Have we Grown Beyond Poetry?

Poetry is dead. There are poets in abundance, but they are amateurs, generally not paid or praised for their chosen art form. The sonnet is gone, mostly forgotten, the words of the epic poem have grown weary, and stale, the entire world of poetry as we know it, as we once knew it, is gone forever.

However it still exists. Maybe it has even evolved, from the mere words and rhyme and measure into something new, something as powerful if not more so.

In the ancient world there were two major lyrical arts. There was poetry, which used words to create emotions riding upon cadences and literary tricks and plays on word and rhyme and tone. Then, there was music, which worked in mostly unspoken terms, merely evoking the stirring of the spirits beneath the human façade.

Today however, these art forms generally do not exist without one another. There is a little music, often electronic, sometimes experimental, which doesn’t bother with words; however these songs usually do not gain widespread exposure.

On the other hand there is still poetry; we have the profound works of the great Maya Angelou, as well as the wisdom of Shel Silverstein, yet these two are rare successes in a world which finds such art forms largely irrelevant.

Instead the two practices have melded, forged together to create an entirely new vision of expression. The beauty of words spoken, meaning, profound depth set to the emotional power of song, tone, rhythm, and flow. Together they are an ultimate art, which has largely destroyed the ancestral arts which gave them birth.

It’s a natural process. While poetry is based on words, it has always shown truest when those words were spoken well, with cadence, with lilt, with an understanding of the way sounds trill together to form an almost lyrical quality.

The same is true of music on the opposite end. The powerful sounds which blast from voice and horn always meant something, always moved people, giving rise to thoughts, emotions, and ideas that were too subtle to understand amidst the blaring of the symphony. But there were words there; humanity simply did not know exactly how to interpret them.

The change occurred when we started to record sound. It was only then that the written words of the poet could finally come alive, be breathed, be understood according to the living fire that was behind them.

The same again is true of music, which now could flow passionately out of a simple box, sending signals of emotion, power, and passion into peoples ears right in there very homes.

It wasn’t an idea to combine the two, it was natural, it was built into the system. Once you started to put words to the emotion of song, once you started combining vocabulary with the movement of a symphony, suddenly both arts became clear in a way that our ancestors could never understand. The two halves of the whole were finally united.

At first this gave rise to great works of poetry. Wordsmiths, now equipped with the power of song in their hearts, could create poems which were that much more profound, that much more powerful, because they incorporated the real time element of rhythm into their every verse.

However eventually, the truth of these bedfellows could not be denied. They are united by purpose, by goal, by the very fact of their own creative existence. They are two halves of a coin finally joined in the mind of the artist by the possibilities of technology and the inspiration of a new world.

Poetry is not dead, it has evolved, into a million songs screaming into the night, into dances and bonfires and movements and a world which could not have existed before, and which will only grow, as the power of the art continues to evolve.

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