by Cassandra Key
The easiest way to fill your day with poetry is to notice what poetry is and then surround yourself with it.
Poetry is a lot of things and goes beyond words on paper. It is nature and love and pain. It is Mary Cassatt’s “Summertime” and dancing to Chopin. It is dreams and prayers and moonlight. It is all of these things coming together to create something that stirs the heart.
Or as Emily Dickinson said:
If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.
Start your morning with a poem. In the quiet hours before everyone is awake or on your morning commute, whenever the best morning time is for you, take out a book of poetry if you have one or look up poems on the internet (Ultra Violet Tribe + Rebelle Society).
It’s nice to have a collection ready and waiting for you, so bookmark your favorites or peruse the bookstore shelves for something that catches your eye. Each morning, read one of the poems and let it sit in your soul before you start the busy day.
Scribble your own poems. Any words will do. You’re not aiming for perfection. If you need a kick start, write one of your favorite poems on a piece of paper, then follow with your own using the style of your favorite poem. Borrow some of the words, if you must. Or go off the deep end, get crazy, make up your own words (thank you, Lewis Carroll).
No one ever has to see your creation. Tuck it into your journal for safekeeping or burn it if you never want to see it again. The point is not to pen something you want to publish (although that may happen later), but to fill your day with words, no matter how silly or chaotic or beautiful they may be.
SEA VIOLET by Hilda Doolittle
The white violet
is scented on its stalk,
fragile as agate,
lies fronting all the wind
among the torn shells
on the sand-bank.
The greater blue violets
flutter on the hill,
but who would change for these
who would change for these
one root of the white sort?
your grasp is frail
on the edge of the sand-hill,
but you catch the light–
frost, a star edges with its fire.
Notice everything. Poems don’t have to be made of grand things and exceptional situations. Oftentimes, poems are inspired by everyday things, details and observations. As I wrote in the beginning, poetry is many things and it’s already all around you. Notice the way the sun breaks through the window in the morning or the sound of the ceiling fan.
Notice how people walk, how they smile or frown. Notice wind through curtains, a spider’s graceful movements, how the onion sizzles in the skillet. Write about these small moments, if you’d like, or just let them melt into a rainbow of words inside your mind.
Get back to nature. Step away from the computer, put your phone in your pocket, and the tablet in the drawer. Now go outside. You don’t have to go far; sit on your porch and look at the sky or watch the ants march through the grass.
Nature is its own poetry and we’ve gotten so far away from it. Doesn’t it feel good to put your toes in the grass and lean against a tree? Doesn’t it feel soothing to sit beside the river? Nature has stories to tell, but you have to listen. It speaks in poetry.
If you’d like some inspiration for your own poetic pursuits, consider these prompts:
- Read your tea leaves and write about your fortune.
- Pick a tarot card, but don’t read the meaning. Write a poem from what you see.
- What’s outside your window?
- Take the first line of a book and use it to start a poem.
- What’s the first image in your Pinterest feed? Write a poem from that.
- Last night’s dream.
Guest post by Cassandra Key. Cassandra is an American ex-pat living in the Philippines. She writes about happiness, self-love, and magical dream-life living at The Sacred Middle. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.