On Saturday, I went to a presentation by Felix Hodcroft, a good friend and a poet with The Valley Press (http://www.valleypressuk.com/). He was talking about poetry and, drawing on a quote from Kafka, said that a poem should 'take an axe to the frozen sea inside us'. In other words it should have impact; touch us; change the way we look at things; take us to other places and realms; make the ordinary extraordinary and the extraordinary ordinary.
He gave an interesting explanation of the 'battlefield' between the pastoral, formulaic 'Georgian' type poets and the ironic and obscure 'modernist' sort. Suggesting this conflict had resulted in poetry becoming thought of as elitist and irrelevant to the general run of life.
And yet, we reach for poetry at the most significant times in our lives, to celebrate or to mourn, to mark in some way. At times like these, I think we get in contact with our primal instincts to sit and hold hands and sing out our pain or our joy, just as our ancestors did. We find the sacred once again in a language which has rhythm, metaphor and a distillation of our humanity.