And in celebration of World Poetry Day, I did not write you a new poem, nor did I search out an obscure, international poet to share with you. Instead, I've prepared for you 10 Reasons Why I Love Poetry (in No Particular Order):
1. Because every time I think I can't make it through to the end of the day/illness cycle/temper tantrum/traffic jam, I hear Carol Lynn Pearson's words, "I dim, I dim, I do not doubt/ if someone blew, I would go out" . . . and then the other half of poem, too. (Hint: she does not go out.)
2. Billy Collins's "The Lanyard." 'Nuff said.
3. Images that haunt me: "shine like shook foil," "a pair of ragged claws" and "asserted by a simple pin," plums in an icebox, fog on cat feet, mackerel on ice. And images from my own poetry, too: the post-partum woman in the shower, the mother with diamonds in her hair, the mother whose tentacles stretch into other rooms, the chronically ill person staring at the inside of her eyelids . . .
4. The calling out to whoever is in the next room to say, "Listen to this!" (even the people in my life who don't think they like poetry)
5. That feeling: "Yes, that is it. You have named it."
6. That feeling: "Yes, that is it. I have named it."
7. The dappled things.
says, "Glory be to God for dappled things," and I think that line
describes the benefit of poetry better than anything else could: poetry celebrates
the dappled things. It is a way of cherishing the details of our experience, in
all their dappled, freckled, glorious imperfections. It is a way of falling in
love with the world. Hopkins
8. Because reading—and writing—poetry is a way to prove to myself that I am awake within my life.
9. Because the existence of poetry (along with music and art) is proof to me that God exists and that we are His children. I have no problem with evolution, but I refuse to believe that poetry is just a natural variation of animal evolution. It is godliness.
10. Because all is spiritual unto God, and when a poet gets it right, God is there.
And let me just add that if you think you don't like poetry, it's because you haven't read the right stuff. Really. It takes time to find the stuff that speaks to you--but it's out there. I think it's worth the search.