Poetry: the Language of Life

Take Sir Philip Sidney’s lines (above) in which he values poetry over history and philosophy and develop his argument in your own words, based on your own experience of the value of poetry to you.

History can teach us what is done and philosophy can tell us what is though; poetry tells us what is felt, what is shared and what is lived. Poetry communicates what it is to be human and what it means to love, laugh, smile, cry and form relationships with each other, the world, and even people we have never even met like the poet. History and philosophy merely concern the mind but poetry is all encompassing of the mind, heart and spirit which are all important aspects of life and crucial to our development as people.

History tells us that Shakespeare’s plays were performed in the globe theatre- an interesting and important historical fact. But what history cannot describe is the excited murmur of the crowd as they file in to watch, breathe and live the wonder to be performed. It cannot tell us of the actor backstage more nervous than a pig in a bacon factory, sweating like a horse and shaking from nervous excitement. It cannot tell us about the hearts of all the audience beating as one like a steady rhythm of applause as their soul is nourished by the love, action and emotions playing out before them. History leaves out what it means to be human and poetry picks up it’s slack.

History tells tales of heroes but not of their insecurities; we know many historical figures but we cannot know their emotions without the expert interpretation of the poet. History deals with numbers- a historian may tell you of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, but what about the experience of the 1,the individual. History often does not give individuals a story but groups them in which disconnects us with the fact that each of the 6 million, is an individual. Poetry has the power to reconnect us. To give a voice to the mute. What of the forgotten ones of history who did no great deed other than to love with all their heart? What if the women, the poor, the slaves? History does not give them a chance to speak for it does not consider loving to be a heroic deed, it does not consider living to be a heroic deed. Poetry does and therefore gives a pedestal to anyone who wants it. To anyone who feels and knows what it means to be human, what it means to live. History gives us an outline of the world in facts and figures, poetry fills in the gaps with life.

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