On a major network special covering the effect that global warming is having on the melting Andean glaciers, a local farmer was quoted as having asked the following question:
“Why are the mountains crying?”
His metaphor is poignant, comparing the melting glacier waters rolling down the mountain slopes to human tears, inflicting the sadness and frustration that often results in crying.
In a detailed program that revealed all of the facts and figures of global warming and the retreating glaciers, which threatens the water supply of this region, this single metaphor was more powerful than any image, interview, or scientific evidence.
It may only be that as a writer, I am more open to accepting the emotional significance of a metaphor than others who were watching this program, but in a very real sense, I believe it represents the power and influence of poetic language in our modern society.
With all of the statistics, survey results, scientific theories and their rebuttals floating about, it’s sometimes hard to understand the meaning of our world from an emotional perspective, which is really the mechanism by which motivation is inspired and change eventually happens.
Raw human emotion purified into palpable communication is the essence of poetry, and in that sense, poetry is alive and prospering in the words we hear every day, despite the meager sales of poetry chapbooks in local bookshops.
Whether it be Barack Obama’s eloquent words on racism that serve to inspire our country or the manipulated fragments of advertising copy that internalizes our unknown desires for products we didn’t know existed, poetry is everywhere, even if it goes undetected, and it’s as important in the world today as ever.
Originally published by The MAG Zine (themagzine.com).