Friday, June 11, 2010
Guest Post: Why Everyone Needs Poetry
by Linda Neas
It was William Wordsworth, who promoted poetry as the “language of the common man.” While life has changed significantly since the days of Mr. Wordsworth, poetry has remained the language of the people. Why is this?
First, anyone from child to elder can write a poem. Second, there are no requirements for formal education. Indeed, one does not even need to write; anyone who speaks can create a poem. In addition, poetry can be as simple as a Basho haiku:
“Now I see her face,
the old woman, abandoned,
the moon her only companion”
or as complex in meaning as the lengthy poem “The Zodiac” by James Dickey
"You and the paper should have known it, you and the ink: you write
With blackness. Night. Why has it taken you all this time?
All this travel, all those lives?”
Poetry allows us to speak from our hearts, to voice our greatest fears and frustrations, to wax eloquently, or to share insight inspired from on high. Poetry gives voice to the artist, the persecuted, the lover, the child and the hero. We put it to music and call it song. We find it in greeting cards, subway panels, church walls and tombstones. We recite it to our children to teach morals as well as to entertain. Poetry surrounds us.
Everyone needs poetry because it allows us to see beauty in the common – a dandelion, an empty bowl, a rock wall – to feel deep emotions – fear, love, joy, peace – to track the moments of our lives – birth, school, marriage, death.
Poetry is inclusive, being found in every language spoken by humanity.
Poetry is timeless. Think of epic poems, like The Epic of Gilgamesh or The Odyssey. These stories speak to us of trials and tribulations that still have relevance today.
Poetry is the oxygen of our souls. Without it, life would simply be an existence, instead of a journey filled with wonder.
About Linda: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas self-published her first written work at the tender age of seven on the cardboard she gathered from her Dad’s shirts when they came back from the laundry. Since then, she has written extensively in various venues, publishing and performing her work throughout New England, including her own column in two newspapers in Southern Maine and as an online writer and contributing editor at BrightHub.com.
In February 2008, she self-published her first complete book of poems, Winter of the Soul. She recently published Gogo’s Dream: Discovering Swaziland a collection of poems dedicated to those who work to aid the peoples of Swaziland. Currently, she is working on several children’s books.
Ms. Neas lives in an enchanted cottage in western Massachusetts with her Beloved.