According to National Day Calendar today is National Poetry Day. I know most of these national day celebrations are a joke as there is day for everything from Angel Food Cake day to Vodka day (the 4th, damn it we missed it!). But a day that celebrates words and creativity and expression is one that I want to join in on.
For years I didn’t ‘get’ poetry. It was something I had to memorise and interpret for school. But beyond that poetry had no great meaning for me. Until I just felt inspired to spill all my own feels one day by trying to write my own. I had words that I needed to get out and doing so was just so cathartic. I read my words out aloud, put all my feelings in to them and then I clicked with poetry.
“Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.” – Mary Oliver
I was hooked and from there I was eagerly revisiting poetry from the greats and trying to find meaning in them. If you think poetry is boring; read it out loud, perform them ala Slam Poetry and you might just surprise yourself with what you can get from it. I’d highly recommend reading Slammed by Colleen Hoover as that is a book that inspired me all over again about the power of poetry and just how it can be exciting and how words can evoke ALL THE EMOTIONS.
“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words”. – Robert Frost
My favourite poem that I want to feature today is Digging by the late Seamus Heaney. I love how he sees his pen as his work tool, how words flow just like the sound of digging and how his pen can be a deadly as a gun. I also love the rural setting as I can identify with it and the theme of how we all have to find our way in life even if it’s not what our parents have done.
Digging BY SEAMUS HEANEY
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down
Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.
The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.
By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.
My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.
The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.
Talk to Trish: Do you like poetry? Do you experiment with writing it? What is your favourite poem?