The Grace of Poetry

It’s difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably each day for want of what is found there. – William Carlos Williams

You can’t really read a poem with your head, your rational mind. You have to drop down into your heart and let the poem work it’s magic and grace on your soul. Don’t try to understand a poem but rather feel into it’s rhythms and wisdom. I think of a poem as written by the soul for the soul. It touches something deep within us if we let it and open to it.

Besides reading and writing poems myself. I also memorize poetry by heart and participate in the recitation of it in the oral tradition both in the writing and creativity classes I teach and in performances with others. I am always amazed by the way people tend to be touched and transfixed when they hear poetry spoken by heart as if it speaks for the deep human need for stories can connect us to a deeper meaning in life. For me reading and memorizing poetry is a meditative practice that both focuses me in the moment and carries me to the amazing places of imagination, beauty and grace. I also will read a poem as a way from primping the creative pump and put me in the flow.

I’ve included here a spectacular poems below to share. Earth by Nobel Prize winning poet Derek Walcott who comes from the West Indies. I hope it touches you as it does me.

Earth

Let the day grow on you upward
through your feet,
the vegetal knuckles,

to your knees of stone,
until by evening you are a black tree;
feel, with evening,

the swifts thicken your hair,
the new moon rising out of your forehead,
and the moonlit veins of silver

running from your armpits
like rivulets under white leaves.
Sleep, as ants

cross over your eyelids.
You have never possessed anything
as deeply as this.

This is all you have owned
from the first outcry
through forever;

you can never be dispossessed.

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