All I remember when I look back at my High School introduction to poetry is the endless analysis. We looked for simile, metaphor, personification, alliteration, themes, repetition, line length, syllables and meters. I do believe that in those moments it was like taking every poem we read, putting it in a coffin and nailing it shut. I was not into poetry at all for many years. I never cracked a poetry book again until a dear friend introduced me to the book Leading from Within. Since then, I have become more and more curious about poetry. Maybe, I really am into poetry.
I will admit I have a narrow genre of poetry I am drawn to, and yet in those words of my favorite poets I find inspiration, comfort, and fresh eyes on our world. What is your experience with poetry?
Mary Oliver seems to always have a poem for me. I read her poem Sunflowers at my mother’s memorial service to honor her journey with rheumatoid arthritis. “Come with me into the field of sunflowers. Their faces are burnished disks, their dry spines
creak like ship masts”…. And more recently my cousin and I have connected through Oliver’s A Summer Day as we’ve asked during the pandemic. “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life”.
Wendell Berry walks me through the vistas of farms, fields and forests and weaves the words around my heart. The Peace of Wild Things points me “when despair for the world grows in me” to “come into the peace of wild things”.
Emily Dickinson wrote the only stanza that I can recite. “Hope is the thing with feathers-that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all.” I failed at reciting poetry in school and yet, I can see the value of having those words on the tip of my tongue when I’m looking for direction.
Lastly, Climbing Poe Tree asks powerful questions in the poem Being Human
I wonder if rain is scared
if it has trouble
if snow flakes get sick
of being perfect all the time
trying to be one-of-a-kind
I wonder if stars wish
upon themselves before they die
if they need to teach their young
how to shine
Do you have a favorite poet?
I’d love to learn about the poem and poet that comforts, guides and supports you to live into your “one wild and precious life.”