The sounds of words


From Pixabay

My first love is sound.

My second love is poetry.

If I sit in the square of any city in any world and allow my ears to unfocus I can hear rhythms and music. I have done this in Johannesburg and Misawa. I have listened to the sounds of Ramstein. Each have their own rhythms and sounds.

So to me language is just sound. When I have to put sound to meaning then there can be a problem, especially when I have to be attentive. That takes energy.

To me, poetry is one step from sound. My English professor would tell me that poetry was the essence of meaning and that every word should be distilled for maximum impact. It is true that poetry must be pared down until the meaning is clear, but it is not poetry if the sound is not right.

I have written formal poetry with formal rhythms and I have also written free verse. In my experience, even free verse has its own consistent internal rhythm. So poetry needs sound and rhythm.

If it sounds like a music, then you would be right. In my small world every poem is a small sound. It might be why I like to write sonnets, which means a little poem or if you go to the Latin root it means a little sound.

When I switched to stories, I had to learn how to write again. Those little pieces of poetry that I loved so much sometimes had to be cut because they were not a part of the story. I had to learn characters and how those characters interacted with others.

Other people would sit in the squares and make up stories about the people around them. I was listening to sound. I had to switch my thinking. I admit that I told stories to my brothers at bedtime. They were stories I had read and sometimes I would change the story just a bit so that young boys would enjoy them. But until fifteen years ago, I had not written stories. I had written poetry, memoirs, and essays.

It has been a challenge. Sometimes I wonder if I am writing interesting stories. Then I talk to other writers and authors and find out that deep dark secret. Most of us think we are frauds.

We don’t know if we are writing well. In my case, I write and hope someone else will enjoy my books. If not, I would write anyway because even though I believe I can quit anytime like an addict, I can’t. If I didn’t write stories, I would write poetry. If I didn’t write, I would dream.

This is my manifesto. I have lived adventure. I have explored Northern Japan, Panama, and Germany. If I could still travel, then I would. I would probably not write though and would feel emptiness and restlessness.

I was born to be a poet. I have made myself a writer.