The Hiddenness of Poems

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footprint photo by Josh Scholten

I’ll tell you a secret: poems hide.
In the bottoms of our shoes, they are sleeping.
They are the shadows drifting across our ceilings the moment before we wake up.
What we have to do is live in a way that lets us find them.
Naomi Shihab Nye

 

Poems were hidden from me for decades.  I was oblivious a hundred times a day to their secrets: dripping right over me in the shower,  rising over hills bright pink, tucked under a toadstool, breathing deeply as I auscultated a chest,  unfolding with each blossom, settling heavily on my eyelids at night.

The day I awoke to them was the day thousands of innocents died in sudden cataclysm of airplanes and buildings and fire — people not knowing when they got up that day it would be their last.  And such taking of life happens again and again; our world weeps.

Suddenly poems show themselves. I begin to see, listen, touch, smell, taste as if each day would be my last.
I have learned to live in a way that lets me see through the hiddenness and now it overwhelms me.  Poems are everywhere when I look.

And I don’t know if I have enough time left to write them all down.

 

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8 thoughts on “The Hiddenness of Poems

  1. And that may be (between you and me) one of the few things worth retiring for (writing poems and more). Just one question– are your feet longfellows?

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  2. borrowing from the “big name” here, but…just do it! HE has given all the gifts we have, and wants us to share them. every good thing comes from Him, and it surely pleases Him when we share the beauty of our thoughts with the world. i love and am blessed by your words each time i open this blog, blessed more with everyone’s comments. i am invited to ponder, examine, change, grow and share. just doing it for as long as He has given me.

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  3. It has been only in the past ten years or so that I began to read poetry. I found that listening to a poem being read makes such a difference in my understanding of it. A talented speaker’s cadence makes the author’s intended message more understandable to my untrained ear..

    It occurs to me that poets are exceptionally courageous people because they share their soul thoughts with others – complete strangers for the most part. The poet then becomes vulnerable. And that can be uncomfortable. Most people prefer to keep their intimate thoughts and feelings to themselves, not always out of a sense of privacy, but fearful that they may be misunderstood or held to ridicule.

    Perhaps some poets to not realize it so readily, but in sharing their soul thoughts in such an intimate way they are helping others to realize that they, too, have similar thoughts and fears, and a unique vision. What a blessing that this becomes — to realize that at least one other person sees and can define things as they do.

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