Hello and happy Wednesday!
Also, happy Limerick Day!
No, I didn’t know it was an actual day either. Until recently, that is, and I thought it’d be a good opportunity to talk about one of my favorite forms of writing: poetry!
Growing up, I had a mixed view of poetry. I liked reading it, but only if it was ‘fun’ poetry. It had to rhyme, have a bouncy rhythm, and be something easy to understand. Free verse was a foreign concept to me, and a style I viewed as ‘weird’. While most poetry-loving people discussed deep, classic poems, I was far more interested in…well, Dr. Seuss!
I also loved writing poems, and they almost always fit the qualifications above. One of my favorite things was to write friends and family members little poems about them for their birthdays. Short, sweet, and always with a rhyming scheme.
If I sat down with the intent of writing a poem, I could rarely write anything worthwhile. But if I decided I should write someone a poem and then continued going about my normal day, sooner or later the perfect wording and rhythm would just come to me. The poems I was most satisfied with were often the ones written half an hour before I gave them, haha.
As I’ve gotten older, the subject matter in the poems I write has gotten – dare I say it – deeper. Poetry is often the outlet I seek when I’m struggling with some hardship, some overwhelming emotion, or some tough decision. And because of that, my poems are far more personal now than they were when I was younger.
Very rarely do I share my poems, and I don’t plan to ever share the most personal ones. Reading back through some of them, I can still feel the emotional rawness of when I wrote them – whether I’ve healed from that struggle or not.
Someone else would probably not understand or be moved by those words, but to me, at those points in my life, those poems were almost prayers. Often, words to express what I wanted to ask or tell God came easier within a poem than if I were to verbalize them.
And that’s one of the beauties of poetry, I think.
Though not everyone enjoys writing or reading poetry (and that’s okay!), for those that do, it can be very healing. For me, it’s a way to be creative, while still ‘journaling’ or working through my thoughts and emotions. Drawing from my life while writing novels or short stories is similar, but there’s just something about poetry for me that works especially well.
It seems to be the perfect balance between fiction and non-fiction sometimes. It’s the truth, but not stated in clear facts like in a journal or a diary. I can chronicle the things that are happening to me and how I’m responding to them, but by in a way that speaks volumes in far fewer words – and without my inner perfectionist/critic hounding me like it does when I write fiction stories. It’s far easier letting myself relax and write ‘messy’ poetry than it is letting myself write ‘messy’ fiction.
Fiction, journaling, poetry…I love them all for different reasons, and when I need something calm and soothing to do, poetry is the style I turn to first.
Especially in recent years, I’ve experimented more and more with various styles of poetry – including the free verse I thought was so weird before. And I love it. I love using different styles depending on the tone I’m trying to create and the meaning I’m striving to create. I love seeing the rhythm develop, until reading it feels almost like dancing.
And I enjoy reading poetry a lot more now too. Still not as much as writing it, but I think that’s because it’s just so personal to me. I will never fully be able to understand what drove the other person to write a poem, so – even though I enjoy them greatly – I don’t think theirs will ever mean as much to me as my own. And I know others likely feel the same way.
Poetry is so unique to each and every one of us. We’re each going to relate to, be touched by, and write very different poems simply because of who we are. What we’ve been through. What our personal tastes are. Where we are in life’s stages.
Knowing that there are backstories has made reading others’ poetry even more meaningful for me too, even if I don’t understand the full story behind it. And of course, in addition to emotional poems, I still enjoy the ‘fun’ ones, written purely to amuse. My specific taste in poems seems to change with my mood, so I’m glad there’s so much well-written poetry circulating now!
In honor of the poetry-occasion, I thought I’d share a handful of my own, more polished poems with you today. All various styles, written at various stages in my life, and with a variety of different themes. These are more difficult to share than my other writing, I suppose because they’re messier and more personal. But I hope they touch you anyway, and that you’re inspired to share your own poetry (or your favorites of others’), if you’d like!
(Written when I was 13)
Hope in the Darkness
When my life meets hardships,
and when nothing seems the same,
When tears fall daily from my eyes,
and there’s nothing left but pain,
It helps to know that Jesus
has been through it all before.
He can help to mend my heart
and fix the part that’s torn.
He loves me and accepts me,
and He’ll help me learn to cope,
Because when all that’s left is darkness,
Jesus Christ is hope.
(Written when I was 14)
Spring is such a cheerful time,
where flowers, grass, and trees,
are blooming into colors
with the help of buzzing bees.
Summer sun shines all around,
and children laugh and play.
Blue skies overhang above,
and songbirds chirp away.
Autumn brings a grand new view,
with leaves red, orange, and gold,
and all the fuzzy creatures bed
to ward away the cold.
Winter is a wonderland,
and all is frosted white.
The air is crisp and strings your nose
and eggs your appetite.
Though every one is different,
and though sometimes we say,
“I wish this one would leave us!”
or, “I’m moving far away!”
be thankful for each time of year,
for the time our Father took.
There’s beauty in each season,
if you’ll only stop and look.
(Written when I was 17)
I’m fine can mean so much.
It can mean I’m really tired.
It can mean I’m feeling sad.
It can mean I’m missing someone.
It can mean I’m really lonely.
It can mean I’m feeling lost.
It can mean I’m not myself.
It can mean I’m really hurt.
It can mean I’m feeling betrayed.
It can mean I’m falling short.
It can mean I’m really nervous.
It can mean I’m feeling forgotten.
It can mean I’m insecure.
I’m fine can mean so much.
(Written when I was 17 – for a poetry challenge. Perspective: an older gentleman caring for his wife, whom has Alzheimer’s.)
I Love You, Darling
I love you, Darling,
even though you don’t remember me,
because I remember falling in love with you.
I love your eyes,
even though they don’t recognize me,
because I remember gazing into them for hours.
I love your smile,
even though you don’t smile at me,
because I remember how it melted my heart.
I love your laugh,
even though you don’t laugh for me,
because I remember doing anything to hear it.
I love your voice,
even though you don’t use it,
because I remember how you said my name.
I love your hands,
even though you don’t hold mine,
because I remember vowing to never let go.
I love your strength,
even though you’re frail,
because I remember wishing I was as strong as you.
I love your heart,
even though it’s failing,
because I remember marveling at your compassion.
I love you, Darling,
even though you don’t love me,
because I remember – you did.
And I love you, Darling,
even though you’ve forgotten me,
because I could never forget you.
(Written when I was 17)
What if we showed more love
To that new kid in our group
To that employee in the store
To that friend who drives us nuts
What if we showed more love?
What if we showed more grace
To that driver who cut us off
To that teen who rolls her eyes
To that salesman who won’t leave
What if we showed more grace?
What if we showed more faith
When the cash won’t pay the bills
When the children catch the flu
When the rain pours through the roof
What if we showed more faith?
What if we showed more Christ
When at work or when at home
When with friends or all alone
When we’re happy or we’re sad
What if we showed more Christ?
What if others noticed
Our deep love for all we meet
Our unending gifts of grace
Our unwavering stance of faith
Our Savior shine through us
What if others noticed?
Well, there you have a few of my – rambling – thoughts on poems. Poetry has always meant a lot to me, and it’s been a soothing way to process my own thoughts and emotions when I don’t know how else to do it. I’ve enjoyed venturing back down memory lane today… Thanks for joining me on the trip!
What are YOUR thoughts on poetry? Do you enjoy reading it, or not so much? If you write poetry, what has your experience been like? I’d love to hear from you, so let me know in the comments below – and feel free to share some of your favorite poetry (including your own) while you’re there!