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A Poet - Naema Popp

I like to call myself a poet.

I like to say I can call upon language and write out a poem.

I like to pretend that maybe one day I’ll become good enough to be published.

I know that none of these are true.

Because no matter how hard I try, my poetry comes in waves.

It crashes over me, a fleeting muse that leaves me empty inside as it withdraws.

Try as I may, I cannot write on command because instead of calling for her, I let her call to me.

Poetry is a profession of pain because without pain it is nearly impossible to see the beauty.

A living beast with a red, red heart, beating to the rhythm of the poem.

Because all poems do have a rhythm.

I want to believe that everything is poetry if you look hard enough.

I want to read a research paper describing the delicate dance between cells and sunlight.

I want to hear a speech move to the measures of a song.

What is a song but a poem transformed?

Poetry is the backbone of life, veiled and revealed by language itself.

The way a raspberry turns green to red with the warmth of the sun,

The way a wave crashes, caressing the shore before it retreats.

The smell of a book composed of millions upon millions of ancient trees.

The pop of a bottle as I reach for a pill.

Poetry is the language of duality,

Both the seen and unseen, the good and the bad, the dark and the light, hope and despair, the eye of the storm.

The berry left unpicked rots in the sun.

The wave becoming rain becoming wave becoming life.

A song left unsung and a paper left unread.

A muse that comes and goes and comes again, me but her instrument to convey her pain.

A creature teetering the line between life and death, sanity and the insane.


Please give a detailed explanation about the meaning and main idea of this poem.


I wrote this poem when I was really struggling with whether I felt qualified enough to call myself a poet. I felt I needed to explore the heart of poetry and what it means to me. It also explains my belief that poetry can be anything and everything, and that the definition of what poetry is and has to be is far too narrow.


Please explain your writing and thought process regarding this poem.


For this poem, much like everything I write, started as a few lines that came to me one day, and developed into a poem as I wrote them.


Why did you choose to write this poem?


Often I'll have an idea I've been ruminating on for a while, and as that idea slowly develops and expands, I feel a need to express it through poetry. For this poem, I was learning what poetry and being a poet means to me and needed to write it out to make sense of it.


Do you have any tips or anything to share with the youth writers who may be reading this?


Learn about what poetry means to you. Try not to become trapped by what you're taught poetry is and don't be afraid to break the rules when writing.



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