April is a month of transition, either by finishing up your taxes or enjoying more daylight hours. It is a month which brightens up the disappearing dimness and provides us all with a nourishing chance to renew (or try again)… April is Poetry month, which snuck up on me this year again.
Aspirations and resolutions are given a moment to be checked into or revised. What time would be better matched with poetry than the vibrant month of April? Amidst refreshing showers this rebirth (or renewal) thrives. I sampled a foretaste of this renewal when Redondo Beach Public Library invited poets to read their work on a podcast in preparation for Poetry month. Waiting outside with other poets, listening to them rehearse, I revisited my own work, as well.
Poems I wrote, revised, and tweaked, echoed in a voice from my past. Rekindling with fond memories, I reread poetry I had created for children with themes of holidays, tying one’s own shoes, and Bubble Gum. Remembering struggles with word choice, meter and rhyme, the standard rejection letters piled up. Yet, the voice rereading the poems perked up and brought new vitality into my entry. Finally, choosing a poem to share, I felt revived. Rediscovering an old friend that had taught me so much about life… POETRY!
One of the poets, upon leaving, referred to me as ‘the reluctant poet,’ because I was the last to read for the podcast. However I knew I had a renewed interest. That is what poetry month is all about: welcoming, inspiring, and reviving.
Where would we be without this ‘other world’ to express love? How would we be able to feel this ‘other world’ than through poetry and music? Poetry to me is another dimension that releases the imagination.
My favorite form of self-expression is writing prose or poetry. Learning to love words through exploring similies and metaphors in grade school, my ‘dream world’ augmented my expression, art, and education… One cannot disregard or deny another’s visions or dreams. While studying similies in Fourth grade, one exercise of writing allowed us to fill in the blank: ‘The old lady’s back was bent like _______________. ‘A drooping flower,’ I wrote. My Fourth grade teacher ecstatically exclaimed, “That’s beautiful! Who wrote that?” “Briana did,” my classmate announced.
My devotion to poetry grew over the years; every time I wrote, I felt encouraged. Poetry gave hope and a place for meditation in my life. Aspiring to ‘make it big’ I entered a Poetry contest in High School. My English teacher was pleased I entered, and when the rejection arrived in the mail, I shared the bad news with her. She said with her wry sense of humor, “Now you’re a writer!”
Bred, not born, into the Arts, I endeavored to submit to literary journals while in school. After studying the classic and famous poets in a poetry class, it brightened up my life to see a poem of mine in print, because I had studied the craft and worked hard on my piece. Rewriting and revising my own work, while studying classic poets, helped me to feel what they felt, or enter their mindset or emotional state. Simonides of Ceos, an ancient Greek poet, is known for the phrase, ‘Poetry is painting with words, and painting is silent poetry.’ This can also be worded as ‘Painting is silent poetry and poetry spoken painting.’ The saying speaks to my heart, beckoning and guiding my journey. Poetry prospers thought, resupplies us with idealism, blesses our imagination and magnifies our spirit with emotion. Poetry offers an escape from the mundane, yet provides serenity.
Repetition and rhyme aid our learning experience and are even more pronounced with children. When my elder nephew was years old, during one of his visits, he needed a snack. Grandma handed him an apple, “Granny Smith rhymes with Grandma!” he exclaimed.
The natural world assists us in creating or writing poetry. Through utilizing seasons, nature, elements or minerals, we are enabled to express ourselves eloquently and effectively. Enriching our work while incorporating weather, the great outdoors, and natural phenomenon, we share in the experience through universal symbols and images. These images become more ingrained in our heads, as we share our experiences with our five senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. Our senses allow us to understand and comprehend more thoroughly. The fresh growth that sprouts from the earth during springtime yields a new beginning for all. The colors evoke images and feelings.
Poetry intertwines and weaves themes that unite us into a shared spirit. Poetry offers us the ability to experience life almost through a sixth sense, of the spirit. Poetry renews and uplifts our life. Translating one’s stance, position, or perspective to another leads to communication of the soul.
Briana Pullen works as a librarian when she is not writing poetry. She enjoys helping patrons in the Los Angeles Public Library system, as well as, at the Redondo Beach Public Library.
by Briana Pullen
I tried to write it,
But my pen forced a stop.
Why do we edit ourselves,
Before we’ve grown our crop?
This is my chance to write
Pen scratches paper an attempt to fight.
Struck on paper; doodling on the side
I look up to the heavens for a guide.
The bird sings a song to me
Inspiration allows me to ride.
Why should hesitation permit me to slide?
The cat’s ears perk
Scribbling ink, to work
But how can I express emotion?
Beams of light come from the sun
I feel so awakened, yet undone
Could it be forgotten, if I neglect?
Will it be told, if I suggest?
Daring to glance at springtime dancing
Petals rise to the sunrays…
How do you greet your days?
Let rhymes smooth and heal
Speak to me, and feel
The glorious spring cleaning
Of the soul!
Gather fruits of your labor
In a Poetry bowl.
Nourish your appetite
Breathe and write
Memoirs, stories, personal accounts
How ‘bout poetry to bounce?
Play with words
Speak from the heart
Paint with your pen
Flourish, cultivate your art
Create, reiterate, and I’ll understand
Pen your work by hand.