A poem is not an autobiography.
If you read a poem word for word,
Seeking out the connections, the events, the lifelines,
Between the author and the poem,
The narrator and the poem,
You are not taking it seriously.
Don’t let your brain be an erring bird of prey,
Hunting for ghosts and discrepancies.
To approach a poem with the intention
To filter out facts, truths, reality,
You are on a cowardly track, a misleading, empty one.
What is it that you are afraid of?
That you might discover who you are?
Unravel parallels? A poem is not a work of chronology.
It is neither coherent, nor one-sided,
Not one piece, but dozens, interwoven.
The assembly of words within a poem
Were born out of an overarching resonance, multiplying.
You will never acknowledge and absorb the
Wealth within a poem
If you keep the author in mind, if you set your mind those
Damning restrictions and borders.
A poem should tell you something about yourself.
What is the way you’re prying as you’re reading revealing about you?
A poem is not a tabloid.
Why do you shy away from introspective? Identification? Empathy?
Why don’t you want to be moved? Towards yourself, maybe?
Why can’t you let the words sink in and look inside yourself
And see what is still aching and needs to be cured, perhaps?
Why do you deny a poem its power and by extension, your own?
Why can’t you accept that a poem is as much about me as it is about you?
“Contemplations” by John Reinhard Weguelin (1849-1927)