Poetry of Life

I am not a poet. I shouldn’t really have to say that on here, should I? If you’ve read even a few of my posts, you’d know that I have a very conversational style in my writing; I write as I talk, and I am not a poet in my conversations, either.

Most of the time that doesn’t bother me. I’m not much on reading poetry, either. I memorized the first few stanzas of Sir Walter Scott’s “The Lady of the Lake” when I was a kid, and I gained some appreciation for Emily Dickinson in my freshman creative writing class in college, and I struggle to appreciate John Donne because of my abiding love for Lord Peter Wimsey, but really? Poetry is a closed book to me. I can scratch together a few lines for a Christmas present for a family member, or put together a little poem to hang next to a baby picture on my littles’ bedroom wall, but using poetry to express my innermost feelings? Not gonna happen.

And then I read people who write prose so beautifully that it reads like poetry, those blog posts that dig into my heart, those words accompanying a recipe in a cookbook that make me want to bury my hands in flour and build a legacy, those lines in a book that shine a light on feelings that have been obscure even to me. And I wish (oh how I wish) that I could write the same way. That even if I can’t write poetry, that my prose could be deep and rich and beautiful and speak out of the chambers of my heart, right into others’ hearts.

But I sit with my fingers poised over the keyboard, or twirling a pen above a blank page, and what comes out is my usual light chatter instead. Even when I am writing for myself, that doesn’t change, so it isn’t that I’m afraid to expose my inner self to others. Or is it that, is it that I have hidden myself away from others for so long that it’s become an ingrained habit, something I can’t break even for myself?

This post here is more stream-of-consciousness than I usually write. It’s about as close to poetry as I get. I do have a poetry blog that I started several years ago in an attempt to develop a more poetic side, but it’s been gathering dust for many months. Maybe I should start working on that again?

I don’t want to stay in the shallows, with my writing or with my life. I’m not afraid to dive into the unknown deeps when it comes to my life. I shouldn’t be afraid of stretching out with my writing, either. Light entertainment is fine, and even good, at times, but I don’t want that to be all I ever write. I want to make people think, and feel, with my writing. I want to use my writing to convey at least a part of the beauty and wonder I find in this world, this life.

Maybe I just need to take a deep breath, and dive right in. No fear.

I wrote this over a period of a couple days, but I have not edited anything (well, aside from a few spelling errors). An attempt to stay raw and not polish the truth away from my words.

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14 thoughts on “Poetry of Life

  1. This piece of writing definitely made me think and feel, Louise :) I think that poetry or poetical writing is different for everyone, and that we should write what comes most naturally to us. But exploring the other side and challenging ourselves is also a great goal to have. I like the idea of having a poetry blog! Have you also tried keeping a personal diary for your eyes only? That might be a good way to let it all come out comfortably. I rely on diaries!

  2. Wow! I feel exactly the same way. I love poetry, particularly John Donne and TS Eliot. And I've always wanted to write poetry, but writing poetry scares me–I'm afraid I'd be terrible, especially when I read the amazing poems written by my friends who are poets. But I keep toying with the idea. Maybe Julie's idea of a personal diary might be just the thing I need… Thanks, Julie!

  3. A diary IS a good idea. I have a personal journal (actually, I have three, if you count the journals I keep for writing letters to my daughters), but I rarely write in it. Maybe instead of focusing on my poetry blog, I should spend more time on that? I think I sometimes feel guilty about spending my limited writing time on something no one but me is going to read, but if I view it as a the same thing as writing exercises, it might get easier.

  4. I think if I take it in baby steps, it might be easier. From prosy prose to poetic prose to poetry … the gradual incline might make things better than trying to dive right in to the deep end.And, obviously, I need to work on not mixing my metaphors if I ever want to achieve readable poetry. :-)

  5. There's nothing wrong with having a writing style that isn't poetic. What matters is having a voice and having something to say. Write what you would like to read, not what you THINK you should be writing. I like your style and I think it would make for a great novel :)

  6. Aw, thanks! It's not so much that I dislike my normal writing style as it is I don't want to get stuck only ever writing lightly, without ever digging deeper. And I suspect poetry helps to bring out those deeper thoughts and feelings.

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