LESSON 40

I often wonder how poetry found me or, how I found poetry.  I often ask myself, the almost unanswerable question, is writing poetry the best way to be spending my time?  After all, there are relatively few of us, in this vast world, who truly understand, relate to, and care about poetry.  And yet, there it is – walking along a street or down a country road, riding my bike, in the grocery store or out in my garden fussing with the weeds – lines of poetry, like the wind whispering through the branches, stirs in my head.  And I heed their call…

We, who answer to the name of poet, need to have an iron resolve not to let the words come and then, disappear like shadows into the night.  If the words are there, the poem is there, and you have an obligation to follow those words wherever they lead you.

One of my very favorite quotes about the importance of poetry, is the following:

“I am a revolutionary, so my son can be a farmer, so his son can be a poet.”

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, and diarist who served as the sixth president of the United States, from 1825 to 1829.

Being a poet can often mean, drawing outside of the lines of what is expected, what is understood, and what is accepted.  But writing poetry is a gift to the poet and to those with whom the poet shares his or her work.  Poetry, in its purest form, is an intimate exploration of the human condition.  It seeks to discover who we are and how we feel, how we relate to one another, exposing the depth of human emotion.

So, if my lessons inform you in any meaningful way, let the ultimate lesson be that writing poetry, being a poet, is as important to the elevation of humanity as any scientific discovery.  For poetry, my friends, speaks to us in a universal voice, forming bonds between us.  Poetry informs us, in the end, we are all the same, suffering from the same emotional upheavals and being saved by the same, uncomplicated emotions of love and joy.  Poetry tells us, we are more alike than different and that, I believe, is the most important lesson of all.  So please, fellow poets, write on…

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