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Creativity With Natural Language

Many people find poems to be esoteric and extravagant: inaccessible to outsiders, imprecise in what they try to say. As a teenager I wrote a lot of poetry with the exact opposite attitude.

A poem marries aesthetics and meaning in a handy way. It's a useful form of expression and self-reflection; complex experiences (ideas, feelings) can be intimidating, but with minimal proficiency in natural language you can construct a quirky word-object, bestow it with features similar to how you feel, and observe.

Like all art, poetry can be done brilliantly and terribly, and does require some contextual knowledge to appreciate. Still, I think it gets a bad rap and I wish more people enjoyed it. At a time when we scrutinise our language like never before, it's sane to remember what it's like to be playful with words, rather than rigid.

Below is a poem I wrote when I was 18. It's short and simple, but captures exactly what I wanted to express at the time: a resonant but fragile optimism, washed in pathos.


You little creature, full of fear,

Don’t weep of sorrow unreserved.

What tragedy and what despair

Have so grotesquely been deserved?

You little creature, full of fear,

Don’t curse the path you have been set.

Your courage ceaseless, persevere!

One day it ends, but not just yet.

You little creature, full of spark,

Don’t let the lack of light dismay.

For once, there only was the dark,

And now there’s you to lead the way.

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