The poetic artist? Painting with words? You know the saying “A picture paints a thousand words.”.
It certainly does! After all, one can look at a picture and make up stories about the subject character. A painting can inspire as many ideas as the number of people who see it, for each will have their own interpretation.
Each picture is seen through the eyes of the beholder – and via their artistic opinions and preferences.
I enjoy taking photographs and then writing poems about them…a picture inspiring a thousand words. Well, almost that many.
But this being a poetry blog, let’s ask how many pictures can a poem paint?
I like to say that I paint with words. Each verse conjures up a mental image – particularly if the poem is like an abstract painting. But that mental image is open to so many different interpretations since there are no visual cues.
The mood of the verse, the colour of the poem and its surroundings, the strength of the words, the way they are spoken. It is different each time.
Every writer has a specific character in mind, a feeling, a message they wish to put across. But to make that too obvious is to leave the reader with no choice. In an abstract poem, the finer details are left to the person reading the poem; the poet invites them to join in with the writing. They subsequently become co-creators.
You see, the poetic artist is YOU!
You create the picture via the medium of words.
Want to be convinced?
I often write about “she”. Who is “she”? She could be me. She could be you. Your mother, your daughter, the stranger you pass on your way to the shops.
Her age, her character, her life – family, education, upbringing, ethnicity, spirituality, and beliefs – they are in your mind. Maybe she is a fleeting, almost invisible ghost who is simply “SHE”.
That sounds like one of my “Girls Talk” poems of overlooked, virtually invisible women!
But it has to be that way if the poem is to remain abstract. To add further details there would be to splash my brush into your mind.
Here’s something off the top of my head…it will suffice for my purposes here:
She sat, misty eyed, staring at the screen, Afraid to let go - Willing the message alert to glow Blood red, To show that someone had thought of her. Someone? Anyone? No! It had to be him. Brought down so low For she had vowed not to be blinded again.
Who is she? What had she sworn not to be blinded by? The modern age of technology or “him”?
Who is he? A lover? Her errant son? A doctor? Maybe a customer. Or the insurance agent with news of her claim?
Why is she so desperate for someone to have thought of her? Perhaps she is depressed. Anxious. Bored. Retired. Lonely. Excited? In love?
Why the misty eyes? Tears or tiredness?
What do YOU want to paint for her, because YOU are the artist now.
Maybe she is at work, waiting for business. Anxiously needing that next customer to plump up her bonus.
Or at home, afraid to leave the screen in case “he” messages her and leaves before she can reply. What message does she want? Or fear?
What will her reply be?
What is she wearing? Is she at home or in a library maybe. Are there people around her, so she has to keep her emotions in check or is she crying with passion.
What do you want for this lady?
I want her to take off the blindfold and live for herself. To stop waiting for his attention, to stop worrying about what his next move will be. Because I want her to be who her soul is leading her towards.
But in reading the verse, the final choice is yours. You are the poetic artist!
But maybe she is awaiting that insurance claim despite saying that the money does not matter to her. Her dilemma is that her upbringing taught her to despise money as the cause of much evil – and yet, that pay out would bring her family a few luxuries.
Less likely but life is strange.
And life, “strange” or otherwise, is what poets write about.
When are you NOT the artist?
Think of advertising – that picture is supposed to lead your thoughts. Words are carefully chosen to invoke positive thoughts about a product. Here you are on a set path where the desired end is for you to want to buy. Abstract and choice have no place here! The artist and author don’t want your input. They want your brand loyalty and your money.
Had I have inserted a photograph of myself into this blog, the little verse is consequently less abstract. You would have a subject suggested. You would see where she is, what she is wearing and how she looks. It would add information which would ultimately deny you the element of choice.
Much of my writing is more descriptive…and therefore prescriptive. But I like writing about “HER” too because she allows the reader to paint her.
To conclude: a picture paints a thousand words. But, in my opinion, an abstract poem can paint far more pictures!
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I also write here…motorhome hobos.
And, finally, for my rants – my writing that doesn’t fit either of the above…try HERE