The Chinese character for poetry is made up of two parts, “word” and “temple.”*
Let us enter the sacred word temple of poetry. Let us be housed by holy words.
What makes a poem holy?
The care it took to select each word like a stone, carve it to a perfect fit with other word-stones.
The mastery to shape phrases, images, metaphors that strike, move, tantalize, challenge, even confound.
The precision to stack these carved words into a poem, so that it stands as a singular temple.
The attention to calculate the architecture of the poem—its line breaks, line lengths, stanza breaks, form, its flow through the rooms—“stanza” means room in Italian. To hollow out with words a hallowed space.
In all this care and careful craft, we are invited into sanctuary, the breathing presence, awe.
Each poem that is made with true care is a word temple, a temple made of words and a temple to language, expression, communication, art.
Poetry invites our wonder, deep feeling, delight, recognition, pain.
Poetry gifts us with beauty, the grace of a carefully-made thing, unique expression, honesty, reflection. It gifts us with art, and that is, or at least can be, sacred.
Let us enter the word temple of poetry.
Let us approach the poem with reverence, inner quiet, our senses alert for the Presence of the Beyond.
In some poems we may be disappointed, as in some churches, we are left without a feeling of the Sacred. But let us come with that hope and yearning with which we approach God or a sacred grove.
Let us let ourselves be permeated by the poem, each cell absorbing the words, images, sounds, feelings, ideas.
Let us let ourselves be wounded by poetry and also healed, approaching with such open hearts, minds and bodies that we can be pierced by the poem’s clear seeing and deep feeling.
We can be upset by its provocations. We can be lifted by its hot-air-balloon joy or rent open by its pure grief. We can be dissolved by its truth.
Let us enter the word temple of poetry and worship there together.
To your poetic heart,
*I learned this inspiring fact from Copper Canyon Press, a leading publisher of exceptional poetry in the United States, whose logo is the Chinese character for poetry.
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P.P.S. If you would like to engage in one-on-one mentorship with me to craft extraordinary poems or other writing/creations of your own, my creativity mentoring may be for you. In April, for National Poetry Month, I’m offering 20% off on my mentoring packages.