I am not a poet, but I write poetry. I love the freedom of creation and the fact that I write it just for me.
My first poem (well that I can remember) was written about police dogs in class 2C so when I was 10. I wrote it because I did not like writing. It was twenty words long! It didn’t rhyme and it didn’t have a noticeable rhythm; this is true of all my poetry since. Nobody was more surprised than me when it was published in our class newsletter!!
My next memorable piece of poetry was in year 10 or 11 or, as we used to refer to them, 4th or 5th form. I was really pleased with it and still remember part of it:
Thoughts always come to me
Like a train coming into a station
And then just as suddenly
They disappear from sight
My English teacher, who I idolised, chose to criticise it by questioning whether thoughts disappeared suddenly, so I packed up all my ideas and dreams and all my unwritten poems in a suitcase labelled ‘misunderstood’
Reading poetry is another story. I used to love all the nursery rhymes and the way my dad read A.A. Milne’s poems about cracks in the pavement, butter on my bread, and James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree. I can still feel the way my dad’s voice caressed the pages of the well-worn books. I even learned, by heart, the poem ‘Halfway down the Stairs, is a place where I sit…’ Then I reached my teens and refused to do English Lit. at school because of all the memorising and my nursery rhymes were relegated to the suitcase too.
I have written a journal from when I was 17; it used to be ‘what I did today’ and then in my twenties I allowed myself to write when I wanted to, and it slowly began to fly free and include unfinished ideas and poems. I rediscovered the way words weave across the world and embrace my soul. I started to express and process feelings through the words I was writing, just for me.
Recently I have started exploring the power of poetry in my counselling and supervising. Reading poetry aloud to other counsellors or sharing poetry with clients has opened my eyes to how poetry can cut through our defences and help us share experience.
I explored Glenis Redmond’s ‘praise poetry’ workshop https://www.hmhco.com/blog/how-to-write-a-praise-poem
and loved writing a praise poem of my own:
I am topaz searching stars at the edge of the horizon,
Pushing at boundaries of the past
Expanding into infinity.
I come from unique brilliance
Masquerading as dull dust;
A wren disguising a kingfisher.
A blink of blue,
A shimmer of light,
Aquamarine, sapphire and silver.
I exist at the periphery of understanding,
Firefly dancing on moonbeams
In the last light of evening
Not quite connected to Earth,
Love oxygenating my soul,
I hear your story
I am not a poet, but I write poetry. I can’t rhyme and my rhythm is my own. I have opened my suitcase of ‘misunderstood’ and am learning how to cherish the contents. What about you?