April is National Poetry Month.
I love seeing what poems have touched people’s hearts as they share them on-line.
I love that we take a month to celebrate poets and how they see the world, how they allow us to see the world a little more clearly, a little more deeply.
I’ve had a complicated relationship with poetry. I resented that I didn’t always understand it. I resented being told what it meant. I resented being told that how I interpreted it was “wrong.”
How could I be wrong? These words touched me and like a tuning fork, reverberated within me. How could that be wrong?
I remember the first time I was drawn back to poetry as an adult. I was out of school so it wasn’t for an assignment. It was out of curiosity, out of joy. I was reading Natalie Goldberg and she shared coming across a book of poetry by Erica Jong about vegetables. Eggplant, I think. And she thought, “You can write poetry about eggplant?”
That was my thought, too.
I thought poetry had to be obscure and about serious things like “death.”
I started to dip my toe back into the pool of poetry. I remember reading a poem by Marge Piercy in her book, “My Mother’s Body.” It is called “Six Underrated Pleasures” where she writes a series of poems about:
- Folding sheets
- Picking pole beans
- Taking a hot bath
- Sleeping with cats
- Planting bulbs
Wait. Poetry could be be about simple pleasures? It could be about folding a sheet?
Of course it could. Poetry is a path deep into the moment, not unlike yoga. Which is probably why I usually read a poem at the end of every yoga class I teach.
Poets know how to be present.
I am dawn to poetry that seems like it is about something mundane, like folding a sheet, or watching a grasshopper but then it veers off and I fall into this abyss of wonder.
That is what poetry is for me. A path into wonder.
It allows me to see the world with fresh eyes and an open heart, flinging me out into the beauty of an ordinary moment.