What Poetry Can Do for You

Poetry does not exist. Music does not exist. What? You scream, “I listen to music every day.” True. But, can you touch poetry? Can you touch music? No. They touch you the moment you make time for them because these art forms exist only in time. Without you making the time for poetry and music, they are just notes and words in print. For these art forms to exist, you must bring them to life by taking the time to listen to them. Without you making the time for poetry and music, they are just notes and words in print.

The forest and the tree—Someone (other than you) might ask: Does a forest exist if nobody sees it? The answer is a loud “Yes” because the forest, as a collective of trees, has mass; it exists in the physical world and, as that, it exerts a force on you and its environment. Poetry and music have no mass; they have sound that can only be heard if you open yourself to it, if you make time for it. It’s like taking a walk in the forest. It promises nothing and gives you life. Read poetry because it makes clear to you all the mysteries in life, all the things you don’t understand. Read poetry because it opens your mind and, all of a sudden, you hear yourself say, “That’s exactly how I feel.”

Have you ever seen the desert flowers in bloom, a field of California golden poppies, or a field of yellow daffodils or white daisies and remained unaffected? Poetry allows you to see things in a way that you’ve never seen before. Just try reading William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” without being moved by it. Go ahead, open this link and listen to the poem being read. Your investment of three minutes and twenty-seven seconds will be well rewarded.

Why read poetry? Because poetry is the true truth. It discovers the depth of you. In the words of the Spanish Poet Antonio Machado,

No es el yo fundamental
eso que busca el poeta,
sino el tú esencial.

It’s not the fundamental “I” that the poet seeks, but the essential “you.”

This page is dedicated to my selection of one poem a week. You will receive the poem of the week every Sunday evening or Monday morning. The reader’s job is to read the same poem every day of the week. If you can find a recording of the poem, listen to it.  But, always, read it aloud, let it touch you and let it enter your being until it moves you. Here’s a short one to make you think:

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!
                          Edna St. Vincent Millay

And here’s another one to make you a child again.

Snowball

I made myself a snowball
As perfect as could be.
I thought I’d keep it as a pet
And let it sleep with me.

I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for its head.
Then last night it ran away,
But first it wet the bed.
Shel Silverstein

And, oh, there are so many to help you understand and grow.

 

 

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