The healing power of poetry

coral rose on grey

I love poetry and I have written poems ever since I was a little girl. I believe in the transformative and restorative power of poetry and I also believe that everyone and anyone can write poems. Many people have hideous memories of learning poetry at school and I think that to really understand and appreciate poetry, you should write it. However, the school syllabus often doesn’t allow time for this creative endeavour.

People often write poems during or after traumatic events. Just look at the beautiful and often heart-breaking war poetry or some of the poems written after the attacks on September 11th 2001.  Poetry can help us to make sense of the world around us. Poetry helps me to articulate my emotions in a way that other writing forms can’t which is why I think I find it so helpful in times of trouble or times of peace. Here are some of my tips on how to use poetry to heal.

Express yourself

Some people use words to express how they’re feeling while others use paint. Whatever your preferred art form, I believe that both reading and writing poetry can have a profoundly healing effect. Write down how you’re feeling and try using abstract terms. For example, we often use the phrase ‘feeling blue’ when we’re down. Maybe one day you might be so happy you’re feeling pink or purple with yellow spots.

Become a Creator

The word poem comes from the Greek word ‘poema’ which literally means ‘a thing made or created.’ It’s not just a boring bunch of words on a page that might rhyme. It’s something that has come from your heart and life experience which is why every poem is so unique and special.

Experiment

Remember those shape poems and acrostic poems you used to write in primary school? The beauty of poetry is that way that you can use words to make images on the page too. There are no rules. Just have fun with it in the same way you used to in lower school.

Where do I start?

As with most form of artistic expression, you often can’t control when it’s going to happen. Poems pop into my head at the most bizarre times which is why I always have a pen and notebook handy (as I’m sure you do too!) Start with how you’re feeling. The beauty of a lot of poetry is its brevity and its ability to catch a moment in a sentence or a word. Try writing a list of words about how you’re feeling and then expand those words into sentences, experimenting with various images. Remember, this is your personal experience and don’t worry about it ‘making sense’. It just needs to make sense to you and if it resonates with someone else that’s great too.

Read poetry

Reading poetry is also cathartic and is the best way to see how other people use language to express their feelings. There are poems on literally every subject imaginable, from the comedic to the tragic. There is a poem to suit every mood.

I recently lost a beloved pet. In-fact I have lost two pets in the space of eighteen months and it has been more than I can bear at times. But poetry has helped me. Writing my feelings down has been so cathartic. Here is a poem I wrote recently.

 

Missing You

A silent home.

No greeting when I arrive.

Key in the door. Click. Close. Wait.

Nothing.

 

I think I see you in the corner of my eye

But it’s just my imagination –

A memory of times gone by.

 

I close my eyes and breathe in,

Still feeling your life force.

I smile.

 

I will love again,

In a while.

 

Is anyone else a fan of poetry? I would love to hear your poems. Please do share them in the comments section.

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