World Poetry Day March 21st
Founded by UNESCO in 1999, World Poetry Day is a red-letter day in the literary diary. Set up to recognize the international poetry movement it is a day to celebrate the joy of prose.
Using rhythms and imagery to stimulate imagination and emotions, poetry can be written in many forms. Poetry is in fact all around us. For example, the lyrics used with music and the use of poetry in advertising.
One of my favorites being ‘The currency of kindness’ by Jo Bell.
Not only is poetry all around us it is also inclusive. We are introduced to simple poetry during childhood in the form of nursery rhymes. These often date back centuries.
Consider ‘Ring around the Rosie’ an English folksong and playground singing game. This first appeared in print in 1881.
The ring refers to the round, red rash that is the first symptom of the plague.
A pocket full of posies refers to the practice of placing flowers around the infected person.
Sadly, we all fall down refers to the high death rate.
Ashes to Ashes – cremation of the infected person.
This is all very sad. However, not all poetry is sad. There are many uplifting poems of love and devotion, courage and bravery, Joy and hope.
My contribution to World Poetry Day this year is a poem I wrote some time ago while sailing with my husband on our narrowboat down the beautiful Trent and Mersey canal. This is one of a collection of poems I have been working on for a number of years called My Autumn Almanac.
Hand firmly on the tiller
Reminiscing her maiden voyage.
Time of anticipation, excitement, love.
Making memories – now at risk of destruction
She holds the tiller tight.
Creaking solid gates, heavy like her heart
Snap shut, closing out the world
Trapped between a green, fur-lined brick chamber
Twenty – two tons of steel, sink into her abyss
Yet still! The boat floats in the shallows.
This is where she is. In the shallows, holding back her tears.
Though her heart weeps, her eyes are dry
The sun tries hard to please her
Drying the salty sweat from her palms.
She holds the tiller tight.
Overhead the yellow body of a cargo plane
Cuts the blue and white
Disturbed clouds will not release their tears
Searching for her white amongst her blue
Makes for weariness of bone
Above the noise of creaking gate
She hears a distant sound
Children’s laughter igniting the air
Her babies spring to mind.
When she herself, once young and free
Was not enslaved by doubt
Like curtains in the opening scene
The gates slowly part.
Out she breathes then inhales
As blood pumps through her racing heart
Once more her spirit rises as the phoenix from the fire
Boys on bikes race above on the bridge of hope
Laughter, screaming abandonment, joy.
The tiller in her hand stays strong
She controls the rudder, her direction her journey
Once more she enters the light
A future of possibilities on the river of life.