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Punctuations Are The Emotions Of Poetry by Akinwale Peace

Punctuations Are The Emotions Of Poetry by Akinwale Peace
"Little things can drive emotions to bigger things, widest experiences and superfluous feelings".
Punctuation is one of those things that refine poetry, to me, punctuation in poetry is " the arrangement of feelings or thought in/with concept/content of an art work".
Let's take for an example:

It was dusk when the dark was light
I had a feeling, 'twas quite tight
I was surprised 'twas a plight
And I swam in the ocean of my sight.


It was dusk, when the dark was light,
I had a feeling, 'twas quite tight.
I was surprised, 'twas a plight,
And, I swam, in the ocean of my sight.

Read the two poems considering the punctuations, if you read with the pace of punctuation in the second poem, you'll feel the poet, the feelings circled with the content, you'll have that kind of emotional pace in terms of the exact message the writer is trying to pass across. That is how punctuations portray and define emotions in poetry.

Many at times, there are some works of art, poetry precisely, that lack the taste of punctuations and such works still have same feeling, same message and an explored feeling. Different poems have different  tones and moods, they have different views and speakers, that is why you can't compare a full poem, concisely written and spiced with punctuations to a poem, concisely written too but lack punctuations. The taste of emotion is different from the taste of the tone/mood. The mood could be something like this:

Oh Lord, what has Lucifer done
to us again? A twisting pun?
A spoof or irony? A one
of two or three? Shoot a gun!
Make it a cackle boring fun;
Oh Lucifer, dig a grave, run.


Oh Lord, what has Lucifer done
to us again? A twisting pun?
A spoof or irony? A one,
of two or three? Shoot a gun,
Make it a cackle; boring fun;
Oh Lucifer, dig a grave, run.

The first poem displays the tone of the poem as a kind of furious one and ready for a (vain victory) battle while the second is also of battle but the Commander is a gentle warrior, and a gentle warrior cannot kill an ant in a war field that makes the emotions and tone of the poem low and calm in the basis of showing mercy even in the face of cruelty.

However, poetry at times can be fun with the aid figures of speech that add effects of professional writings. They make such lines an apt one to read at that particular time and they give another detail explanation to the concept of the poem.

Therefore, we have a basic concept that determines the roles of punctuation. To me, the basic things needed as major criteria to punctuation in poetry are;

1. The tempo

You can't compare a poem written in an oral pace (so as to depict the message) to other poems. Such poets often make use of enjambment and thus, the relativity is the pace given and the type of message s/he wants to pass across. I've read many poems lacking punctuation and when you read, you'll want to read again because the flow is understandable.
An example is Maya Angelou's
'I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings'.

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing...

The poem above lacks punctuation, but if you read to the end, you'd crave for more. You'll see that the poem displayed the type of tone the poet wanted to deduce from the poem to the heart of the reader, that is how well punctuations are not necessarily employed in some cases.

2. The tone/mood

You can't compare writing a funeral poem to writing a birthday poem. A birthday poem can also be of calm reading and apt attention in fixing punctuation but it's often in a fast pace and a blissful tone that the intention/essence of punctuation might not be recognized.
Now, if you're writing a poem that seemingly deals with death or funeral preparation, you have to make the tone and mood gentle, cool, breathtaking, cloudy and gloomy, to achieve this (the words used are not and never enough), you need punctuations effected at the right corners, trust me, punctuations make poetry; the words used are host while  punctuations make it explicitly understood.

3. The emotion

I've said it, punctuations display emotions. At times, some poems are better written in a slow pace through the effects of punctuations whereas they're written in punctuation-free mode to make the message more clearer but this depends on what the poet wants to achieve.
Take a look at this:

I'm the cacophony of strange voices,
The rhythmic pain of homely orphans,
I am, the sad voices of rich beggars
that mourn in plaintive voice and hymns.
I am, the long lost boy with cozy nightmare,
The despondent hopeful boy, how much,
how far is home from Rome? When will I go home?

This is a poem that makes the reader go emotional especially when the tempo is followed, it reaches forth and it preaches passion to the reader. That is how much punctuation can help poetry.

Note: not all poems are to be read fast, if the pace is fast, you might loose the message.

5. Structure

The structure of a poem can also have effects on the message.
Generally, structure of a poem has little to do with punctuations in poetry but trust me, the way you arrange your lines– starting the next line with lower case doesn't say it portrays something else, not writing with stanzas doesn't say it depicts something else, it's just how the emotion flows and the way it suites the writer.
However, the structure of a poem defines punctuations and punctuations give meaning to the content and message of the poem to the readers
Consider this:

am one
out of many,
of few thousands.
The sad distorted
voices of poverty
beneath the bridge, where many
rest their heavy head like a stone.
I, I'm the hope, it cope' and elope
with the p e a c e that is lost across defrost.

This structure isn't a big deal to define the gloomy mood of the poem, it only added a split of thought and scattered emotions to make the poem such appealing and emotional one.

Note: You can always write works which are void of punctuations, it depends on the emotion you want to give. Read the poem loudly and effect the punctuation(s).
I am Akinwale Peace Akindayo (Philip Peace)
Thanks for reading.


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