I love poetry. I know a lot of people say they don’t like it, but I think that a lot of times if you’re not into poetry, it might be because you don’t actually know poetry.
Could be that the passion, juice, and soulfulness of poetry was sucked out of you when you were in school (like it almost did to the kids at the beginning of dead poets society – remember that scene?). Or maybe you were raised on sappy rhyming ditties that shut you down for anything remotely poetry related. If that’s the case, I hope you’ll give it another chance.
In my thinking, poetry is the word-version of a great wine, a walk by the ocean, holding a baby, the early morning light, and a cuddle on the couch with your sweetie.
The lyrics to songs that inspire and move you? Poetry.
Those profound and thoughtful quotes you’re always “liking” on Facebook? Variations on a theme of poetry.
(y’see … it’s actually possible that you like poetry, but you just don’t think you do.)
When I read a poem to myself, I soak it in at my own pace. I can take time simmering over a line; over words and images; sinking into the beauty and depth of the poem.
I also love listening to poems: the cadence, the flow; the heartbeat. I love experiencing a poem when read by the poet. It’s also delightful to hear a poet’s work read by others.
Love After Love by Derek Walcott is a favorite of mine; I think it demonstrates the magic of what poetry can do.
Hearing it recited by the enigmatic, anonymous reader who goes by the name of Tom O’Bedlam is like getting a love letter from the universe that’s read out-loud – not as performance – but with soul, by this gravely voice man from England. (poet david whyte does a pretty fabulous job of it too.)
Enjoy listening, and reading, this favorite of mine.
Love After Love
by Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.