Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Today as we were talking about poetry, Kathy told me how excited she was as a very small child when she began to write very small poems. She would get so excited that she would take what she wrote and run to find her mother to tell her. Her mother also loved poetry. As Kathy describes it, her mother, who always wore dresses, hose, and heels, and an apron when she was at home, would stop what she was doing, sit in a chair to give her full attention, and fold her apron up so she could fold her hands over the clean part of the apron. Then she would ask Kathy to read the poem to her, as though she were reading it to her class. Kathy did, often acting out the few lines in full animation. She remembers this so fondly, and how her mother would clap, and then always encourage her to then “make it bigger,” “make it better.” My mother taught me to think, she said, “Now, make it better!”
I loved hearing this story, and it brought back memories in my mind about reading the World Books on our shelves at home when we were children; how our parents would encourage us to read, and many afternoons would find all of us in our various chairs fully engaged in our latest story (whether fiction or poetry or history). For some reason, I remember Mary Stewart’s Crystal Cave book, on my mother's shelf. I remember Go, Dog, Go (Dr. Seuss). I remember the excitement when we shared some tidbit from a book that made us laugh, or something sad that was new to our experience.
I have not always been motivated to make things bigger and better. At times in my early life I was caught up in the whirlwind of confusion in my mind, and I can clearly understand now how such a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings and reactions is only productive when a mind begins to understand the motion of the whirlwind, its causes and effects, and finds more than shelter from flying debris. True encouragement to think is always a gift, even though it may take a mind a while to accept and appreciate that gift. (Change!) I understand now that love always encourages, and encouragement always motivates when a mind is open. Excitement is contagious. Listening is a gift to a mind, from one person to another, and within ourselves and our many “voices” which echo so many memories which are there to cherish as we learn from them and expand them.
I love to think about poetry. When I read my brother’s poetry, for example, I am so taken with the images he creates, and I know his energy so well, that I feel we are holding hands or side by side as he is sharing these deepest of feelings and visions. The moments are timeless, as the words become visions. When I read Kathy’s poems, such as are in her book Sharing, I feel I’ve opened a window or door into a room where a conversation is in full swing, a song is being sung, sometimes with rain on the windowpanes, and always with the ocean of energy from which we come visible, absolute, and loving. Recently I read an early book of poems by Judy Hogan (Light Food). Her rhythmic expression in this book is tender, explorative, and expressive in a way which highlights a new-found level or images of love – with another, with and in Nature, and most of all, within herself.
For my 18th birthday, so long ago, my boyfriend gave me a “book” of poems he’d written. They were beautiful, and there was much wisdom in them which I continued to learn from and appreciate for many years after. In one of them he finished, “let me be of you my summing up.” I read and re-read that line, and what it gave me was an understanding of how, when we love, we want to reflect the best of ourselves as we love each other. This is one expression of love. When I “miss the note” of harmony (love) in a moment, I miss the poetry! Trust love – the Spirit of us loves it!