Poetry

Art and creativity are spiritual practices, meant to elicit changes in state, ways of being, connection, perception of the world and other.  Some artists are very specific in their utilization of art as a spiritual practice (Hilma af Klint, for example, using art as communication with Spirit).  Indeed, many mystical paths are heavily and unapologetically artistic, with mystics  manifesting  art in a variety of forms from spiritual journeys and knowing of “God”/ Life/Source to express their (re)visioning of the world.  Think of the dancing Sufi and Rumi’s poetry.

 

The written word and specifically, poetry, is the artistic modality I gravitate toward.  Poetry is the languaging of the heart, of FEELings, abstract, metaphor, the unseen, and in all those ways, wholeness.  I have written my own poems for years, with the intent of personal alchemy rather than public display.  In the spring of 2018, I was called to poem bathe a friend, a local women's circle, and a national women's circle, in an odd set of coincidences.  I knew the inherent healing potential of words for myself, as a writer, and I was honored to be able to share this awareness with others - a witness to the sparks of life, love, and awakening that words can ignite.

 

The act of reading and receiving word, voice, poetry, not only has potentiality of healing, but is also an act of generosity (https://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/411697251/the-act-of-listening).   While it takes courage to write, it also takes courage to stand still, be open, and receive.  Thank you for being here.

 

Poetry changes the way you SEE yourself, others, and the world.  “Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.”  (Mary Oliver)

 

“'You are living in a poem.' This is how the poet Naomi Shihab Nye sees the world, and she teaches how this way of being and writing is possible." (from On Being podcast Your Life is a Poem https://onbeing.org/programs/naomi-shihab-nye-your-life-is-a-poem-mar2018/ )

 

Poetry and Language “insists upon what is not easy. A good poem isn’t made of the first thoughts or words that come into your head. A good poem is never going to follow the well-worn path of habit. Language urges you to push against what you might think you know, what you might initially be inclined to draw from what you’ve observed and even what you believe” (Tracy K Smith, from https://onbeing.org/programs/tracy-k-smith-love-is-a-language-few-practice-but-all-or-near-all-speak-nov2018/ )

 

Poetry has value in all arenas of life, including the political, as noted by John F. Kennedy.  “When power leads man to arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of this existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.” (emphasis mine.  See https://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-lundberg/john-f-kennedy-poetry_b_4333727.html and https://onbeing.org/programs/tracy-k-smith-love-is-a-language-few-practice-but-all-or-near-all-speak-nov2018/ )

 

Poetry is magical  “It is within this light that we form those ideas by which we pursue our magic and make it realized. This is poetry as illumination, for it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are, until the poem, nameless and formless-about to be birthed, but already felt.” (-Audre Lorde). Futher, poetry allows for vitality and is a catalyst of social change, as Lorde explores in her essay Poetry is not a Luxury (https://onbeing.org/blog/poetry-is-not-a-luxury-by-audre-lorde/ )

 

Try writing, or art in any form. Even if you have never done it before.  Especially if you have never done it before.  There is no right or wrong way. Unused creativity metastasizes and becomes toxic (see Brene Brown and Julia Cameron); creative expression is a requisite to wholeness and health.  Please, don't wait for permission or payment for this "work" - just take it, this art, for yourself.  The world can never have enough poems or art or expressions of heart and spirit.

 

Now I intend to poem bathe you.  Below are a few favorite poems and poets as well as some works written by me. If you have favorites, please share in the comments.  (*Note that this work is copyrighted, mine and what I cite.  Please reference the work accordingly.  Thank you!*)

 

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Sampling of Favorites

 

Matsuo Basho, "The Temple Bell Stops" http://www.ronnowpoetry.com/contents/basho/templebell.html 

 

Wendell Berry, "The Peace of Wild Things" https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-peace-of-wild-things/ 

 

Brian Bilston, "Refugees" https://brianbilston.com/2016/03/23/refugees/ 

 

Emily Dickinson,  "If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking" https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/if-i-can-stop-one-heart-from-breaking/ 

 

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, "How To Silence a Woman": https://maryannburrows.com/dr-clarissa-pinkola-estes/

 

Martha Graham, "There is Vitality" http://www.elise.com/quotes/martha_graham_-_there_is_a_vitality 

 

Langston Hughes, "I Too" https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47558/i-too 

 

Li-Po, "Zazen on ching-t’ing mountain" http://sage-ing.org/wp-content/uploads/LiPo-ZazenonChing-tingMountain.pdf 

 

Kabir, "Are You Looking for Me?" can be found here https://www.poemhunter.com/i/ebooks/pdf/kabir_2012_5.pdf 

 

Masahide, "Barn's Burnt Down" http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/Poets/M/Masahide/Barnsburntdo/index.html

 

John O'Donohue "Celtic Blessing" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rYnWCophIM (this can also be found in Anam Ċara)

 

Mary Oliver, "Wild Geese" http://rjgeib.com/thoughts/geese/geese.html 

 

Mary Oliver, "Why I Wake Early" http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/mary_oliver/poems/15838 

 

Mary Oliver, "The Journey" http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/mary_oliver/poems/15794 

 

Rumi, "The Guest House" https://allpoetry.com/poem/8534703-The-Guest-House-by-Mewlana-Jalaluddin-Rumi 

 

Maggie Smith, "Good Bones" https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/89897/good-bones 

 

Tracy K Smith, “Ash”  https://poetonthepalouse.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/ash-poem-by-tracy-k-smith/

 

Tracy K Smith,  “Unrest in Baton Rouge” https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/unrest-baton-rouge

 

Alice Walker, "Desire" https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/desire-175/ 

 

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For your inspiration (breath, art, and soul): Poets and authors worth following on social media

 

Jasmin Kaur @jusmun

 

Rupi Kaur @rupikaur_

 

nayyirah waheed @nayyirah.waheed

 

Nikita Gill @nikita_gill

 

Atticus @atticuspoetry

 

Mary Oliver @PoetMaryOliver

 

Alice Walker @authoralicewalker

 

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My work

 

Breathe (pranayama) http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/breathe-pranayama/ 

 

Enlightenment: the path of Heart http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/enlightenment-the-path-of-heart/

 

Fractured Self http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/fractured-self/ 

 

Gestalt http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/gestalt/  

 

Jericho Flower: http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/jericho-flower/

 

Paramour:  http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/paramour/

 

Permissibly Injurious: http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/permissibly-injurious/

 

Poetry is: http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/poetry-is/

 

Reimagining the World (with Your Tongue): http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/reimagining-the-world-with-your-tongue/ 

 

Sit spot http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/sit-spot/

 

Tattoos http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/tattoos/ 

 

The Source of Joy http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/the-source-of-joy/

 

The Spell is Broken http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/the-spell-is-broken/ 

 

Too Heavy http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/too-heavy/

 

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*This listing of work and authors is incomplete and will continue to be updated*