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Is it worth writing poetry?

I am first most a poet. I have been writing poetry since second grade and for most of my life I have written every day.  And I have written several poems this week. Is it worth writing poetry?

Here’s one:

Snow-bound streets as the feet
bound of noble Chinese women,
rippled so people walk mindfully
one frozen step at a time.

Freezing cold lingering like Chinese
concubines waiting outside the court.

Waiting for a warm smile so they can hobble
as the snow melts and becomes a spring river
to water the bamboo trees.

Snow capturing Van Gogh’s sketch
of French prisoners trudging in the circle
with a prisoner before and after.

Living without hope on dark days,
except a surprising smile
from a passenger on a streetcar.

Snow.  Blue skies that don’t matter
to the old who fear walking on ice,
like Chinese women a century ago,

Walking about bamboo stalks
in January.


Not bad, huh?   At least my friends like it and so do I.

But no one makes a life writing poetry.  Most people writing poetry teach as universities.  I’ve published minimally because there’s no money in it.  I send the poems to friends.

But even most of my friends don’t like poetry and don’t have the time to concentrate on the lines.  And there are few magazines that publish poetry.  And few performances.

In this day and age, with shorter attention spans, poetry may be a hopeless ambition. Is it worth writing poetry?

The problem is I can’t stop writing poetry.  I get ideas and then the lines start coming and then I write the poetry and start editing the lines until I like the poem.  So it hasn’t made a bit of difference if the poems are published or not.

But recently I have been wondering if I am wasting my time on verse.  I have written poems for over sixty years and maybe that’s enough.  If I can stop…..

Jason Reynolds
Jnauary 15, 2017

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