The word ‘cryptic’ represents mystery and confusion. In general, it means a set of words that holds secrets. Story titles have the ability to attract readers where content is brief therefore it serves a purpose. Satisfaction follows in the details of the story.
Before opening that can of worms, I think it’s fair to say that content is revealed by writers trying to make sense of a mystery. Politics has it’s own set of rules and reporters have a berry of a stew trying to unravel that type of secretive information for audiences. Criminals hold their own audience and investigative detectives delve deeply into thoughts of these devious minds to capture them.
Poets are mystery writers. They develop a unique approach to language. In addition, they are sensitive to their use of words and their approach is often to write ambiguous tales with a secretive understanding that many people will understand differently. These are the poets that can become famous because their secrets can speak to the masses.
If the poet is feeling melancholy then the atmosphere will undoubtedly drip moisture from clouds and mist the garden. Words will likely sound dramatic and reflect nostalgic feelings of the past. Reflective thoughts will be pronounced in dialogue reminiscent of Blanche the character in ‘Streetcar Named Desire’ who goes on and on about herself. Her cohort expresses impatience and fights back. A visual appears reminiscent of Marlon Brando.
Something else that draws reflection in a book or a play is the art of creativity for it’s own sake. Herein, the author might easily be writing for their own enjoyment where critics better fear to tread. The language can sound melodic and flowery or sharp as tacks.
I recall working as secretary to the Personnel Officer who worked under the Captain of the Naval Shipyard in Louisiana during one of the conflicts of war. Some of my duties were to write letters dictated by my boss for the Captain. On any given day, the Captain might want letters to show his authority or to show his humanity.
This was hard to predict so my boss would smoke his cigarette a few minutes and look around the open office and down the hallway for clues. He might as well have pulled out his Ouija board. If he looked nervous before leaving his desk, it was because he was close to taking a swig of whiskey from a small bottle he kept in his bottom drawer easily camouflaged with files. He never did.
Finally, upon his return from his rendezvous, he might say, “The Captain wants his letters ‘flowery’ today.”
This just goes to show that poets spring from all walks of life. I never learned if the Captain’s wife was responsible for his mood swings or the crew of the ships, docked at the rear of the building, were late serving lunch.
CRYPTIC: 1. mysterious in meaning; puzzling; ambiguous: a cryptic message. 2. abrupt; terse; short: a cryptic note. 3. secret