Hello Dear Ones!
What do you think of when someone mentions poetry? Love? Longing? Beauty? Pain? Maybe even humour – particularly if you think of limericks:
There once was a man from Tumeric
Who liked his stew spicy and very thick
He sprinkled in some hot pepper, then more
Took a swallow, then swore
What he said can’t be used in a limerick.
The use of words is the storyteller’s and the poet’s craft. The tools of the trade are a writing instrument and a source on which to write. No expensive purchases or overhead costs are needed. The heart, the brain and a goodly skilled ability to utilize language is fundamentally all that is required. That’s it.
A storyteller uses his or her skills to weave a tale that captures the reader/listener and hold them spellbound till the final word. Description and storyline are essential. Believable characters are mandatory. Dialogue is optional. There is a beginning, most often a climax and then an ending to each story.
A poet has two options: to tell a brief story using the same structure as the storyteller, but in fewer words; or to take one descriptive element – what would be a paragraph to a storyteller – and grant it the grace of standing alone.
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was an English novelist and poet – one of my very favourites. For me, Hardy brought description to life. In his book Return of the Native, Hardy used descriptive phrases that captured all of the senses to hold the reader in that place, that space, that feeling during the entire reading of that one paragraph. His tangible crafting of art through language lifts the black letters from the cream/white page, adds colour and dimension, texture and taste. Each sense is heightened to a palpable degree of reality in the moment. And when the last word or phrase of each paragraph has been read, the sensual pleasure remains like the savouring of a pure dark chocolate long after the confection has melted.
Hardy’s writings were all dark and brooding (forgive me Thomas if you wrote anything light hearted, for I have not yet had the privilege of experiencing it). It is not so much his storyline and characters that appeal to me – it is his innate ability to craft pictures and feelings with words.
To me, a good writer has the ability, skill and talent to write prose or poetry that allows the paragraph or phrase to stand alone – solid, sure, statley and with grace.
A poet’s gift is even more than that though: being able to turn a thought, emotion, picture, phrase into a stand alone unit that includes not merely words but also an underlying pleasure of music as well. The fluid grace and flow, the balance and symmetry, the rhythym and cadence add harmonics without instruments, overtones that resonate in the soul of the reader/listener. A poet is a short storyteller accompanied by an amazing orchestra!
How many of you reading this post today feel you are not, and could never be, a poet? Raise your hands. please. Ah, that many of you? Then you may appreciate the following quote that I received this week via a tweet:
“If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.” – David Carradine
A well written poem helps you to see what the eyes do not perceive, to taste what is not touching your tongue, to smell what is not inspiring your nose, to hear what is not brushing your ears, to feel what is not carressing your skin.
So if it is not in your nature to bring these senses to life through words, may I send out a request to the Universe on your behalf that you be blessed with the ability to live all of those senses to the fullest expression in every aspect of your day’s experiences. Allow all of your senses to be heightened and be fully aware of them all – each and every one. Live life totally. Get into mischief. Smile to the depths of your being. Cry from your soul. Whisper your passion so softly the person next to you can not hear it with their ears yet feels it with their spirit. Sing from your heart. Dance like a child. Love as much, as often and as deeply as you want to be loved – with no expectation of its return – yet rejoice fully when it is reciprocated. Should you undertake to do this you will find yourself living large – being the very epitomy of “the fully aware, strong, powerful, multi-dimensional, spiritual being” that you are at the core and depth of your unique and beautiful individuality.
In the expression of each moment of your day – your life – you will be able to feel and to know your ability to stand tall, strong and on your own. With the loving hand of God, Source, the Universe, All That Is happily recording the description of you in the annals of time and space as you reveal your life in this three dimensional reality – you become the poem.
In Light and Laughter and Love,
*Thank you to myamazing husband Mike for that prosaic expression!