Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Light of Poetry

Some time ago, a thoughtful and wise friend pointed out that people don't seem to pay much attention to poetry like they use to in the past. She thought sadly, it might be a dying art in mainstream culture.  We just don't hear it often, or read poetry much anymore. Evenings of poetry reading in libraries, cafes, or book stores no longer seem to be the thing to do.  Even school children, in my experience, aren't required to memorize a poem and recite it for the class.  The only poems we seem to read are in our birthday cards.  

I hadn't paid much attention to poetry's presence in my life until I started thinking about what she said.  It made me sensitive to my appreciation for poetry. It seemed important to not allow it to fizzle out of my life. And so I began to look for poems on line, I pulled my poetry books off my shelf, I read fun poems to my children, I even made a point of reading the poems in the beginning of novels. 
The usual "I love you" notes I would place in my son's lunch box were replaced with short quotes that inspired young minds.  Poetry became the art work decorating my mind. 

What really became apparent to me is that when a poem resonates with a truth that connects you to your own truth, it fills you with a warm calmness, reminding you that you are not alone in your experiences.
Poetic truth is something that has always been known, only its been tucked away in some corner of your heart where there was never any light, until the poem flipped the switch and that truth was "enlightened". Let's keep flipping the switches on.  Let's keep poems decorating the walls of our lives. 

It is difficult to choose the poems I want to share here now. It is like talking about movies, or books with a friend. You want to list them all so no one misses out on a good thing.  I'll start with two: 

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves...
Don't search for the answers which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.  Perhaps then, someday far in the future you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. 
-Rainer Maria Rilke

Good people, 
Most royal greening verdancy, 
rooted in the sun, 
You shine with radiant light. 
In this circle of earthly existence
You shine so finely, 
It surpasses understanding.
God hugs you.
You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of god.
-Hildegard of Bingen