On World Poetry Day

He was my first boyfriend. And he loved Walt Whitman. He made PPTs for me with his favorite quotes from Leaves of Grass.

Then came Daniel Ladinsky. And Hafiz. Hafiz and Ladinsky who threw my heart wide, wide open; who showed me that poetry has room for me and mine too.

Why do I love poetry? This:

There are others who welcome the transport poetry provides. They welcome it repeatedly. They desire it so much they start to crave it daily, nightly, nearly abject in their desire, seeking it out the way hungry people seek food. It is spiritual sustenance to them. Bread and wine. A way of transformative thinking. A method of transfiguration. There are those who honor the reality of roots and wings in words, but also want the wings to take root, to grow into the earth, and the roots to take flight, to ascend. They need such Ming and rising, such metaphoric thinking. They are so taken by the ecstatic experience—the overwhelming intensity—of reading poems they have to respond in kind. And these people become poets.

~ Edward Hirsch, How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry

Poetry, more than anything else, is the language of joy for me. It offers solace, reminding me often of what matters to me.

Poetry is this:

Absolutely Clear
Daniel Ladinsky & Hafiz, The Subject Tonight Is Love

Don’t surrender your loneliness
So quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,
My need of God
Absolutely
Clear.

And also this:

If It Is Not Too Dark
Daniel Ladinsky & Hafiz, I Heard God Laughing

Go for a walk, if it is not too dark.
Get some fresh air, try to smile.
Say something kind
To a safe-looking stranger, if one happens
by.
Always exercise your heart’s knowing.
You might as well attempt something real
Along this path:
Take your spouse or your lover into your arms
The way you did when you first met.
Let tenderness pour from your eyes
The way the Sun gazes warmly on the earth.
Play a game with some children.
Extend yourself to a friend.
Sing a few ribald songs to your pets and
plants—
Why not let them get drunk and wild!
Let’s toast
Every rung we’ve climbed on Evolution’s
ladder.
Whisper, “I love you! I love you!”
To the whole mad world.
Let’s stop reading about God—
Jump to your feet, wave your fists,
Threaten and warn the whole Universe
That your heart can no longer live
Without real love!

I hope you encounter a few poems that find a resonance within you and help you start on your own poetic journey!