Poetry

I advocate taking a daily mini-retreat into the beauty and soul-nourishment of reading poetry. 

 

Poetry speaks to us through image and metaphor—the language of our souls.  If you read poetry out loud it also feeds our need for music and rythym—beauty taken in through our ears. 

We feel poetic language in our bodies: it connects us to our senses, to ourselves and the world around us.  The surprising observations and connections made in poetry bring new perspective and freshness to even daily mundanities.  Poetry can nurture our imagination, offer inspiration and even provide healing balm for our wounds.

I provide a rotating offering of some of my favorite poems for you to "try on" below:

SUMMER STORY


When the hummingbird
sinks its face
into the trumpet vine
and the funnels

of the blossoms,
and the tongue
leaps out
and throbs,

I am scorched
to realize once again
how many small, available things
are in the world

that aren’t
pieces of gold
or power–
that nobody owns

or could buy even
for a hillside of money–
that just
float about the world,

or drift over the fields,
or into the gardens,
and into the tents of the vines
and how here I am

spending my time,
as the saying goes,
watching until the watching turns into feeling
so that I feel I am myself

a small bird
with a terrible hunger
with a thin beak probing and dipping
and a heart that races so fast

it is only a heartbeat ahead of breaking
and I am the hunger and the assuagement
and also I am the leaves and the blossoms,
and, like them, I am full of delight and shaking.

--Mary Oliver

Image by Dulcey Lima
old stream green train that runs through

                   VELOCITY

 

In the club car that morning I had my notebook
open on my lap and my pen uncapped,
looking every inch the writer
right down to the little writer’s frown on my face,
but there was nothing to write
about except life and death
and the low warning sound of the train whistle.


I did not want to write about the scenery
that was flashing past, cows spread over a pasture,
hay rolled up meticulously —
things you see once and will never see again.


But I kept my pen moving by drawing
over and over again
the face of a motorcyclist in profile —
for no reason I can think of —
a biker with sunglasses and a weak chin,
leaning forward, helmetless,
his long thin hair trailing behind him in the wind.
I also drew many lines to indicate speed,
to show the air becoming visible
as it broke over the biker’s face
the way it was breaking over the face
of the locomotive that was pulling me
toward Omaha and whatever lay beyond Omaha
for me and all the other stops to make
before the time would arrive to stop for good.


We must always look at things
from the point of view of eternity,
the college theologians used to insist,
from which, I imagine, we would all
appear to have speed lines trailing behind us
as we rush along the road of the world,
as we rush down the long tunnel of time —


the biker, of course, drunk on the wind,
but also the man reading by a fire,
speed lines coming off his shoulders and his book,
and the woman standing on a beach
studying the curve of horizon,
even the child asleep on a summer night,
speed lines flying from the posters of her bed,
from the white tips of the pillowcases,
and from the edges of her perfectly motionless body.

                                             -Billy Collins

Man Pointing North in a spiral star trai