I’ve spent the past week re-reading books of poetry which moved me deeply once before.
Now that life has made me move farther and faster than the words I once thought were the most brilliant constructions I could know, I’m seeing all those poems with a fresh set of eyes.
Just a simple series of words that tell a story.
The grand oversimplification.
Perhaps poetry moves us so deeply because it’s a series of words that tell a story, a carefully selected series of words that tell the world secrets about the stories we tell ourselves, which can stay buried within us for a lifetime.
It may not masquerade as poetry at all, but the sweet rhythm that the words beat while on their way to the memories locked inside of us makes it a poem we cannot deny.
It’s amazing how history’s greatest poets can trigger a memory of something unfathomably sad, and weave their words in a way that makes you feel glad that it ever happened at all.
Despite the sadness.
Because of the sadness.
After all the basic necessities are taken care of, words are the most important thing, the most vital piece of our existence.
How often do we use words without thinking?
How often do we use words without feeling?
How often do words carry a weight that we assume is balanced by shared experiences, which leads us to believe that we’re safe because someone knows what we really mean?
Do we even know what we really mean?
When was the last time we listened to ourselves in between the noises to which the world invites us to respond?
It’s not as though I was ever careless with the words I chose.
They make me anxious, despite a long love affair with them, starting when I read the dictionary as a child while others may have been out at dance recitals or playing house.
I’m always searching for the right one which sums up experience, sentiment and possibility.
Sometimes, it’s damn near impossible.
So I say nothing instead, and let myself steep in the feeling, until that cup of tea becomes too strong so I must throw it out and make another.
What happens though, when we throw it out before making another?
We spill it if we’re not careful and then, instead of risking vulnerability in the moment where we have no way of grasping hold of the uncertainty of how it might turn out, we burn others with that scalding hot salve.
Though I was rarely so careful with myself.
I saved the most precious words in my vocabulary for others, so that I might dazzle like diamonds on a starlet, rather than know that the well worn silver I polished everyday, would be there once more to dazzle just me.
Sometimes scarier than the uncertainty in which we’re forced to rest when waiting for the response from another, is the uncertainty of knowing the soul which whispers those words.
We don’t always know.
There’s an anxiety about the silence which permeates our uncertainty, or the suggestion that the conversation we’re in the middle of is one in which we no longer want to take part.
So we mistake everyday conversation for the exchange of courage that comes from admitting, in a mixed up array of awkward sentences strewn together with sweaty palms and uneven breathing,
“This is just how I feel and I have no idea what that means to you and your response could shred what I’ve spent years building.”
It’s terrifying isn’t it?
To live on that raw edge of communicating fearlessly.
Speaking without having the certainty that the words which leave your mouth will not boomerang back with a warmth filling your heart.
That familiar stripping down your soul to say the scary truths.
Interesting that they share the same space as the happy truths.
They both live in there, it’s all just the words we choose and the stories we decide to tell with them.
Advocates of silence will tell you that listening to others will lead you back home to love.
Though I challenge that and suggest that you’re already home.
The silence you seek and the certainty you need, live inside you.
And are the wellsprings of life, carving rivers into the rocky cracks where your heart’s been broken before.
Carrying that sweet elixir.
The reminder that you are the poet.
You are the poem.
You are the silence.
You are the warmth.
You are the love.
Remember your words.
Remember their weight.
Remember you are poetry.
Now go, find a mirror and look.
On The Wings of Miracles,