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Poetry re-connects us with fundamental aspects of our existence

I use poetry in all of the Mindfulness Courses I facilitate. People tell me that it touches them deeply, not just their understanding but also their senses, intelligence, emotions and imagination. Rather than describing an experience, it IS the experience,

so central to our existence, which we are spiritually impoverished without.

Poetry IS the experience so it resonates with us all

Often, when we try to speak about precious heartfelt experiences, we push them farther away but poetry creates the experience, so comes to us bringing the living experience of life. We can share our common humanity; alleviate our aloneness, gain courage, direction, steadfastness and inspiration.

Even though poetry is words, these words do not activate logic nor are they aimed at the thinking mind but creating a picture so the heart can remember it. Mary Oliver wrote a handbook about poetry and in the very end of it she says:

“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.”

Poetry feeds our very soul, so feels as necessary as as bread in the pockets of the hungry, fires for the cold, ropes let down to you when you are lost.

Here is one of my favorites:

The Summer Day         by                     Mary Oliver

Who made the world?  Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

This blog was written by Joanne O’Malley, Mindfulness and Compassion. We offer organisational and individual: 1 : 1 Mindfulness TrainingCustomised Mindfulness Programme and a range of Mindfulness / Compassion Courses.


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