Life Through The Eyes Of Poetic Grace

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Poetry is more than words, so much more. Poetry is the stuff of life, the gritty, the pretty, the inane, the insane.

It is the sound of waves breaking against the shore, the honking of horns on a hot summer morn. It is the way of a skilled athlete carrying the ball to the goal; it is life, movement, grace, a way of seeing, hearing and feeling the world through a magical lens.  A lens that translates the world sometimes with subtleness, sometimes with harshness, but always with poetic beauty.

I am a poet because I write poetry, some good, some ordinary. But I claim the poet as a proud archetype, not because I write but because I translate life, its joys and sorrows, through my heart, the most creative lens of all. My heart, better than my eyes,  can focus on the black, white, grey, messy, complicated truth of life, and still somehow see the poetry in it all.

Sometimes, I wish my brain could catch up with this truth. Because, in spite of my experience, training, passion even, I know my words can never fully record what my heart sees and feels. But I’ll never stop trying to do it justice.

So this is my slow, Southern way of introducing my love of poetry, my love of life, to you. April is National Poetry Month and I am sharing my passion for poetry.

I remember one of my first poems. I wrote it as a 10-year-old after being inspired by a painting that hung on the den wall of my parent’s home. Here it is:

“The Old House”

In the old house,

I see but one light,

There are tales of that old house,

Which by now, 

Is out of sight.

People have gone in,

But not one has come out.

Through the leaves,

Through the trees,

I see nothing of the old house.

I sent the poem to Scholastic Magazine hoping to have it published. I waited all summer for my letter, a form rejection thanking me for my submission. I was crushed.

Through high school I wrote poetry and recorded it into a journal I kept well-hidden from the prying eyes of my sisters and mother. I found that journal recently and debated sharing some of its contents here.

Why? Apparently, I was deep, dark and dramatic, dressed in knee socks and Catholic plaid skirts, Sylvia Plath in disguise, and my journal is the smoking gun.

I’ll share a tamer one, and no, I didn’t send it on to Scholastic Magazine. I wrote it on June 18,1973.

“Fire”

Fire.

Watch it ignite 

from the ashes 

of my scorched and burnt dreams

Fire.

Watch its blaze grow

feverishly from its embryonic stage,

rising forth in fiery passion,

in glorious confrontation.

Fire.

Watch it spread itself

in a holocaust of heated anticipation,

its tongues of fury

raging and burning

as it intoxicates

my soul in its turmoil.

The poetry I write now is a mix of memories, musings and social observations, some light, some darker. (Click here for more recent work. ) But my  greatest poem, my beautiful, messy masterpiece that is my life, is still in the works, and I am writing it

one line

at a time.

And you? If you like poetry, or want to look at the world in a more creative light, check out www.Poets.org. Sign up for the daily poem service, which will deliver a little inspiration each morning to your inbox. It’s how I start my mornings.

And if you’ve wandered away from poetry over the years– or need encouragement to view life through the eyes of poetic grace– I’d like to invite you back into the fold with a few lines from one of my favorite poets and mystics, Rumi .

“Come, Come, Whoever You Are
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter.

Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Come, even if you have broken your vow

a thousand times

Come, yet again, come, come. ” –Rumi

Who is your favorite poet? What is your favorite poem?

If you’re interested in more thoughts on integrity, compassion and grace–if you’re looking for exploratory questions to unearth pieces of your soul, check out my book Tao Flashes. Or visit me at http://www.facebook.com/taoflashes or on twitter @taoflashes.

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5 thoughts on “Life Through The Eyes Of Poetic Grace

  1. Thank you for reminding everyone of National Poetry Month! I agree with you 100% about the importance of poetry in every person’s life. I love to both read and write poetry. One of my favorite past volunteer jobs was when I edited a science fiction poetry magazine called Abyss & Apex, and I got to read just a ton of poetry, some good, some not so great, but all reaching out into the future and the realms of fantasy and of science pushed beyond current fact into fictional territory.

    Here is my favorite poem that we published during my time at A&A:

    “No Ruined Lunar City”
    by Greg Beatty

    There is no ruined lunar city,
    no airless Macchu Picchu
    on the moon.

    No spires rise in leaping
    Seussian whimsy,
    enabled by the one sixth gee.

    There are no domes cracked
    by random meteorites,
    leaving homes below exposed—
    dead and full of surprised dead.

    There are no teddy bears
    worn threadbare by loonie hands,
    eyes cracked by extreme days and nights.

    There are no pools of orange
    Tang swirled with moondust,
    homage spiraling with artistry.

    There are no empty spacesuits,
    their linings dry and cracked
    from decades without air.

    No, there are no lost
    cities on the moon,
    with squares that recall Topeka,
    Vladivostok, Quito, or Rome
    and streets that run
    from crater to mare
    only to stand empty
    because men have moved on.

    But there will be.

  2. I see they you have had a poets soul you whole life. I love that you shared your poems from your youth. I think they are very good. I think young Lisa would be very pleased with the woman she grew up to be.

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