There’s only so much you can do in terms of reading into poetry – how does one determine if they are taking the words for their own, and totally disregarding what the poet is intending? I often find that my favorite poems are those that leave room for ambiguity without being so abstract that I cannot pin any meaning to it whatsoever. For example, I adore the Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken.” It is so clear, yet applicable to almost an infinite number of life situations that we often find ourselves in. There have been so many times that the opening line of that poem comes to my mind in a certain situation.
I’m struggling with that right now actually. I should have taken the road less traveled. It would have made all the difference. And not having done that, and it being quite impossible to go back in time, it’s terribly sad that I didn’t.
It’s difficult to say what Robert Frost had in mind exactly when he wrote this poem, but does it matter? Not entirely. But I would be curious to know – what was he writing this as a metaphor for (personally for him?) It would just add some color to the poem.
But in knowledge of that specific information, would it shatter the illusion? The framework would forever have a skin on it, and despite the fact that we could still apply this poem to our own circumstances, once one “knows” what the poem was “really” about, would we forever think that….oh, it cannot apply to me for it was in reference to that?
Sometimes ignorance is bliss, and as far as poetry goes, sometimes it’s better to be left in the dark so to speak. I think the same lies true for lyrics in songs, for they are poems in and of themselves. I much prefer to read my own meaning into the lyrics – once I hear what the song is “really” about it shatters some of the illusion, forever altering the way that I can apply the framework to my life and adorn it in the feathers and costumes of my experiences.
The thing is, we are all curious to know what’s really going on behind the scenes, but I find that I much prefer to have poetry remain forever in an abstract state…I could “think” it means something, but if I am never really sure I am then free to apply it to whatever I so desire, and it lives on in infinite splendor in my mind.