The other day I published a poem that started off an interesting discussion in the comment field on how “difficult” a poem should be to understand Many thanks to Sabio for that, it got me thinking. My thought in the poem was to write about infidelity, but it could in principle be about death also, or eloping or a multitude of other things.

Into the forest

The forest reeks tonight
of sulfur vapors
and his hands are black.
When deep among the trees
the bite of
what has passed.
what wasn’t asked
and time that never died
but just was swallowed by the mire.
She left him for the nothingness
her hair a reckless butterfly
expanding with its lazy wings
in the dressless nights
when summer still was bright.

Mystery and ambiguity is one thing I really love in poetry. One thing I appreciate to receive comments when my words gets a totally new meaning for someone else. On the other hand it should not be so obscure so any proper meaning evades the reader. This is a delicate balance, how hard should we be on our readers?

We all know that it’s not a horse’s head in the nebula, but we can all see that it can look like one.

Something I have to admit that I say things in my poem that I do not completely comprehend myself. Often those part are put there because I like the “sound”, and it could almost be seen as red herrings, but I always look forward to see if others manage to decipher any meaning of those parts, and many times these difficult parts come out as the most appreciated.

I know that many of you write much more clear, and every word make sense. This is very much needed if you want to convey a clear message, and it’s important to be listened to.

So how about you, how obscure can a poem be? Should everything always make sense? Do you appreciate if someone gives your poem a totally new interpretation?

Is it really the obscurity that makes poetry too hard to comprehend for many?

Let’s discuss while I pour up some beer.