“When our trust in politics has run out, when our faith in humanity has run out, art is there to make sense out of chaos.” ~ Janis Ian
Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!
I actually had an entirely different post planned for today that I’d written two weeks ago, celebrating the first female President of the United States. But it was not to be, and the world as I thought I knew it changed on a dime. I’m trying hard to understand and accept, but it is very difficult. I know many of you share my pain, sadness, and disbelief.
So instead, I thought I’d share a poem I stumbled upon last year. Joe Salerno was new to me, and I think you’ll appreciate what he has to say about the nature and power of poetry. When we seek expression of the ineffable, it’s poetry that steps in with words bred of emotion, infused with truth. Poetry sometimes unearths the profound with far reaching consequences.
Spanish writer José Bergamín once said, “The novel is born of disillusionment; the poem, of despair.”
POETRY IS THE ART OF NOT SUCCEEDING
Poetry is the art of not succeeding;
the art of making a little ritual
out of your own bad luck, lighting a little fire
made of leaves, reciting a prayer
in the ordinary dark.
It’s the art of those who didn’t make it
after all; who were lucky enough to be
left behind, while the winners ran on ahead
to wherever it is winners
go running to.
O blessed rainy day, glorious
as a paper bag. The kingdom of poetry
is like this — quiet, anonymous,
a dab of sunlight on the back of your hand,
a view out the window just before dusk.
It’s an art more shadow than statue,
and has something to do with your dreams
running out — a bare branch darkening
on a winter sky, the week-old snow
frozen into something hard.
It’s an art as simple as drinking water
from a tin cup; of loving that moment
at the end of autumn, say, when the air
holds no more promises, and the days are short
and likely to be gray.
A bland light is best to see it in.
Middle age brings it to flower.
And there, just when you’re feeling your
it floods you completely,
leaving you weeping as you drive your car.
~ Posted by permission. Copyright © 1998 Joe Salerno.
Nothing to do now but roll up our sleeves and get to work. No time for despair, self-pity, or blame. Creatives create. Making is the best healing. Make stories, songs, pictures, soup, cookies, poems. Model a world of diversity, inclusion, love, decency, and tolerance for all the children out there. In our own spheres, what we do with purposeful intent can make a difference. Let’s remember to support each other, be generous with our time and advice, always be kind, and “never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”
Now, please leave your links with the always hungry Mr. Linky. Don’t forget to put the name of the poem or book review you’re sharing in parentheses after your name. Thanks for joining us today!
“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” ~ John F. Kennedy
Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.