The Art of the Written Word

By Catherine Lang-Cline

“Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.”

—Kahlil Gibran

Poetry is a talent that I am always in awe of because it is one that I have no idea how it is assembled to create such emotion, tell amazing stories, and capture a wide range of moods. To begin with a recent example, Amanda Gordon, a young, smart young woman puts together some amazing words to speak at an inauguration. In “The Hill We Climb” I was left breathless as she ended her poem with the words:

“When day comes we step out of the shade,

aflame and unafraid 

The new dawn blooms as we free it

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Another poet that moves me is Rumi:

“The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.”

“Words matter”

“Choose your words wisely”

“Words have power”

This is how we have all heard about words in our lifetime, thinking of the words that we say and the words that we hear and how it affect us and others. This time let’s go beyond that. Think about the power of words in poetry. Find poets that move us and change us. Make time to read the powerful words of artists among us and artists long gone.

Here is an excerpt from “Time” by Joe Massocco

“Tick tock…tick tock…

Life is counting down on your internal clock.

Memories that feel as if they occurred yesterday

turn to flashes of moments that seem to fade away.

People you once knew

walk by without a clue.

The times you once shared

exist as if you were never there.

Years fly…friends die…

and you never know when you’ll say your last goodbye.

Oh, how I wish I could turn back time,

spend it with loved ones and cherish what once was mine.”

There are thousands of poets, easy writers, and written word performers that have mastered words. Rather than scramble for your own words, seek out the talent of others. You can search by keywords or themes, or ask a friend or librarian to recommend a poet. I promise when you find the one that speaks to you, you will be changed.

The caged bird sings   

with a fearful trill   

of things unknown   

but longed for still   

and his tune is heard   

on the distant hill   

for the caged bird   

sings of freedom.”  ~ Maya Angelou

“April is the cruelest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.” ~ T.S. Elliot

Still struggling to find a poet?

Maybe read some lyrics? How many times do we sing along to a song and not really know the words? Read them and enjoy how the artist strung them together to create a mood. Plus, you may find out the lyric Elton John wrote is really is “Hold me closer tiny dancer” instead of “Hold me closer Tony Danza”.

Words matter.

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