Saturday, April 5, 2014

Why I Love Poetry

"Mrs. Daniels. . . why DO you love poetry so much?" a fourth grade girl asks me after poetry workshop last week.  I was taken by surprise, never asked this by a child before. Did she ask it because she could sense my love for this genre or was she confused as to how someone could actually LOVE. . . well. . . words, thinking I was nuts.

I rested my hand on my chin and looked up at the ceiling.

"Hmmmmm. . . there's so much to say. How do I put it in to words for you?" I tell her.

I try the best I can, given a sliver of time to profess my love in a way a 9 year old can understand.

"It's the emotion of the words, the tug of the human heart that poetry brings to me.  And, I love how poets play with words.  They are artists in how they craft the perfect combination of words to create something so meaningful."

"Oh.... I get it," she says, "I love feeling strong emotions, too." She smiles and off she goes.  A  simple answer, yet enough to satisfy the mind of a curious child.

I gather up my notebook and poetry belongings and head back to my room.  Before I sit down at my desk, I open up my notebook and write down this question that was sending me on a journey of my own thoughts.

Why DO I love poetry so much?

I proclaim this to kids, but do I ever explain why poetry has this hold on me?  Probably not.  A crazy woman she is, they must think.

So, a poem flooded out of my pen right then and there, to explain why.

Poem Crazy

What's there to love about poetry?

What's there NOT to love?

The strong tug of emotions that pull at the heart
a calling to stop and feel
in a way that connects us to our humanness

Fine artistic crafting of words and phrases
painting a picture in the mind
an image seen before
but never dreamed possible
to gather the perfect
combination of words
to describe it

The shortness
perhaps a page long
maybe just a stanza
or even a couple lines
but. . . the meaning
packed in so tight
It's possible
to write a poem
in 5 minutes
with just a few words
You're a poet!

Poems neglect to give
everything (as books do)
so much left to
the reader
for one's own
of the words on the page
in a way
that speaks to us.

And the rules. . .
not bound
by form and grammar
you are patrolled
by a teacher
who makes you
only write Haikus and
for which then
I'd hate poetry

A poem
takes my mind away
to a new place,
an interruption
to my hurried life
a small vacation
for my frazzled soul

Writing poetry
teaches me
to slow down
to pay attention
to wonder
and be curious
And then,
to write down the words
before they vanish forever.

Poetry causes me
to be present
with others,
with nature,
and in stillness
to hear the whispers
from the Universe.

But, mostly. . .
poetry just makes me happy
and fills my heart.

Lesson learned?  Share with your kids what your passions are and WHY you love them.  This shows that we are real.  Not only that, but you just might inspire the next lover of poetry.

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