I have found Ms. Moore’s statement to be quite true in my life. Poetry is for me a natural medicine; a tool for untangling emotions when I am unable to speak for myself.
It has been like an oxygen tank allowing me to dive far deeper into feelings of pain, sorrow, betrayal, rage, joy, confusion, eroticism, ecstasy, or simple romance than I ever could on my own; and surface wiser.
Words woven together as poems, odes, sonnets or soliloquies, have many times over, been the balm to soothe the burn of a wound so deep I couldn’t find my own words or the fire I needed to overcome a situation deemed by others to be impossible.
The most powerful one I can recall is Funeral Blues by W. H. Auden, written in 1938. It was sent to me after our first son’s funeral, by an older cousin who knew me quite well. He knew me be to older in spirit than those around me believed. It voiced everything I was unable to scream. The fucking thing knew my heart; understood what I would never say out loud.
Many may know it from the movie, Four Weddings and a Funeral. I absorbed it at eighteen years old – far too young to dance with death and be able to recount the steps.
I wish that all would fall in love with poetry and discover its magical power to address that which is wrong within.
I could never, ever imagine a world without poetry or music (which is simply poetry to melody for me).
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.