And Lincoln, even if his own early attempts at poetry might not be so great--they led to bigger and better things later on, the early melodramatic rhymes transformed into Old Testament wisdom--was right. Poetry is largely about the encapsulation, the expression of pain and suffering. And in the primer areas and years of our lives, pain is often felt over the amorous arena. Works like Wuthering Heights stick in our consciousness. The subtext of most poems you can think about have to deal with some form of pain, be that loneliness and uncertainty, as might be present in a Frost poem, be it 'miles to go before I sleep,' or 'I chose the path least travelled of the two,' in an Eliot poem... the list will go on and on. Poems express the subtlety, in the intricacy of corners painful in life, the ones we go to therapy for, hopeful of them not being so heavy, blunt and enormous as to suffocate us with things like regret, the burdens of a Job.
The better part of us reads poetry, takes such things, such emotions in, intuitively, directly understanding with a great presence not just a peering in. And in accordance with the rules of the playbook of a thoughtful life, as the Buddhists have long practiced, we benefit from taking such pains in, letting our hearts soften, unclench, encompassing such pains, sharing in them when they come from exterior sources and when they come from within.
When we open up we become better people. The basic nuts and bolts of poetry and its work upon us on our behalf, the subtle voice telling us to accept, to encompass the pains of life, not hiding in blame or escape, feeling the pain of other people.