Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Poetry in (e)motion

Today it occurred to me that I haven't written a song or a poem in a long, long time.

Aside from an occasional silly haiku or limerick — which doesn't really count — it's been well over a decade since I've written anything other than prose.

The last several years have been taken up with lots of academic writing (and a little blogging). Currently I have some other writing projects percolating — but all prose, no poetry.

I seem to have relegated poetry to my past, like well-loved jeans that no longer fit.

Some of that is good and right. As a teenager, I poured every hope and dream and fear onto paper, writing poems and song lyrics that were filled with teen drama and angst.

If I came across them today, I would blush with shame and embarrassment at their raw display of hormone-driven emotion... not to mention the wild imagination that had me picturing myself as a singer/songwriter with Something To Say.

I'm glad I went through that time. I think it gives me compassion and understanding for the young adults in my life. But I'm really glad I've grown less emotionally volatile, and have moved on from needing to express myself in that way.

At the same time, I wonder if I've lost something.

David wrote psalms throughout his life. If ever there was a singer/songwriter who exposed his heart, David was it. And he truly had something to say.

Maybe I just need a new subject.



  1. Pam, OK here goes.

    I understand where you're coming from with the "poetry is part of my past, but not really for now" theme to this post, but here's another thought, perhaps another way of looking at it:

    What if SOME kinds of poetic expression are just part of a phase -- the teenage angst, "my gosh I think I'm so in love right now" or "I hate my parents; they just don't understand" kinds -- but then other kinds flow from a heart that delights in expressing itself poetically?

    I think there are certain people who have been gifted with an extraordinary ability to versify any and everything in life-- whether on the subject of emotions, stirring sights, even the most mundane elements of life like what they had for breakfast or the way a pet moves across the room.

    I believe strongly that the ability to harness that gift of poetry -- a life lived poetically, even -- is one of the most beautiful ways to glorify God. HE gave that gift, and I have to believe USING it makes him smile... just like it does when an athlete runs his race to the best of his ability, or a musician writes a song, or a chef cooks a delicious meal.

    Maybe you DO just need a new subject. :)

  2. Thanks, Rachel, for your thoughtful comment.

    It used to be that poems and song lyrics just flowed out of me, almost as if they had a will of their own. I think the last one I worked on was called "Matt at 12." It remains half-written.

    With a lower academic demand this year, who knows... maybe the poetry will return.


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