I've always loved the natural world, and this intensified during the last two years of Covid. A much greater percentage of my poetry was created in response to visual
stimulation—anything that caught my eye and my emotions with surprise, delight, or awe.
And most of the visuals that I responded to were saturated with what felt like
music and its BFF, dance. It seemed as if my brain locked on particular
sights that felt lyrical, rhythmic, powerful in a way that begged for
poetry. Some of that poetry is written, and some waits to be written
from the photographs I captured. But all of it was music to me.
As I tried to find a way to describe my experience for this post, I received a guest column from Alex Wharton, "About Poetry" via Liz Brownlee's Poetry Summit blog. Alex put into words what I was having trouble describing...that being a poet, writing poetry is about "how we observe the living, the everyday—how much of it we absorb, let in. And tell again, again and again—until it's something that satisfies our soul."
And we each observe and absorb differently, with overlap of course, as our magnificent brains process information growing from our passions, our past, our emotions, and so, so much more.
My intensified vision of so many things in the world feeling like music and dance continues to provide immense pleasure. I'll share some samples, below (all photographs are mine):
A twirling dancer on the pond...
A dancer en pointe...
A chorus of prairie grass singing in the wind...
A trio of dancers, arms curved to the music...
The corps de ballet...
A conductor and chamber group...
I never puzzled about this intensified experience of how I see, absorb, give meaning to, and try to capture in poetry. I love it. It's familiar and yet full of surprises and delight. Personification increasingly found its way into my poetry, giving me an even more intimate relationship with those objects that touched me deeply and through poetry, could speak to me of imagined experience. Some sights I've seen were so impactful emotionally that I have not yet found the words.
I did briefly puzzle about why this particular tendency to see objects in this way had intensified, and an answer came quickly that makes all the sense in the world to me. We 'default' to the things that comfort us in hard times. These experiences bring surprise, delight, even awe in otherwise difficult times. They have brought these things, as well as fun and laughter, into my poetry, balancing to some extent the emotional impact of other realities in our world that matter deeply.
I've had more time during the pandemic to enjoy other poets' work, too, especially on Poetry Friday, where I find a community of poets who have overlapping and different ways they process and experience what they see, live, and feel.
Alex Wharton writes, "Poetry is such a dynamic thing, imaginative, living. I want children to know of its looseness, playfulness and freedom. But also of its power to change lives, save lives.
And the thing about saving lives? A good thing to remember...not only for the children, but for the poets as well.