Any Poem is a Feast

…to which you have a response.

In writing a poem, you feel a certain “release” and when you read or listen to poetry, you may experience a visceral understanding of this poetic language.  Don’t take my word for it.  Spend some time reading the poetry that attracts you.  There are so many poets, past and present, each with a unique voice.  Chances are that you are going to find one that resonates with you.  Or, that your own poet’s voice is straining to be heard.  Give it the opportunity…there is free verse, personal poetry and all varieties of poetic form (or not) to pour your poetry into.  It’s a sweet exploration, isn’t it?

Reading a poem, it is best to sit with it for awhile.  Until the thrum of it touches your being.  A poem is a meditation if you allow it to be.  A great poem can almost be too much to savor in one sitting.  And certainly, if you read many poems in a row, you are going to walk away from the experience feeling pleasantly or unpleasantly glutted, like after you’ve just finished a holiday feast!

It is recommended that you portion out your poetry.  Let one poem follow you around throughout your day like a little dog sniffing at your heels. You might discover that one poem could be quite enough.

Here’s one for today:

The Well of Grief
by David Whyte

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief

turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe

will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for something else.

Listening to David Whyte reading his poem many times over, I have a sense of “wafting”.  With each repetition, I descend into the “well of grief”, traveling through the layers of the poem and within myself.

Poetry has this power and provides this opportunity.

Contemplation:
If this poem has appeal for you, do let it follow you around throughout the day.  If not this one, find a poem that touches you and claim it as your “loyal pet for the day.”

 

 

 

 

Origin of a Poem–Kindness

Many years ago, a friend introduced me to the poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye.  He appreciated how she occupied and read her poetry.  So do I.

Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem, Kindness, is widely read.  And it’s no wonder.  In this video clip, she relates how she came to write this poem.  Then, she recites her poem.  Regardless of how many times that I read or hear this poem, I am deeply moved.

May I bring the message of this poem into my encounters today.

Contemplation:
How prepared are you to take down a poem when it presents itself to you?  I’ve been driving, walking down a path or in the shower when a poem comes to me full blown (and sometimes without the need for editing)!  I am the scribe, available to the recitation whenever and wherever it comes.  Maybe I need a bumper sticker “I brake for poems!”

Note:  Carry your pocket journal and a pen with you.  You truly never know when a brilliant idea is going to cross your path.

Grounded Poetry with Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry is “an American novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer,” to name some of his credentials.  I’ve been infatuated with his poetry for a long time.

Feet on the earth, grounded, present, receptive are a few of the words that I would use to describe Wendell Berry.  I see him as a practical visionary.  His poetry reflects his values.  I’ve included a couple of very short clips of Wendell Berry reading.  If you want more (and I hope that you do), there are plenty of youtube videos of him…one is a lengthy interview with Bill Moyers.

How to be a poet by Wendell Berry

 

and this one…

 

As I’ve said before, there is something about a poet’s voice reading his or her own words.  With Berry’s poetry, though these clips are short, I enter the trance-like state that his poetry evokes (especially when I listen to these poems a few times).

Wendell Berry is one of those people who lives his values.  He has a message and he is compelled to offer his discoveries to the world.  And he does.

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We’ve discussed writing about where your passion lies.  Are you doing it?  For that is where you are going to find the most energy.  Your words become more than words…they become winged messengers.  Have you noticed this for yourself?  Even when you’re speaking to someone about your subject–the one for which you have deep care and concern–something in your tone of voice heightens and strives to engage your listener.

WRITING PROMPT:
For your journal, remembering what you are passionate about and writing it down, again, refreshes your perspective about your subject.  Have you had any new insights lately about where you’d like to go in writing about your passion?  Or any thoughts on how you’d like to creatively bring this to the attention of others?