April is one of my favorite months, seeing as it is when we celebrate National Poetry month. There can never be too much celebration of poetry in my opinion.
But I’m also celebrating something additional this month. That poetry has led me to a new favorite word.
Oh it’s true – I admittedly have lots of favorite words, but seriously, how can this one not be part of the ranks?
From Greek, meaning “beautiful thinking” or “well mind.”
It is also the shortest word in English that contains all five vowels.
I get shivers of delight running that word over my tongue; letting it percolate in my brain; imaging all the ways it’s possible to practice the state of it. And I swear the next time someone asks me what my core values are, eunoia is totally going on the list. My utopian world contains lots of poetry and a whole lot of eunoia.
I was introduced to the word thanks to Christian Bok’s book of poetry by the same name.
It’s an odd little book, and probably not most people’s cup of tea, so I’m not recommending it unless you’re particularly interested in the seeing the well-crafted discipline of writing poetry within extreme constraints. Each “chapter” consisting of a number of poems is dedicated to a particular vowel. So in the A chapter, every single word in each poem contains the letter a in it. That in itself is a pretty amazing feat, but Bok also wrote within an even more specifically defined container. “All chapters must allude to the art of writing; must describe a culinary banquet, a prurient debauch, a pastoral tableau and a nautical voyage. All sentences must accent internal rhyme through the use of syntactical parallelism. The text must exhaust the lexicon for each vowel, citing at least 98% of the available repertoire; and the text must minimize repetition of substantive vocabulary, so that ideally no word appears more than once.” Wow – that’s an amazing set of restrictions to craft around! And the fact that he did it seems worthy of celebration to me.
But what I really want to celebrate is the concept of eunoia itself. I can’t help but imagine of my mind as a garden filled with beautiful thoughts. And knowing my mind, it’s not a tidy little formal garden with straight geometric rows. Welcome to the wildflowers-spilling-over-the-cottage-roses-tumbling-through-the-hollyhocks eclectic expanses of my brain.
Today I’m celebrating the beautiful thoughts of how April showers bring May flowers; of sitting down later this rainy afternoon with a delightful-looking children’s book to read while trying a new coconut mango green tea; and then later writing a love note to someone as part of my daily practice this month. This is my brain on eunoia.
What about you? Do you have a tidy garden kind of brain? Do you have a collection of favorite words? Are you celebrating National Poetry month? Do tell – you know I love to hear.