As soon as you hear National Poetry Day, some of you may flinch a little, thinking ‘oh for Pete’s sake, a poetry day? Do we really need a national day to celebrate poetry?’
I would say yes, more so now than ever. The fact is, poetry is not for the faint-hearted or wishy-washy. Poetry is not a woman in a patchwork sewn cape staring at daffodils wearing colourful cheap jewelry who you imagine might make a good zucchini loaf.
No, my friend, poetry is the synthesis of our deepest life, the hidden sorrows that quietly rip through you while you eat a sandwich at work and try to keep your life together.
Poetry is the moment—the only moment—captured as if the poet held your own heart, like a spear of lightning in his or her hand, not minding that it’s shredding open their skin, caving in their hearts or keeping them up at 3 am. It’s not a magic trick or a reading at a local library to small children or red roses tucked into a Hallmark card—it’s an act of courage, defiance even, to snatch the electric emotion out of thin air and transcribe it, with all its burning or tender or dying life and deliver it like a pure child to the universe.
Poetry is our defence against a shallow world spinning itself towards a crash landing. Poetry is our respite, a quite breath, a gentle tug into the sacred, into a kind of wisdom we had all along, that longed to look to a sparse page with black letters and be saved.