I had a terrible day. I still remember the frustration. I was pissed at everybody. I wanted to scream. Most of all. I was pissed at myself.
When I got home, I wrote a poem. I compared my hopes to a sunset. Disappearing slowly with a promise of returning in the future. I compared my anger to fire. Eating through everything in its path, leaving darkness in its path.
What I wrote wasn’t much of an artistic masterpiece. I used cliches. A professional poet would probably cringe from seeing what I wrote. But I didn’t write it for art necessarily. I wrote it to vent. I wrote it for me.
I initially thought I was alone in doing this. That most people would just go home and yell or hit the gym or play video games to burn off the stress and anger. That writing poetry was weird.
A year later, I had co-founded a site where many people shared theirs feeling through poetry. Doing exactly what I had done just a year before. We found many people writing sad poems on the site, sharing their feelings of loneliness and depression. Using poetry as a safe-haven to express how they felt in a way that was more real.
After talking with many of these teen poets and reflecting on my own experiences with poetry, I found that short poetry helped express emotions and feelings much better than talking about it could. The poetry also very relatable and would get others to chime in showing that they felt the same way.
The pain that I felt in my gut could not be correctly described with “I am sad or I am hurt”. I turned to poetry to more correctly describe how I felt.
Sad poems weren’t the only common poems we saw. The classic love poems were also very popular. People were able to express the exact feelings of love they had for their boyfriends and girlfriends emotionally (and some even more physically).
Poetry is just a far more powerful way to express these wide ranges of emotion that our normal language and conversing aren’t able to convey.
The frequency of posting showed a lot as well. While I made these emotional poems relatively rarely, many teens were sharing these poems every day. Teens are constantly going through so many new experiences and poetry allowed them to express new confusions and experiences in a way that people could actually understand.
While poetry has usually been more of an artistic medium, I think many teens are onto something. That poetry is actually a more effective mode of communication. They are making a big difference with the work they are sharing. Venting and expressing the things that everybody else feels.
Next time you feel something in your heart, whether it’s happy or sad, try writing a poem about it. See if it opens your eyes as it has mine.