“For the first time I noticed trees and flowers. I learned names: Russian Olive, elm, oak, peony, geranium, petunia, marigold. Details mattered. Cracks on the sidewalks, broken glass, worn stop signs, everything spoke to me. Rock, leaf, car. I rode rushes of thought with my cheap pen. I gripped a spiral notebook.
“Poetry, I whispered, poetry”
– Natalie Goldberg/ from essay ‘How Poetry Saved My Life‘
Life is poetic
I would not be wrong to say that life is poetry in motion.
This month has been a great month for me. I have been able to stare into the mirror and see myself through eyes challenged to see the motion of poetry being the fluid of moment by moment life. Although the personal challenge I made of myself was to read a poem and write a poem everyday (And the two poems could not be one in the
same), the journey has been a journey into self-realization.
When you look at the world as a poet, you have no choice but to open your mind and thought process to the possibility that everything happens for a reason and, be it good reasons or bad reasons, there are a multitude of lessons, like parables, in every action and reaction, and each paints its own living artwork for display.
As a poet, you challenge yourself to listen to the world, to open your ears -those unseen story catchers – and get quiet enough to hear and catch the stories of humanity, and the mysteries of the ‘whys’ and ‘how-comes’ of mankind’s hardest issues.
When you open up to the spirit of poetry, and step into the literary rivers of its motion, you can understand and see the beauty of life, and appreciate all its expressions of true art.
Since this is National Poetry Month, I chose to celebrate with other poets, like Natalie Goldberg in her collection of poems, Top of My Lungs, Eugene Gloria, Drivers at the Short-Time Motel, Stephen Dunn’s, Different Hours(winner of the Pulitzer Prize), Billy Collins, Sailing Alone Around the Room, the young and amazing Eireann Corrigan, You Remind Me of You, and one of my personal favorite poets, the insanely wonderful Gregory Orr, Concerning The Book That Is The Body Of The Beloved, and How Beautiful the Beloved.
Sitting at my favorite coffee shop with book in one hand and Venti Americano (with a half inch cream and six splenda) in the other, I take my time and savor every poem. As I sit there finding pleasure in the the poems I’ve devoured and anticipating the joy of the next between my lips, pressed by my coffee stained teeth, turning page after page with my tongue I clear out of my mind anything that would hinder my ability to catch every word and letter breathed from the poets mouths and minds.
It would be easy to swallow books whole, and then suffer from a bad stomach ache, like the 16 0z steak I put away Monday night with three bites, which eats at my guts now as I write. I do not remember what that meat tasted like, though my wife took hours to perfect it, to my own shame. So I force myself to take my time with the poem, careful not loose the meaning, so I do not forget the flavors, months from now.
The art of poetry, the poetry of art: life in action, poetry in motion, can add wonder, purpose, pleasure, and a sence of humanities creativity to each day, if we choose to take the time to allow it to change us. And it will change us, if we allow it to. I have answered the Muses’ call to put on the specitcals of the Artist, and see what it reveals.
Some poets write about the hard times they experienced growing up in a war torn country, some write about the beauty of nature, the pleasure of love and sex, or the wonder of innocents. I read a few poems yesterday from a book of poems that spoke out against the war. A few books over on the same shelf I read a poem about the freedom that comes with the blood of those who fight for it. Poetry speaks out through all humanity. It has no one special cause, but to promote life.
Poetry speaks in many languages, through all races; by both heroes and villains, the wealthy and poor, tyrants, terrorists, and freedom fighters. We are all brothers in humanity, and at times poetry and the spirit of creativity (the Muse, or God, or Passion) moves upon us and forces the best and worst of us to crack open, like the walls of a broken over filled dam, and create something beautiful.
There are still a few days in National Poetry Month left to challenge yourself to join the celebration of poets and artists. Challenge yourself this month to put on the same spectacles and see what the creative powers of art reveals.
Even if you miss it (National Poetry Month), the truth, the passion, the art, the love, the spirit, the poetry – never stops. The river never ceasing to flow. The artists never stop the celebration – hop in.
I’ll see you there.