Subject and Qualities of Lyrics Poetry

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      A lyric poem can be defined as a means of self-expression and self constitution of the speaker. A lyric usually expresses the feelings and thoughts of a single speaker (not necessarily the poet himself) in a personal and subjective fashion. The appeal of the lyric is more to the heart than to the intellect. More clearly to say its appeal to the intellect is through the heart. The central point of lyric poetry and its real topic is the concrete poetic subject, that is, the poet. When Hegel defines the subject matter of lyric poetry, he specifically calls attention to the presence of narrative elements within it. The subject matter of lyric poetry may be an event, which is epic in its essence and external manifestation (heroic poetry, romance poetry, ballads), or occasional (poems for specific occasions). In both cases it is essential that the basic tone remain lyric, meaning that it is not about an objective description of a real event, but rather about the subject’s reflections and its moods. A true lyric poet does not necessarily work out of external circumstances; he is a closed world in himself, and can look for the material for the poems within himself and remain with the inner states, circumstances, events, with his own heart’s and spirit’s passions.

      Like song lyrics, lyric poems are usually short verbal expressions of feelings that may be simple (gratitude, love, thanksgiving) or complex explorations of mixed feelings like desire, longing, regret, guilt, wonder, even mystical divinity. The contents of lyrics are typically more subjective than objective. Facts and objectivity may be respected, but empirical truths are less important than the interior mind, heart, or soul of the speaker and audience. The sensory powers of lyrics like rhyme, meter, tone; visual effects from images and symbols subtly generate much of feelings, so that lyric poetry is emotional as well as intellectual, and imaginative in the broadest sense. The appeal of poetry combines senses, emotions, and intellect. The sensory beauty is observable in terms of sound: rhythm, melody, word-textures, rhymes, alliteration, and assonance. Imagery involves vision and other senses, which stimulate imagination, memory, and sense of self to profound depths, sensuous thought, exhilarating escapes, sometimes wit and humor. Lyric poems often represent and appeal to a transient moment or episode in life that may pass quickly, linger, or return in memory. Lyric poems are generally brief, so they cannot waste words and time. Instead they concentrate expression so densely that meaning can become indefinite or opaque, risking unintelligibility but potentially increasing mystery and evocativeness. Lyric poems often attempt to say what cannot be said otherwise. In contrast to the desire to reduce life, nature, or reality to a simple object that can then be over passed and forgotten, lyric poetry insists on the compelling validity of that which cannot be directly expressed but only evoked or indicated. These subjective, non-reductive qualities of lyric poetry constitute both its appeals to those who like it and its destruction to those who don’t. Fans relish the ecstatic suggestiveness of the lyric, while detractors become irritated that it would not just say one definite thing and be done with it.

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