poets Miriam. I find Roland’s post interesting and say often I’m grateful to him for the knowledge he passes on. I’ve genuinely learned so much.
      With regard to psychometry, esp etc, it has been to fairly recently a life-long passion/obsession and has to progressed from a boy of 12 reading about Yorkshire legends, through the soviet and u.s experiments during the 60’s – 80’s to 21st C small particle physics theory…… an anything in between. My conclusion is, based on my research, reading and experiences ‘more to heaven and earth…………..’. For example I’m convinced ghosts are real, however would stop short of saying they are some remaining part of the deceased . I find it implausible that out of the hundreds of thousands of sightings, through-out history, in every land every one is either fraudulent or mistaken. And as the saying goes, you only need one white crow to prove that not all crows are black. I know what you mean re telephones, I can never decide if it is precognition or telepathy. The 2nd sight runs in our family. Mum – me – daughter.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nigel, I was a bit of a coward as I didn’t say I also studied this through the same era as you did. There definitely is more between heaven and earth……I also have my own explicable experiences. They have never frightened me – more like a warming feeling.
        A greeting and comfort.
        Oddly, my mother was like this but didn’t say much. Guess I didn’t either. Hmm..very interesting.

        Totally besides but very important. A few minutes ago I opened a package and your book arrived. I am thrilled.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A good piece of poetry and great thoughts to start the week Nigel. I often wonder if the choice of knowing or not is linked to personality and life journey. I love to get to know more about the poem and the poet as it adds more depth to the reading. There are some poems which are so obtuse it makes my brain switch off and walk away. Having the smallest of clues leads me into the poetry and is likely to keep me there (the old detective).

    From a writing perspective I, like you, love reading the different takes on a piece of poetry and it sometimes brings up things sitting in the subconscious I was maybe not aware of when writing.

    I am reading a book at the moment, In Search of Poetry, by Richard Murphy, where the poet precedes each poem with diary and journal notes showing the train of thought leading to the poem. It is an interesting book and concept and, in my opinion, gives a different viewpoint to the poems.

    Liked by 2 people

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