I have come across so many poets who tell me that they have hundreds of poems that they have written yet have never done anything with them. The poems are kept in boxes or folders and left there never to be born much like a bird in a cage never to be set free. The comments I hear are “they are just too personal for me” or “No one would understand them.”
Let’s take a look at each argument. They are just too personal. As writers everything we write has a personal element to it and as poets we express our deepest thoughts and feelings by writing these personal words. I’m not saying you have to dust off those poems and start submitting them for publication but to leave them grow old and unseen to me is a grave mistake. What you have to realize is that because they are so personal and drawn from life experience, by showing them to the world you may just help someone else.
The second argument “No one will understand them." Understanding poetry has nothing to do with trying to figure out what the poet is saying. When reading poetry it is about applying what we are reading to our own lives. How does that particular poem make you feel and what scenarios does it conjure up in your mind? Poems are meant to allow you to think and journey inside yourself. Granted there are poems out there which are created in order to teach and tell stories of history and otherwise but the majority are experiences captured in words and created to be shared and treasured.
I do understand that for the poet, poetry drawn from personal experiences is of a sacred genre all its own. I’ve also been there. However not sharing your gift of words scares me more than opening your heart and allowing people to see inside so that they may be helped in some way by what you have written.
So, dust off the poetry and show it to the world or at least to me.