April is National Poetry month. so I thought it would be a great time to talk about poetry. Poetry is a type of literature that is often written to evoke a specific emotional response from the reader. This is accomplished through language and the way it is arranged, rhyme, meter or number of beats on a line, and rhythm.

Some of the earliest literature was poetry. It was originally written as ways to relay the story of the gods and for religious rites. But over time, the purpose of poetry has evolved. By the time Sappho, the ancient Greek poet from the 6th century BC, was writing, poetry had already changed and was accompanied by music. It was a way to communicate feelings of love and loss. Poetry also varies in length from epics such as Homer’s 15,693 line Iliad to short two line epigrams.

I think the reason so many people are put off by poetry is that it can be abstract or confusing. Some even say it is boring or that they do not like it. But these general statements really do not identify the problem they are having. Poetry requires a different type of reading. It is best read aloud, even to yourself. It is not like a novel where you can read it and be done with it after one read. Poetry requires more than that. You need to read it, take it in, work to understand the metaphors or language. Poetry is best read with an air of self-reflection, with thoughtfulness, and with patience. Sometimes it takes four or five reads to see what is meant and in some cases, knowing the context of when it was written or about the life of the poet who wrote it can provide insight. Reading poetry is not a passive activity, but it is a rewarding one, particularly when we want to engage with the written word in a more nuanced or deeper way. This month on our social media accounts, I will be posting a new poem each day. 

I will leave you with one of my favorite poems by Robert Burns, “A Red, Red Rose.”

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only
Luve,And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it ware ten thousand mile.

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