Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with leading you on a meandering tour of the virtual garden of delights and curiosities and thoughts that make up my world – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
H is for…
Hippocrene: (noun) Poetic or literary inspiration
ETYMOLOGY: In Greek mythology, Hippocrene was a spring on Mt. Helicon and was created by a stroke of Pegasus’s hoof. From Greek hippos (horse) + krene (fountain, spring). Earliest documented use: 1598.
This word really delights me – what’s not to love about a spring created from a step of Pegasus? I’m doubly glad I get to mention poetry in this post as well, given that it IS National Poetry Month and I’m such a poetry devotee.
I think poetry is a powerful way to bring us back into our hearts, and frankly I think there’s never been a time when we needed to be more heart-based as a collective than right now.
Because I believe in the power of sharing poetry and I share it a lot, I often get variations on the questions “What do you see in poetry?” or “How can I understand/see/appreciate poetry?” or “How do I look at the world with the eyes of a poet?” I’m always a little perplexed when people tell me they don’t like poetry and offer vague apologies that they just don’t understand it. I always want to encourage them to simply relax and trust themselves – good poetry isn’t deliberately obscure, it’s simply an invitation to see through a difference lens.
I particularly love poet Carol Anne Duffy’s observation: “Poetry is the music of being human.”
While I read poety every day, I’m finding I’m turning to it even more frequently during this time of sequestering. And I’m returning again and again to Sarah La Rosa’s book Her Strange Angels.
I’m finding this particular verse of one her poems to be an especially poignant touchstone in these times.
“This beauty way these wisdom paths that open slowly These are precipice truths revealing treasures through mist and the unfurling petals of pain there in the open air of possibility fed by those who are unafraid to be bruised.”
I find comfort in these other words of hers:
"Even in the throes of deep fatigue It is comforting to know That our wild soul is ever on the lookout.”
Returning to today’s word, I played a little game. Knowing that treasures abound everywhere, I decided a little found poetry might be in order. So I tasked myself with creating a random list “found” poem based on the first word I found in four random books I pulled off a bookshelf. I suspect the poetry muses were delighted with my intention because I think they cooperated in the must amusing way.
circumstances breach puppet threads
I couldn’t resist adding the cookie fortune: “Nothing is certain but the unforeseen.” How true is that?
There’s no doubt I love poetry. If I had my way there would be no armies, only poetry academies. Our currency would be love letters, songs of sixpence, and poems. And everyone would look forward to April’s thirty days of celebration known as National Poetry Month. Sounds idyllic to me.
What do you think? What’s your position on poetry? Believe in strange angels? Did my found poem make you smile? Or wonder about what those circumstances are, or contemplate puppet threads? Have you played with found poetry? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
a writer, me,
was ever a poet
the lines flowing
where full sentences won’t
and the release
so … cathartic;
that is poetry
for this writer, me.
Very nice indeed Yamini!
I have never been a big fan of poetry. Not sure why either. Maybe I haven’t found the right one to really grab me.
Monstrous Love from A to Z
Perhaps one day you’ll find yourself swept away by one.
I enjoy poetry, although I’m not as devoted to it as you are. I studied French poetry in college, and there were some very beautiful poems, but also ones that were incredibly dense and required lots of historical knowledge. One of my favorites was, “Demain, des l’aube” by Victor Hugo about the death of his daughter. I like the flow, and the music of poetry, even if I don’t understand it.
Sometimes poetry speaks to us in other than the words we clearly understand. How lovely that you studied French poetry Margaret.
For some reason poetry has never been my thing. I like the idea of grabbing random words though. I may have to give that one a try.
Random and found poetry can be great fun Janet. I bet you’d enjoy it.
Poetry is flowers to me. I can never tire of it. I’m always eager to explore new hues and colours and new varieties.
Like you, I read poetry everyday. And like I had mentioned in an earlier comment, words strung in forms of poetry or sometimes prose appear in books I pick at random. I let the angels do the deciding for me. I just enjoy the music.
I vote for poetry academies.
Your found poem has planted puppets in my mind.
I had to get up in the middle of writing this comment to pick a book at random and to open a page to share some lines with you:
From : Breathing Truth: quotations from Rumi. Translated by Muriel Maufroy
You said: “Come! The spring garden is smiling,
There are torches, wine, beauty.”
