Poets are the most unique consequence of any given time. The poet is like a mineral, a product of all the pressure and heat in their environment. The poet is like a piece of jade, a stone in the landscape. —Ai Weiwei. (Courtesy of My friend Rachel Kubie. Happy Birthday Rachel!).
I have a few friends who are accomplished poets such as Anne Woodworth, Dannye Powell, Judy Goldman, and Roger Armbrust, and several who could be if they ever published like Tom Milne and Chris Piazza. I on the other hand, was told by my high school english teacher to give it up before I started. “I lacked the gift,” she said.
My lack of skill doesn’t keep me from enjoying poetry. I agree with Parker Palmer who says, “Poets … have provided life jackets to keep me from drowning, ballast to keep me from ascending to altitudes where there’s not enough oxygen to support life, and maps to keep me from being lost in the wilderness.”
My friend Tom Milne tells me that writing poetry is one of the best forms of therapy he knows. When you feel lost, puzzled, drowning, or can’t breathe consider writing a verse or two. Or if you are like me, pull out you Rumi, Wendell Berry, or Anne Woodworth and lose yourself in a message that you “might have tried to dodge if I’d seen them coming.” (Emily Dickinson).