Guest Author - Deanna Joseph
“My life has been the poem I would have writ,
But I could not both live and utter it.”
~ Henry David Thoreau ~
Since I was a child, I have been fascinated with poetry – and especially fascinated with those who could write poetry! I had a book of children’s poetry that I won for selling the most candy when I was in Kindergarten. I literally wore the binding out on this book and to this day it remains precious to me.
In high school I finally started writing poetry (really bad poetry) about a boy I loved and the passions that pulsed through my spirit. I devoured the works of Edgar Allen Poe and W. B. Yeats. I found that poetry was a way to express myself, and the deepest longings of my soul. In a world where I never truly felt understood, Poe and Yeats could speak for me.
This has been true of poetry since before the written word. Poets were the visionaries and dreamers, who saw both man’s ability to rise above the most difficult of circumstances and the fragility of the human heart. Poets were the keepers of history, mythology and tales. Stories were sung, and had to be memorized because not everyone had access to quill and parchment… and since most tribes were still nomadic, the thought of carrying histories carved on stone tablets was out of the question!
So the stories were written in the hearts of the vision singers, the shaman and the bards of old, who kept the tales alive, and passed them on to the younger poets and dreamers without so much as a drop of ink.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1.
It has long been believed that the spoken word carried with it power; to create, to heal and soothe, and to anger and vex. Many an ancient bard believed that poetry, especially because it was memorized, carried a powerful energy that could change the world around us. The word, when spoken from the soul, could calm the winds and bring the rains. It could call the lost spirit back to the body or to the heavens.
We have all experienced the comfort that a favorite bit of prose can bring. My Grandmother had a favorite bible verse that would soothe her in troubling times. I repeat an affirmation when I need focus, and sing according to what my heart is expressing in that moment.
When words are memorized and spoken or sung aloud, we are comforted and strengthened in ways that empower us and connect us to our inner source of wisdom. Poetry inspires us, whether we’ve written it or not, and helps us to tap into that part of our soul wishing to express itself. Poetry soothes the fragmented soul and calls it back home.
Think a moment about a favorite verse that has inspired you over the years. It may be from a song, poem or sacred book. But you know… deep in your spirit there is something that speaks to you and inspires you to live from your heart. These words may or may not rhyme, but they are poetry and their truest expression has the ability to sing your soul back home.
“Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud)
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or the mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart).”
~ From I Carry Your Heart with Me by E. E. Cummings. ~