what did you love as a kid?
Me, as a kid! Before I fell in love with poetry I was really into rollerskating.
For me it was poetry. I can remember being in third grade and writing a poem called "Flowers" in the new cursive I had learned. Soon after, I sat across from two classmates and tried to describe the color of their eyes through a poem. In contemplating them in this way, they both became something other than sweaty boys with tricks up their sleeves. Instead, their eyes were telling me stories that their mouths never could. Such is the magic of poetry.
I had never been in love before so when it happened with poetry I gave it my undivided attention, naturally. While others were working on their arithmetic, I practiced looping my letters in pencil, not yet confident enough for pen. I hid a little journal in my desk that I could pull out when the teacher was off helping other students. I got in trouble. I didn't care.
True love is courageous and bold.
Poetry has the capacity to allow mere clumsy, faulty, hopeful human beings to enter a world where their heart is revered more than their head. In this space, personal experiences and observations can be woven into a sentence of bright light that can then guide another through their own journey. I didn't fully understand it then, and truthfully I still don't, but writing and reading poetry made me feel at home and gave me a lens through which to make sense of the world around me. It brought me close to nature and rooted in me a gentle curiosity. Instead of trying to solve all the problems and know all the answers like we are brought up to do, poetry asks questions. It stays open. It's fluid and gracious.
When I began reading the work of other poets I could feel the time between our lifespans close. I could feel their words circling me and guiding me through the inevitable heartbreak and joy of being a person. I was often humbled and comforted by their passion as I was transported to their cafes, to their gardens, their homes, their hearts. I carried them with me in my backpack as a kid and then eventually my purse with sentences underlined, pages dog-eared, spines all bent. I admired their willingness to go under the skin. How brave, I thought. Pablo Neruda, Rumi, Mary Oliver, Adrienne Rich, Rainer Maria Rilke, Deborah Landau, Mark Nepo. These are the people I have turned to time and time again and their words have raised and strengthened me.
I am so grateful to have fallen in love with this art form when I was a little girl and to have nurtured this passion since those first fiery days of discovering words. Poetry brings a richness and depth to my days that nothing else can. I am certain I will court it for the rest of my life.