I didn’t know what it meant and was surpised when I felt tears trailing down my cheeks. I read more that morning in the coffee shop. It was like reading a different language but on some level my soul understood and I felt comfort for the first time in months.
When I returned home, I ordered the book from Amazon. I devoured it, underlining lines and earmarking those poems I wanted to return to again and again. I started feeling better. It was like having a friend who understood what I was going through. I still couldn’t watch t.v., read a novel or find comfort in prayer. But I could read the poems. I decided to try to memorize a few as they calmed my mind as I was attempting to fall asleep at night. Then I started writing them on post-it notes and sticking them on the refrigerator door so I could refer to them during the day. Soon the door was covered in yellow notes full of poems. The healing had begun.
That was years ago and today I have a special bookshelf next to my bed devoted to poetry books, Upstream by Mary Oliver, Ten Poems to Set You Free by Roger Housden, Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins, etc. and the new edition of A Poem A Day, edited by Karen McCosker and Nicholas Albery, to name a few. I understand the poems better now. I trust the feeling that they impart to me. Sometimes they make me cry. Sometimes they make me laugh. It’s all very personal. A poem can mean something entirely different to each person reading it. Sometimes we can’t figure out what is being said. Other times, when the time is right, when we need it the most, the words penetrate our soul. These books of poems are not inanimate ( Webster dictionary: inanimate…not endowed with life or spirit). No, I would say poems are very animated messages and stories that touch our lives and spirits in powerful ways.
The years have passed. I am a widow. I have a dog. Today I enjoy watching t.v. again. I love to read novels. And I pray with a full heart.