In that place where you are not, what is all this to me?
And in that place where you are, what good are
How perfect is your random selection?! – I love it. The angels are very good guides indeed.
Your found poem resonates so deeply. Yes! Yes! Yes! Let our current circumstances be the impetus to break through barriers that prevent the uplifting, love, care and respect for all. No exceptions!
Yes, yes, yes Pattie – no exceptions!
Oh this is lovely Deborah thank you. The other day I wrote down a few words on a scrap of paper as thoughts came to me and I thought, hmmm, maybe I can work on this. I’m still to give it a go but I think I’ll try your ‘trick’ of selecting the first words from 4 books from my bookshelf and note them and work with them and the other words I wrote down. Your 4 words say much!
There is no doubt in my mind and heart that poetry speaks of unknown things, or of a world gently simmering below the surface, articulated so well that I can’t fail to be moved. The words of the poet speak of unspoken things that when I read them I have a AHA! moment. Our wild souls are definitely on the lookout – paraphrasing Sarah la Rosa.
You describe it so beautifully Susan – this is exactly what I mean and why I wish everyone would open to the magic. I truly laugh at myself sometimes, as I know I’m a hopeless zealot, but our hearts love what they love don’t they?
I’m a big fan of hybrid exercises and the idea of adding 4 random words to the words already have feels like it could be a wonderful infusion to jolt those words into new expression. Sometimes I feel like we’re walking in an endless field of inspiration – we only need to invite it in.
I love poetry, writing and reading it. I like using “magnetic poetry” aka The Oracle, which always gives lovely gifts. I also agree that poets are needed more than ever right now. My blogmate, Alexandra, wrote a poem about that this very day. Take care!
It always warms my heart to meet a poetry kindred. I have a magnetic poetry set on my fridge and everyone who visits is invited to leave a line for the current on-going poem.
Kudos to poets everywhere, and how fun your blogmate wrote about it today.
Perhaps partly because I’m a man I have tended to see poetry somewhat as a technical shorthand! I have viewed poetic phrasing as necessary concision; a code which is directed at those readers with a similar dogma. Necessary, I say, in order to treat big ideas without watering down the impact with pages of explanation.
And when I haven’t understood, I’ve assumed i’m not the right audience; that we do not share the same prerequisite dogma.
I read a book of poetry once because I had met the poet. I did not understand a thing. But I was engaged in big life changes at the time. A year later I was reminded of the book and looked at it again and read the whole thing again and felt I understood nearly everything.
But I realize there is more to poetry than this, and I like the views you have presented. They are very refreshing!
Your understandings and your experiences makes me smile in appreciation Rich. Those willing to take on poetry’s invitation bring to it their own selves, and we are all unique and multi-faceted, both nuanced and prejudiced. Sometimes we speak the poet’s language and sometimes we forge an understanding with the poem, and sometimes it’s simply best to shrug and say it’s message clearly belongs to someone else. But to find a poet you love, or even a single poem, is like finding treasure.
I don’t read poetry as often as I should. I recently started reading a book of poems by Hungarian female poets, because I realized none of them were included in the school curriculum…
The Multicolored Diary
Good for you! For years I read nothing but female poets and I felt richer for it. Now I simply want to absorb all that I can, from whomever I can. I am a thirsty sponge and the poems are an elixir for my soul.
I am definitely a poetry lover, and apt to recite something at the drop of a hat… although just as often something melodramatic as something profound. I find that poetry sticks in my head best – probably because it’s also anchored in my heart.
My family has always had a tradition of writing poetry (usually humorous doggerel) to go with our gifts at Christmas, so at least once a year there is lots of writing of poetry in the house. (Though when I tried to introduce the practice to my in-laws, they looked at me as if I were a six-eyed alien unicorn that had just popped out of a candy cane. They had absolutely no idea what this madness was!)
Black and White (Words and Pictures)
Oh Anne, every part of your comment makes me smile. My husband loves reciting poetry to me, often just to horrify me with his choices, and we always end up laughing. And I, too, had a custom of writing Christmas poems. I would compose one for each family member, elaborating on some incident involving them during the year, and include it in the holiday cracker. You had to put on your paper hat and read your poem, and there was much toasting and laughter. How does it get any better than that?