Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Give Poetry a Chance!

OK, so we've all been burned by studying poetry in some English class where we had to analyze "Ode to a Grecian Urn" or explain some obscure Shakespearean sonnet (PS - I don't speak Elizabethan English).  If you're like me, it kinda makes you give up on poetry -- such a bizarre art form that is more trouble than it's worth.

Yet over the years friends have shared poems with me that are particularly moving and impactful - in times of joy, struggle and sorrow.  Surprisingly, I have found many poems quite compelling and comforting.  One of my favorites is by Wendell Berry:

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
— Wendell Berry 

As I found my own personal renaissance with poetry as an art form, God reminded me that poetry is used throughout scripture to communicate His truth and love.  Because God is so Holy and so Other, it makes sense that poetry communicates something about Him that is outside of our common use of language.

Poetry is all around us - beauty in words, language, experience and intense emotion.  Through poetry, I have found the truth of another idea expressed by Henry Miller, "Art teaches nothing, except the significance of life."  God gave us art (even the odd form of poetry) as a way of getting past the practical and pedantic parts of life and helping us find the significance of our existence.

Glad that I gave poetry a chance, I am affectionately yours - Cynthia   

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