What is percolation? Enjoy the world’s poets | Columns

“Poetry is about joy, pain and wonder, with a hint of the dictionary.” -Khalil Gibran

“I would define, in short, the poetry of words as the rhythmic creation of Beauty.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“When power leads man to arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limits. When power restricts man’s domain of concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleans.” – John F. Kennedy

These are some of my favorite quotes about poetry. I’ve always been in love with words and have been an avid reader ever since I can remember. My love of the written and spoken word in all its forms led me to complete my major in English with a concentration in communications. As is apparent from my hobby of writing this weekly column for The Herald, I enjoy writing (and a big thank you to those of you who choose to read these words).

My love of writing is so great that I started my own journal when I was in elementary school. Since my mom ran a preschool at home, I had access to a good old-fashioned mimeograph machine, where you create a carbon and then make copies. I hand-wrote the journal I named “The Medlin Message” (since I attended Medlin Elementary School) with the help of my best friend Melissa, even drawing a comic strip.

I then took an early morning journalism class in high school and served as editor of our Roanoke Rapids High School newspaper called The Sting, as well as our yearbook committee. This passion continued in college when I took more journalism courses and worked my way up from reporter to editor to editor of my college newspaper, printing a newspaper every week.

In particular, I like poetry, not only reading poetry but also writing it. I’ve been writing poems ever since I understood what poetry was. I have copies of poems (simply collections of rhyming words) that I wrote in pencil on grade school paper with the broad lines we learned to write on. I often wrote poems to my parents as gifts on special occasions like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I continued to write poems about my joys and sorrows and observations on life as I grew up.

I faced my teenage angst, wrote tributes to my crushes, and explored my ideas about the world. One of my best friends in high school once gave me a wonderful gift by taking several of my handwritten scribbles, typing them out, and compiling them into a scrapbook. I have written poems throughout my adult life. I still love poetry and writing, although I don’t write as often as I would like. One day, maybe, I’ll print a book of poetry, just for me.

I always turn to the daydreams of my favorite poets when seeking inspiration and the application of beauty to some of life’s ugliness. I would like to encourage you, if you haven’t read any poems lately, to re-read familiar poems and discover new poets. I will now stop writing to leave you with the wonderful words of some of my most beloved poems:

“You can write me in history With your bitter and twisted lies, You can trample me underfoot in the very dirt But still, like dust, I will rise. Does my impertinence bother you? Why are you Assailed you with sadness Because I walk like I have oil wells pumping in my living room Just like the moons and like the suns, With the certainty of the tides, Just like the hopes that spring, Yet I will rise Did you want to see me broken? Head bowed and eyes down? Shoulders falling like tears, Weakened by my soulful cries? Does my arrogance offend you? Don’t take it too badly ‘Cause I’m laughing like I’m Had gold mines to dig in my own backyard You can shoot me with your words, You can cut me with your eyes, You can kill me with your hate, But still, like the air, I will raise…” — Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise”

“Do not enter softly into this good night, old age should burn and rave at the end of the day; Rage, rage against the death of light. Though wise men at their end know that darkness is right, Because their words flashed no lightning, they Don’t go softly into that good night Good men, the last wave by, shouting how bright Their fragile deeds could have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against death of light. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learned, too late, that they saddened it on its way, Enter not softly into this good night. Grave men, close to death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes might blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the death of light And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse me, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Don’t go softly into this good night. Rage, rage against the death of light. – Dylan Thomas, “Don’t Go Easy on That Good Night”

“Well, son, I’ll tell you: life for me has not been a crystal staircase. There were tacks in it, And splinters, And torn boards, And uncarpeted spots on the floor – Bare. But all the time I climbed on it, And I reached the landing, And I turned corners, And sometimes I went in the dark Where there was no light. So man, don’t look back. Don’t sit on the steps Because you find it more difficult. Don’t fall now – ‘Cause I’m still going, honey, I’m still climbing, And life for me hasn’t been a crystal staircase. – Langston Hughes, “Mother to Son”

“Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to remember. Her first leaf is a flower; But only an hour. Then leaf turns to leaf. So Eden sank in grief, So Dawn sets over the day Nothing Gold Can Stay – Robert Frost, “No Gold Can Stay”

Christina Wells lives in Halifax with her husband, Bruce, their dog, Sunny, and their cat, Quigley.

Christina Wells lives in Halifax with her husband, Bruce, their dog, Sunny, and their cat, Quigley.

About Christopher Rodgers

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