Where Have All the Poets Gone?
Heal Your Life Blog
Where Have All the Poets Gone?
“Many of us have searched for guides to help unravel the riddles of our existence and point us toward aspects of ourselves we cannot uncover on our own. A poem you love can be such a teacher.”
— Kim Rosen
I just read a book by one of our new authors and now it’s all I can think about. It’s called Saved by a Poem by Kim Rosen. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. A book of poetry? Come on, that’s not what Hay House is all about. That’s what I thought, too.
Kim says that poetry is “the language of the soul.” And she challenges us to look back at the poems we loved when we grew up and the single lines or passages that we could recite just by memory. She says that these are the poems that carry a message for us.
Ever since I put her book down, I’ve been thinking about the role that poetry has played in my own life. When I was in grade school, Sister Katherine made us memorize poems and recite them in front of the class. Ugh. My knees shook like Jello when I timidly stood there trying to remember all the words to Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees”:
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
Or Edgar Allen Poe’s “Annabel Lee”:
“It was many a year ago
In a kingdom by the sea
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
by the name of Annabel Lee.”
But as much as I dreaded those moments, they led me to forage through piles of books in the local library and search for more ways to learn about this new type of expressive verse. I was hungry for more. Perhaps that’s why Kim says that nothing beats a poem spoken aloud! “Poetry still resides in its original home—in the sounds, sensations, and feelings of the human body.”
Over the years, these poets became my friends who comforted me when I was lonely; my gurus who were there when I sought answers; my lovers who taught me to open my heart, my teachers who helped expand my vocabulary and my mind, and my mentors who guided me on my path. Oftentimes, I invited Carl Sandburg, Stephen Crane, William Shakespeare, Henry David Thoreau, Shel Silverstein, Edna St. Vincent Millay, e.e. cummings, and Ogden Nash to share an afternoon with me or relax my mind before bedtime. Oh, I cherished those times!
But then something happened. My schedule tightened, my to-do’s piled up, and my poetic companions disappeared. It wasn’t until I read Kim’s book that I realized how much I missed them.
In Saved by a Poem, Kim invites her readers to learn a poem by heart. “Write it on your bones, plant it in you synapses, give it a home in your memory palace,” she says. “It will align every level of your being.”
I’ve got to cut this post short today. Emily Dickinson is coming by after dinner tonight. And we have a lot of catching up to do.
Something I Didn’t Know…:
A Washington Post survey listed the ten most popular poets to date: Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, e.e. cummings, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, Dylan Thomas, Shel Silverstein and William Carlos Williams. Who would you add to the list?
Best Thing I Read Last Night:
by Shel Silverstein
GOD says to me with a kind
of smile. “Hey how would you like
to be God awhile. And steer the world?
“Okay,” says I, “I’ll give it a try.
Where do I set?
How much do I get?
What time is lunch?
When can I quit?”
“Gimme back that wheel,” says GOD
“I don’t think you’re quite ready YET.”