Which Is Better Poetry and Prose? Essay

Words: 1541
Pages: 7

‘Prose; words in their best order; - poetry: the best words in the best order’ (Coleridge). A reflection on Coleridge’s definition,

Nobody can claim that prose is a somewhat less commendable form of literature than poetry. Prose must still contain a certain amount of veraciousness and technique in order to be created. However poetry requires these things in order to be successful and whilst it is some people’s view that prose is layered with different meanings and is read to be analysed, poetry is simple, often encapsulating intricate ideas using a minimal amount of words; and it is not produced to explain or create an argument but instead persuade the reader through the power of the language it contains and the intricate way in which
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This use of simple, yet deeply effective poetic technique can be demonstrated by reading Robert Herrick’s poem ‘To Daffodils’. Herrick creates such remarkable images with such simplicity, addressing key issues that are important to us, whilst also using a metre and rhyme of such complexity in complete contrast to the simple and pure content of the poem, ‘Or as the pearls of morning dew Ne’er to be found again’. By comparing ‘morning dew’ to ‘pearls’ Herrick somehow manages to make the most mundane things sound so beautifully precious, and this what many believe to be the true power of poetry; as Percy Bysshe Shelley states ‘Poetry turns all things to loveliness; it exalts the beauty of that which is most beautiful’. The simple language used by Herrick is both moving and profound and it beautifully addresses the metaphysical issues of time, death and the transience of the natural world with fluid precision, despite the fact that poem is not of great length. This idea of encapsulating the biggest ideas in the smallest number of words is achieved when in just eight syllables Herrick manages to successfully capture the entire life cycle; ‘As quick a growth to meet decay’, this brevity demonstrates not only the transitory nature of life but the power of words to construct images and speak for themselves with no further explanation. The poem