Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sacred Sunday: Pondering Poetry


Thursday was National Poetry Day in the UK. Tess wrote a lovely post that has stayed with me most of today. Here was my response:

this is a very thought-provoking post for me. i do not remember lullaby’s ever being sung to me except in the recesses of my mind, so they must have come from somewhere. the poetry i remember from school was dissected and examined in such critical detail that i did not like it at all… and so, when i think of my favorite poets, the first ones that come to mind are the “ordinary” people. the ones i have witnessed create beauty from just a moment or two of solitude. i remember the first time i was prompted to write a poem since the painful time of elementary and middle-school rhyming agony. it was sitting in the midst of a group of women who i know now were anything but ordinary. when the words popped out of my mouth, they pulled a string on my heart and i was hooked. now i can visit the likes of oliver, neruda, levertov, rumi, hafiz, o’donohue, berry and others without dissecting them and looking for iambic pentameter and whatever. i can let the words wash over me like the songs they were created to be.

alas my poet’s heart was awakened by this post. :-)

oh, and i am a sap for the love poems of elizabeth barrett browning.

How about you? Where and how (or does) poetry pull on the strings of your heart?

9 comments:

Rebecca Johnson said...

Sometimes I wonder if I got an education at all. I don't remember studying any sort of poetry at all when I was in school. Oh, wait a minute! I memorized Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost when I was in second grade. It is still one of my favorite, favorite poems. Anyway, I guess that my lack of education allowed me to feel completely free with all kinds of poetry. Reading your post makes me want to run over to my shelf and pull all of my poetry books off and snuggle up with all of them.

Maureen said...

Oh, without poetry, I'm not sure I could say I have a life at all. Poetry has always been with me. Recently, it gave voice to the experience of my brother's cancer, culminating in more than 50 poems, some of which I have shared with my online support group at Our Cancer and others, some new, that I have posted on my blog. I have so many poets' works on my shelves, all of those mentioned in the post, and scores more.

Barbara said...

When I responded to Tess' post, I forgot the poetry of e. e. cummings who accompanied me during my grad school years. They still do. His poems need to be read aloud, like the psalms. It is reading them over and over again aloud that makes images explode in my head.

kigen said...

Lucy, I agree with you on the "ordinary" poets. I have a few friends online who write some of the best haiku and tanka I've ever read. In the world of Japanese poetry, to be able to interact with writers at that level is considered more valuable than any worldly treasure could ever be. It is only possible to meet such poets online, because they have no idea they are that good, they just share what they have, thinking it not very special.

lucy said...

rebecca--hope you had a good snuggle with your poetry books.

maureen - thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your poignant connection with poetry. it is definitely a healing medium for the soul.

barbara - what great imagery you have shared. there is something about the reading aloud. i can still recall the first time i fully experienced that "explosion" of my own!

kigen - i am always a bit taken aback at my own response when i hear someone say "i'm not an artist". we all have our own ways of expressing art and aren't we fortunate that so many choose poetry as their medium?

kigen said...

Lucy, probably a long discussion possible on "choose," but perhaps our meeting ground would be what you suggested the other day -- to hold the reins loosely?

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Lucy, You know my story - hated poetry, didn't understand it, never studied it......blah, blah, blah. The epiphany being I took it up for Lent - much to the amusement of many who could not imagine my disdain for poetry. You know the rest! I, like Rebecca, and you thought the poetry was to be examined, written only ONE way or you were doomed in reading and writing it. Now, of course, I adore it - not only the reading but the getting right down to it - CREATING it:))

Oh dear. So much to unlearn when a person begins to discover how wrong their lessons were or how mistakenly they understood those lessons.

xoxoxo

Brett said...

Ahhh...poetry! I can relate to your "problem" with poetry in your early years. It never much gripped me in high school. I remember my annoyance of having to read Shakespeare as a freshman in college and wished for a modern paraphrased translation. LOL! (I later learned to adore the eternal bard.) I started writing my own poetry in sophomore year of college as therapy. Slipping full tilt into a blustery ORU depression, I wrote to vent my building Christian frustrations. It was a life saver for me. My muse remained a close ally for the rest of my college career. Verses of frustration eventually yielded to versus of unrequited love as i became a 20th century troubadour. I really loved and hated those times and my poetry remains in memorium. Interestingly, when love was finally made to stay, my muse and i seem to have parted ways. Perchance this is an invite to revisit and reconnect?

lucy said...

ss - i LOVE your poetry story. i also count you very high on the list of "ordinary - not" poets!! xoxxo

brett - i'm thinking a sharing of some of your poems is definitely in order. your prose is beautifully poetic as it is. i'd love to read/hear the "real" thing :-)