How Life Is Like Poetry

Or more specifically — how living your life is like writing a poem

Alex Bentley

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Japanese cherry blossoms in full bloom.

And if you’ve written a handful of poems or more in your lifetime, then my analogy should make sense to you.

But if you haven’t written poetry before, I’ll go through the process many poets take to write a poem.

First, a thought or idea comes to you. It could be a concept or theme you want to write about. Maybe one or two lines pop into your head and you jot them down.

Next, you flesh out the poem. Building open the first lines you write. You might decide on the verse structure at this point or simply let your thoughts flow on the page, letting your pen write in free-verse.

At some point, when you feel you have enough substance for the poem, you read it repeatedly. I like to read my poems out loud, to hear my voice bringing it to life.

During this stage, I’ll make changes. It’s not a full edit. But when I read it, if it doesn’t flow smoothly, then I rework the poem. Changing or removing words until I have a meter that flows.

Last, if I’m not comfortable with these changes or sense the poem needs more, I’ll sit on the piece for a while. At the earliest, I’ll return to it the next day. Sometimes I give it weeks or months before I touch the poem again.

But when I do, I see new possibilities in the lines and between the lines.

Fresh eyes do wonders for editing your writings. This technique isn’t reserved to poetry alone — but beneficial to all kinds of fiction and non-fiction too.

Now that we’ve gotten the fundamentals of writing a poem out of the way, we can tackle how living your life is much like writing a poem.

One of the most Japanese famous poets is a man named Matsuo Bashō, who lived between 1644 and 1694. By abandoning his samurai status to pursue poetry, he shaped the world of Japanese literature. In his 50-year lifespan, he wrote about a thousand poems.

And today, many poetry critics and experts consider him the greatest master of the haiku poetry form. And for a good reason.

Bashō excelled, in his poetry, at capturing the moment.

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Alex Bentley

I write about crypto, personal finance, business & tech. Also, I publish a bit of humor to make you laugh.