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A Poem Is A Thousand Pictures

“If a picture is worth a thousand words a poem is a thousand pictures.” FeatherLeaf

“Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.” Robert Frost 

Robert Frost was, of course, one hundred percent wrong but spot on accurate. But who am I to say? 

Poetry  photoMy thoughts turn to poetry as I am about to embark on creating a poetry school. It will be free of course, at least until I get my lessons fine-tuned. Then perhaps I will put my work into a book and offer it for sale. I’ve already established the idea of my first chapter, and that will be what is poetry.

Here we can employ the quote of Robert Frost. As far as the majority of what is called ‘free verse’ he is one hundred percent accurate. People write down associated words and like to think that they’ve created a poem. Academics applaud these atrocities in a tit for tat game. You like my terrible poem and I’ll like yours. That is why poetry has become irrelevant. Poetry has lost its way as much as what is presented as poetry is in fact not poetry. It is as Robert Frost says a lawless mess.

Walt Whitman if you care to read his work carefully, definitely had a set of rules that he followed. More importantly, than that Walt Whitman clearly communicates something. That is one of the basic tenets is that after reading poetry something has been transferred.  That you understand some kind of message, receive some feeling, or your ears have been tantalized. The other thing that poetry does is that it discharges its duty in succinct fashion. That is poetry is very economical with words. That is the primary separation between poetry and prose, both the length and that poetry doesn’t need to follow rules of grammar, especially in using sentence fragments.

Free verse is the highest form of poetry. However, it is extremely rare that is done right. In Robert Hayden’s ‘Middle Passage’ we see the exception to the rule.  But the creative aspects of free verse is when the poet, like Whitman, creates their own rules, like T.S. Eliot and Langston Hughes.

Poetry is the most powerful form of communication as if done right it leaves a lifetime impression.


Cortez’ Gold

Cortez came looking for gold
Burned his ships by the water
Lie after lie he told
And then guns erupted in bloody slaughter
Many died in the genocide
And Cortez, his fame grew wide

Ships loaded the gold purchased with pain
And sailed a world away to Spain
Where the Spaniards with special care
Line the walls of their houses of prayer

Bow down
To God country and crown
And look upon the yellow wall
It tells you all


Technically this is free verse, despite the fact that it rhymes and has meter.

There is, of course, a history lesson here. The true to life details of Cortez and the evil that he and his men did. But in the larger picture, I question colonialism and religion in general.


A Lesson Yet To Learn

I bang my head on the door
No one answers
I bang once more
Same results as before
I bang and bang and bang
And bang and bang and bang
There is no cure
Such is the insanity of war!


Once again I am writing with free verse but employ rhyme.  With a little wry humor, I give a very tangible metaphor for war.

For a person suffering from mental illness, poetry is a healthy outlet. In fact, any art is a healthy outlet for any person. Creativity comes from the Creator and I believe that to some extent or another we all possess some artistic talent. I urge you and encourage you to explore it.

The second lesson in my poetry course is going to be about sonnets. So many poets attempt to write free verse without learning how to write with rhyme and rhythm. If one can’t show mastery of the language in doing basic poetry I cannot respect their free verse. If somebody couldn’t paint a realistic picture would you respect their abstract work?


Sunset Sonnet 1

Black petals shriveled akin to leper’s skin
I dare not touch what I once held in my hands
Death decays outside, life vibrant within
Love is for fools only folly understands
Seasons commit treasons to everyone
In Spring we joyfully sing youth’s sweet song
Never to realize death’s hold has begun
We mock the reaper confident and strong
My spectacle covered eyes behold you
You sleep foreshadowing eternal rest
Inept in all the world, nothing to do
I shall walk alone to complete my quest
Ah my sweet rose you shall never truly part
In unending youth you reside in my heart

The poems in this post are from Poet To The Poor, Poems Of Hope For The Bottom One Percent.

And Sunset Sonnets.

A Poem Is A Thousand Pictures

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2018). A Poem Is A Thousand Pictures. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2019, from


Last updated: 7 May 2018
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