Instead of a poem for you this Friday, I would like to share with you a reflection on the nature of poetry written by AA Gill. It beautifully sums up what poetry means for me and the reasons why I decided to start Poetry Friday on this blog.
“One of the most satisfying things about words is their black-and-whiteness, the neat, austere simplicity of their process. Letters on a page are so direct, so literal. The connection between writer and reader is intimate, personal and immediate: a moment of thought held, suspended, in a few marks, then reinvigorated. It has remained the same since cuneiform was pressed into wet clay with a reed. Words on a page have no backstage, no sleight of hand, nowhere to hide the workings. Words are what they say they are. You read a sentence and you can see how it was made; you can trace the thought. You know how it’s done — just as long as it’s prose.
With poetry, however, the rules don’t apply. It’s a fish of a very different colour. On the face of it, it looks the same; the letters, the words, are familiar. But it isn’t what it appears. By some internal magic, poetry hovers above the page, over the words. It happens outside the black-and-white lines, as if the writing were clairvoyant, calling spirit meanings, voices from beyond. Even if we haven’t read a new one for a decade, still there are verses that are the most precious and dear cultural amulets we own, hidden in the dead letter boxes of our hearts.”
AA Gill says it better than I ever could, but for me, the magic and power of poetry lies in its ability in a few lines to make you stop, think and feel deep emotions. When I read a good poem my heart, mind and soul are moved, as I am drawn into the beauty of its words and cadence. That is why I like to share with you each Friday those verses that have moved and inspired me. I hope it provides you with the same kind of pleasure for your heart and soul as it does for me.
What are some of the verses that inspire you? Do you write your own poetry? Having never written a poem in my life before, I attempted some verse in the darkest days of my diagnosis and treatment for cancer and it brought me great comfort. How about you? If you would like a favorite verse shared here on Poetry Friday, or would like to share one of your own, please email me directly at email@example.com. Meanwhile, keep feeding your soul with the beauty of poetry…