Poetry is not common in the American culture as more immediate forms of entertainment takes precedence. However, poetry is a system of understanding and an effective method of learning. A poem according to the American poet Williams Carlos Williams are “machines made of words”. The ultimate goal of all poems is to create an image and feeling in a readers mind. The more skilled the poet the more successful they are in sharing their experiences and emotions with others.
Poems can be analyzed by taking apart the words of this machine for closer study. A poem can be studied by looking at which lines match with other lines in the sequence. This rhythm is denoted by letters such as AA, BB, CC, etc.. which means there are pairs of rhythm. ABAB would mean that the rhythm augments. There are various types of highly structured and free versus poems. Each has their benefits and detractors when developing this art form.
As you can see from the poem below there are sequences being used.
Palm Tree and Ocean Wave
The palm tree stood proud by the sea, (A)
Erect and tall against the skylight. (B)
Its branches hang short but free (A)
In front of the ocean blue in full sight. (B)
This tree gives shade by the ocean wave, (C)
The sand is hot and burning bright. (B)
Such a tree must be strong and brave, (C)
To grow its roots both day and night. (B)
The water crawls to wash it away, (D)
Yet it stands tomorrow and today. (D)
Fear not this slithering foe, (E)
The roots are deep against its beckoning tow. (E)
This palm tree will stand against the might of the wind, (F)
For it will bend and not break if pinned. (F)
All the earths’ wonders are worthwhile, (G)
The strongest avoid the history pile. (G)
Poetry predates the written word and was first known to exist around 4,500 BC. It originally was designed to help pass history, tell a story, genealogy, or transmit laws between people. It was a way of transferring knowledge and information from one person to the next in a manner that could be understood and felt. Such poetry created shared experiences that helped define group existence.
Poetry can be more superior as an information transference tool when compared to simple written or spoken language alone. Think of Hooked on Phonics and how rhythm creates easy to remember learning. Since poetry also passes a feeling in the context of a story it has the ability to create multiple pathways of understanding and recall.
If we think of how poetry was used since the beginning of human development we can understand the nature of storytelling that has occurred in every society. It was this passing of information, creation of culture stories, and the development of thought methods that defined tribes, societies and cultures. Even though poetry in the information age has fallen out of style it truly is still a remarkable human tool of development.