Simple Act of Poetry

Reducing thoughts into poetry

Sometimes a simple act

Of listing points in little bits

Phrases shared with good intent 

Moments saved before they’re gone

Little stories stretched too long

Then taking time

To make them rhyme

Or even neater

To cast them in meter

But it’s not always a necessity

To add in deep complexities

Long lost words

Some of my favorites

Aren’t always easily understood

And leave us wondering

Why our words aren’t always read

And no one comments

Nor gives critique

When criticism is what we seek

Or our abstract phrasing 

Gets in the way

We weave those lines

Too tight to say

The simple message

Of why we pen

So we sigh

And write again

Many lines across the page

Yet deep inside

Confusion reigns

The knowledge that we wish to share

Vocabulary and verse prepared

To us it reads just as it should

But maybe we’ve erred 

There’s a chance we could

Step away before we publish

Tough it is and filled with anguish

Save those lines and think a while

Imagine instead our audience

Perhaps a child of only twelve

Could they grasp our intention

Understand the words we’ve mentioned

Interpret our imagination

Dissect our thoughts

Feel our intention

Taste the sarcasm

Or romantic feelings

Enjoy the journey

Embrace the reasons 

We wear our hearts upon our sleeves

So why do we make it hard to read

Competition, true

A driving force

But often not

As we’re the source

Of adding layers

A bed with blankets

Sheets and covers

Heavy quilts of wool and down

Heirlooms from several generations

And yet when we choose

To step away

Remove and observe

Before stripping them all away

That the bed remains 

It hasn’t changed

But without the layers

It’s clearer

Feels nearer

And everyone can easily see

The peaceful slumber

In all its splendor

A simple act of poetry

Latest posts by R J Schwartz (see all)

R J Schwartz

I write about everything and sometimes nothing at all. I'm fascinated by old things, rusty things, abandoned places, or anywhere that a secret might be unearthed. I'm passionate about history and many of my pieces are anchored in one concept of time or another. I've always been a writer, dating back to my youth, but the last decade has been a time of growth for me. I'm continually pushing the limitations of vocabulary, syntax, and descriptive phrasing.

9 thoughts on “Simple Act of Poetry

  • July 19, 2018 at 10:58 PM

    Nothing simple about poetry, nor the responses we can or do not get. I learned a long time ago from a fellow writer and poet, that what I write for instance is but a small group within possible readership. On the whole within the context of intellect and education, most of our general audience want simple to understand poetry. If that’s not our style or intention, then we will be read only by those that fit our mindset and purpose. Its hard to accept sometimes, but I’ve many people say to me, I just don’t understand your words. At first that was a shock, but the more I thought about it, it made sense. We can only be who we are, as writers and poets, and our audience may vary, but in the end we have to true to ourselves. I hear you Ralph.

    • July 20, 2018 at 7:11 AM

      Hey Tony, being true to ourselves is key. Although like painters, they go through transitions depending on the moods of the people and critics out there. Picasso as an example changed his style a couple of times for sure to go with the times. As a poet, I know that I struggle with rhyme, so I tend to lean more towards prose and free verse. Their is an always will be an audience for intellectual and deep meaning poetry, your style reaches out to no doubt the intellect, one who wants to have a deeper meaning to life issues. To sit back and really delve into your work, chew it, taste it’s deeper meanings I believe is very important. Styles and expressions from different poet’s is what makes the art so interesting. I primarily express myself in a melancholy, dreary, and often sad or depressive manner. But that’s my style, it’s what my Muse sends to me and my life experiences. So my friend don’t be too hard on yourself when asked that question about “understanding your words” they are simply being honest. We can’t please nor satisfy every reader, we always will have critics. I love your work, it hits a chord with me that enters my soul, true it can be complex, but I also enjoy complexity and it challenges my intellect as well. So keep doing what your doing my poet, and always stay true to yourself.

  • July 20, 2018 at 12:26 AM

    Oh the trials of a poet, Ralph. We all have our own style and way of expressing our thoughts. Using rarely used and unique words is an art in itself, and we’d like that to be appreciated as well as the rhyme, meter, cadence etc. etc. But then we have to consider who we are writing for, and who is likely to be our audience. If we are writing mainly for ourselves and our own growth as a writer and satisfaction, if it is for other poets to get their critique and appreciation for the complexities and artistry of our work, or is it for a more general and lay audience who have little knowledge or interest in the construction, form, and flowery language and who instead are attracted to a lively, lyrical, and easily understood message? I like to dabble in a little of everything from time to time but I do admit to writing mainly for the latter of these audiences, as well as my own self-satisfaction.

  • July 20, 2018 at 2:02 AM

    Far from simple, poetry is often complex with deep meaning not everyone can interpret. Your well penned thoughts are spot on, Ralph.

  • July 20, 2018 at 6:55 AM

    Ralph you indeed raise an interesting subject here about differences in writing styles, language used, word interpretation and audiences as well as meter, cadence etc. I know that for some people poetry is not their cup of tea, they either love it or hate it, I try to pen within the grey area to those who feel what I pen. I don’t want ever to confuse people with what I’m trying to convey. My style has always been geared to the ordinary laymen, not to the scholars of literature or people needing a dictionary beside them to look up words I may have used that they have no idea what they mean. I don’t want to confuse my audiences. Yet I give platitudes to those who can structure their work with the great use of the English word, expressing themselves to every audience. When I read any work that may be a little confusing to me, I re-read it a few times, will often look up phrases and their words to arrive at a better understanding of what they are conveying. Like Phyllis I totally agree that poetry is complex with deep meaning and various interpretations to a reader. This piece was totally understandable my friend, you made it look so easy with the flow of your mighty pen:-))

  • July 20, 2018 at 9:48 AM

    Seems I’ve hit a raw nerve with the TCE community. Not my intention, but alas, things do not always turn out as we planned them. It wasn’t an attack piece on any of the other writers who I’ve grown to cherish and would feel greatly diminished being separated from. I too have written volumes of complex pieces which many would say are indecipherable, but to me they had meaning and I wouldn’t change them for any reason.

  • July 20, 2018 at 1:09 PM

    Some genres of writing are geared towards the reader, what they want to hear. Poetry comes from the heart and soul of the poet, so, if a reader does not understand, it should never cause distress to the poet. If you, Ralph or Tony, ever changed your style and mastery to please only the reader, I would be devastated. You are who you are and greatly admired.

  • July 21, 2018 at 8:53 AM

    I dont know Ralph. I know I’m late to the party as usual but I feel if I simplify my stuff then I am only hurting myself and my growth as a writer. Yes poetry can be simplistic but does making it too simple dumb it down so much that the completed work loses the flair it had when we originally wrote it. I understand writing for an audience, but to compromise my work to appease someone else is not what I’m about. I like the metaphor of the bed but I guess Im the one who likes to nuzzle my mind underneath the wool blankets and layers. By the way great rhyming and flow, nice work brings up an interesting subject.

  • July 22, 2018 at 12:14 AM

    Ralph, I don’t feel you touched a raw nerve here, just brought up an interesting point of discussion that we all feel passionate about. It would be a sad literary world and very boring if we all embraced the same style.


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