Merriam-Webster defines poetry as writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm. Thank you MW, except that means nothing to me. Funny that something described as downright melodic reads like instructions for an Ikea bookcase assembly. This won’t do at all. If the mere mention of poetry is a buzz kill for you, I implore you, no – I challenge you to read this entire column. Let’s talk poems, shall we?
I found poetry just like every other tween in the free world does. I met Emily Dickinson. I refuse to say I read Emily Dickinson, because to read her is to feel her very heart beating in your hands. Oh the angst! Oh, my little tween heart! Much like those beautiful Bronte sisters, Emily did more than rhyme words. She created a new language, one where up or down didn’t necessarily matter. She took all of the bad things, the scary things, the unimaginable things, and used them as windows, ladders, and running legs. She escaped. And, she invited us all along. Yet, she remained a mysterious enigma, ever her intent. Upon her death, over 1800 poems were discovered within her hand sewn books. In regard to being a poet, Emily Dickinson remained staunchly uninterested. She once described her role by saying, “My business is to love. My business is to sing.” Her poems were nothing more than dictionaries for the heart. “Hope is the thing with feathers. That perches in the soul. And sings the tune without the words. And never stops at all.” That’s my kind of hope.
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