Poetry vs. Pathos: An Overexplanation

Poetry is great. Pathos is important. Both concepts get explained at length in high school English courses. Yet their true depths are worthy of dissection beyond exams in classrooms.

Poetry and pathos do not always go hand in hand. In fact, poetry without pathos is common. It sneaks in around every corner of our common conversations.

Poetry in this sense is the language we use to communicate feeling. Feelings surround our everyday experiences, and we daily record these entities through the brainwaves of our unreliable memories. More recently, our record-keeping has changed with the advent of a more permanent and modern technology, the over-sharing of our moment-to-moment feelings through the various webpages of our media-based identities, our digital Brave New Worlds. This newfound freedom, like all creatures surviving infancy, is wrought with challenge and consequence. In short, we now communicate far too much to too wide of an audience, and all without true depth of emotion.

To emote without true feeling is regular and innocuous (and we all do it). We whisper passion and heartache so often we forget to think if any of it is real. And then when our feelings change, we wave away the past emotions as misjudged and misconceived, an oopsy-daisy of our collective consciousness. What we used to feel we pretend we never did.

I wonder then: if feelings can change, did they ever begin in the first place? This is now off-topic, but I wonder all the same.

The point of all of this is simple and I could have said at the very top:

Poetry

without pathos

is rote, yet

pathos

without poetry,

is tragic.

Long live poetry.

xo squea

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