In poetry, the opposite is true: the emphasis is on the words themselves, as much as or even more than what they mean. Instead of being a transparent window we look through to see what’s on the other side, poetic language is a stained-glass window that captures our attention for itself. The most important way it does this is through its music—how the words sound when you read them aloud. You don’t necessarily have to vocalize the words to hear their music, just as a musician doesn’t have to play a score to understand it, but it helps. In a sense, a poem, too, is a score for performance.