Why Poetry is a Practice

I call this poetry practice. I have likened the daily flexing of the poetry muscle to the etudes Miss Mildred, my childhood piano teacher, gave me. I was a poor piano scholar, but I have doggedly stuck to the daily practice of poetry now for nearly ten months. I know I will keep the posting for the full 365 days. But apart from becoming a more limber wordsmith, the daily poetry practice also has a spiritual element.

I have rarely kept up a meditation practice. I have tried prayer books and pulling a wisdom or oracle card. But I usually fall away from the routine in fairly short order. Being in semi-retirement helps. Having a flexible work routine and a fixed monthly income can accommodate a morning writing practice. But when I worked a normal job I never set the alarm early to make sure that I write something every morning. I did the three month “Artist’s Way” over twenty years ago, but after that the morning pages routine was very off and on. (Mostly I complained about how my sinuses hurt first thing in the morning. Which is kind of boring.) I began this practice with a howl of outrage and in a pit of sorrow. Those circumstances have not stopped happening. And I still keep feeling the feelings. But I have not been cast off-centre while it has been going down. And that, I think, is because of the daily practice of writing a poem – good, bad or indifferant.

Having the self-imposed discipline of posting the Poetry Daily has ensured that I keep at it. But I am beginning to wonder whether I might keep it up now anyway because it is now set in my neural pathways. Perhaps after September 15th I can take down that guardrail and just post a weekly poem or compendium of weekly poems.

I am still entranced by quotations. Please indulge me. I am ferreting around to see what are the limitations and strengths of the form. As I am considering the spiritual value of the Poetry Daily as my practice, the Samuel Beckett quotation comes back to me. It is a favourite. Probably I should have a plaque made of it and hang it on a wall!

all poetry is prayer

And so today’s Poetry Daily is

All poetry is...prayer.
Time and trends change its rhythms and riffs.
Say it to a god or to yourself, it anchors.
We can be both defendant and plaintiff
petitioning for some kind of clemency.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.
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