The first Wednesday in October is celebrated as Random Acts of Poetry Day.
If you know anything about me, you recognize poetry is important to me. I think it’s 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.
I believe it’s important to claim heart language, and these days I think a lot about the challenge from Rob Brezsny that we show up as
“…subversive mystics stoking the cool blue fires of poetry and lobbying for the liberated imagination.”
That’s certainly the world I want to live in.
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 love how Muriel Rukeyser normalizes the medium:
“Breathe in experience, breathe out poetry.”
And I think Carol Anne Duffy is on to something with her observation:
“Poetry is the music of being human.”
Any opportunity, like this designated day to celebrate poetry, is something I can definitely get behind. Technically Random Acts of Poetry Day is about “painting poetry in the public square – either literally or figuratively.” So this is the day you might find poetry chalked on to the sidewalks if you happen to be lucky. Or stumble upon someone reciting a favorite poem in public. Or if you’re more-behind-the-scenes as I am, you might choose to tuck a poem treasure somewhere unexpected for someone to discover.
I love this Victorian image – an urn entitled “Poetry of Flowers.”
I’ve added a pocket to the back, and tucked in a poem by Maya Stein – Still Life with Sunflowers. You can read it here on her site, and perhaps you’ll be inspired to poke around and find your own favorite poem for today.
Better yet, purchase something from her, or any poet today. We as a society do so little to support the work of our poets. Today is the perfect day to envision and commit to a different way.
What if we paid attention to this admonishment from Rumi?
“Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
I hope you find some poetry to celebrate today and lobby for liberated imagination. Find beauty, create beauty, share beauty. Do that and you’ll be living a poetic life.