April has been recognized by the American Academy of Poets as National Poetry Month. There’s something about poetry in every language that has the capacity to touch the soul. I love the concept of commemorating a month to honour poets and encourage adults and children to experiment with poetry. It gives us a chance to tap into the creative aspects of ourselves and be daring to try something new. At times we may shy away from it because of our experience in school or other experiences, but it can be fun if we give ourselves a chance to dabble at it.
Journaling is a great way to explore your style of poetry. The beauty about journaling is that if provided with prompts, it has the capability to allow us to delve into the depths of our spirit and write poetry. It may not be Shakespeare, it may not be Walt Whitman, it may not be E.E.Cummings, but it is a poem and it is uniquely ours. There are two favourite journaling prompts that I like to use to write poetry. The first being “I am” and the second is “I Believe.” Below is a sample of something that I wrote in my journal one day beginning with “I Believe.”
I believe when the sun comes out
There will be blue skies and puffy clouds
There will be sunshine for all to share
There will be smiley faces everywhere
There will be a word of kindness and a word of warmth
But more than that there will be birds chirping in the air.
I believe when the sun comes out
Our fears may shed one by one
I believe when the sun comes out the glow of its light will spread radiantly
and shine so bright that we can lead the way.
The way that we may not know but the sun will lead the way.
Some of my favourites growing up, and to this day, have been Khalil Gibran, Mary Oliver, Elizabeth Barret Browning, Henry David Thoreau, Rabitndranath Tagore. Who is your favourite poet? How did they influence you?
Pick a line from a poem you like and begin a poem from there. For example, one of my favourite lines from a poem is by Emily Dickinson. I picked that line and did a poetry prompt. I enjoyed doing it in impromptu and I allowed myself to flow without judgement. I can’t be Emily Dickinson, but here’s an example of how you can use your favourite poem to spark your own unique poem. From a journaling standpoint, it moves you beyond writing about things that may seem too heavy, or for those that may be fearful to journal their feelings, writing poetry is another way to begin the process without feeling lost.
Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
It perches so high that although I can’t reach it, I can see it.
Hope brings grace, it brings faith
In the darkest moments it is that light inside you that says “go on, go on”
Like a bird that aims to fly so high yet needs its rest,
So too is hope—it rests in a warm place that can give you the push to fly higher.
It smiles at you when u need it.
It give you a little push so u can soar
But most of all it leaves you always wanting more
More so that you can spread your wings higher and higher….
Poetry is something we teach children from a very young age beginning with nursery rhymes. When I first found out about National Poetry Month, I used this opportunity to foster the love of poetry in my son. We came up with our own unique 30-day Poetry Challenge Poem. We would pick seasons, images, colours, animals and write acrostic poems together to make it fun.
It created confidence in him and made writing fun. One last note about National Poetry Month—NYC celebrates Poem in Your Pocket Day every year. This year it falls on April 30, 2015. The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you on Poem in Your Pocket Day, sharing it with co-workers, family, and friends. Download poems that you can carry in your pocket and share with friends/family/strangers. If you accidentally came across a poem on the dashboard of your car, think about the smile it may bring to your face, think about a little inspiration you may get. Do that for someone else. Spread the joy. Or better yet, create your own and share it with your community, friends, co-workers and school.
This just gives you an idea of the many ways poetry can be used daily in our lives. I write about it because it transcends boundaries and need not be limited to simply the month of April. It can be fun, it can be lighthearted, it can be super deep and it can lift you up higher.
Happy Poetry Month, and I encourage you to try out one of these!
image: old paper, pen fountain, old book and glasses via Shutterstock