When Poetry is Like Coming Home

turquoise sunrise

It is far too early in the morning, and I haven't gone to bed yet.  There are words whirling through my soul that must be set down, so here I am, setting them down.

Today I remembered that I am a poet.  I tiptoed away to a coffee shop during naptime while my husband stood watch at home, and I drank the very best chai tea that I've ever had, and I remembered that I am a poet.

I don't know when I forgot.  When I was a teenager, I used to pen so many poems.  I don't know that it was true poetry; more of a going through the motions, a practice.  I did not understand myself or what I was feeling or how a poem ought to bleed, but I did it anyway and it felt good.

Maybe I forgot while I was in college, in the midst of earning my degree in (ironically) creative writing.  I still loved to pen-birth tiny glimpses of life onto paper.  Fragments of the sacred mundane -- of betta fish swimming with fins ever unfurling, of the non-sound of falling snow, of madness.  But there seemed to be so many rules, and it hurt when I tried to press my heart-words into molds of "good" and "should."

Maybe that is when I left poetry.

And oh, I have been missing it (I forgot that, too).

Last summer, when my womb was filling with our sweet son and I tried (and, mostly, failed) to keep my heart from filling with fear, I stole into the cool of the library and followed my feet to the poetry section.  I lingered there, savoring the act of selection, dipping in and out of this and that poet's worlds.  When I left the library, it was with arms dripping with books, and it felt like power.  I suddenly felt like a warrioress, that I could do anything, be anything.

Later, I read those books of poetry, drank the words in, and when I returned them to the library I forgot again.

Today, I remembered.  I slipped into that coffee shop and rested there, sipping chai, and pressed my soul to paper.  I birthed poetry for the [almost] first time in so long, and it was exhilarating and glorious and more than a little bit scary.  But it was mostly very, very good, this remembering.

I hope I will not forget again so quickly this time.

Because it feels like coming home.  It feels like destiny or fate or soul's purpose or the Master's plan, whichever you'd like.  It feels right.  It feels like God and my heart and this world all saying yes together.

And I wonder if this blog is tied into that soul-refreshing poetry, too.  Because what else do I do here if not share my experience of those holy, everyday fragments of living?  This blog, it is about the pieces.  And so is poetry.  My kind of poetry, anyway.

I don't know where all this is going.  And all that wanting to know -- the future, my purpose, the meaning, the end -- it is my weakness, my idol.  I am learning (or trying to learn) to be here, to be here now.  It is a hard lesson.

There.  I think I could sleep, now that I've threaded my arm through yours and drawn you close to whisper haltingly of all this blessed, messy wondering.  I feel lighter.

"In a very real sense the artist (male or female) should be like Mary who . . . was obedient to the command. . . .  One does not have to understand to be obedient.  Instead of understanding -- that intellectual understanding which we are so fond of -- there is a feeling of rightness, of knowing, knowing things which we are not yet able to understand."

~ Madeleine L'Engle, Walking On Water (aff. link)

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