The Poetry That No One Ever Sees

Poetry is everywhere.

If you’ve ever lovingly described something, then as far as I’m concerned, you are a poet. Granted, some people are better poets than others. We can’t all be Amanda Gorman, after all.

There is poetry everywhere. Poetry is in the stories that we tell that are unique to each one of us. It is in the way we choose to dress, the flowers we plant, the colors we paint our walls, and the love and care we give our family, friends, and pets. Quite often, there is even poetry in silence.

The poetry in silence is vastly different than the poetry that is silenced. The first is voluntary, and the second is an unacknowledged loss that we all are complicit in perpetuating, consciously or unconsciously, every single day.

If there is a woman in your life, then chances are you are missing out on a lot of poetry. We women are often not heard, not acknowledged, or utterly discounted. I can’t speak for everyone, but after a while, it seems like too much effort to even try to express myself. And if I do put my foot down, if I do raise my voice or insist that the conversation continue, I’m aggressive, crazy, hysterical, and/or loud.

Those who have the great misfortune to live under an oppressive regime, and those whose countries are being invaded by oppressive outsiders, have poetry so beautiful in its unbloomed truth and horror that the rest of us could never come close to composing it. There is no time for words when you are fighting for your freedom, and even fewer words get spoken if you’ve resigned yourself to your fate. Your voice has a right to be heard. No one has the right to cut it short.

If there is a child in your life, that child is brimming with poetry of one kind or another. Children should be both seen and heard. This isn’t Victorian England. Sadly, in this fast-paced world, we often don’t take the time to listen. Children can be wise, but they’re rarely taken seriously.  Every time they’re impatiently silenced, they are taught that it’s better to keep their poetry inside.

If there is an older person or an overweight person in your life, it’s a fairly safe bet that that person feels practically invisible. I happen to tick both boxes, and I can tell you that my sentences often go half spoken. What, after all, is the point, if one isn’t even being seen? By rendering people invisible in this way, we are missing out on a lot of poetry that is teeming with life experience and survival skills. These things matter.

If there is a person of color in your life, or a member of the LGBTQ community, or a disabled individual, then that person has a lot of poetic insight and perspective to impart, but that poetry is ripped up by society. It is burned, twisted into a threat, and oftentimes used against them, to the point where they find it safer to remain silent. This is a tragic loss, because they have beautiful, loving, unique, and intelligent things to say, and we would all benefit from that poetic diversity, if ever we allowed it into our world.

If there is a man in your life who is supposed to be a leader, supposed to be in charge, supposed to have it all figured out, and is never, ever supposed to cry, then rest assured he is holding quite a lot of stuff back. If only he hadn’t been taught that he must be the strong, silent type.

Every worker who is exploited by an employer and prevented from forming a union, every voter who is prevented from voting, every person who has been so politically manipulated that they cannot think for themselves, and every person who bubbles with rage has poetry within that is desperate to get out. I sometimes walk down the street and look at the people walking past me. I wonder what poetry they are holding deep inside themselves that no one has ever seen. It’s like there’s a secret garden within everyone’s mind, and each garden hides aromatic golden flowers that are longing to see the light of day.

There is profound poetry in the outrage, frustration, sadness, disappointment, and sometimes even joy that is expressed by tears. I’ve never understood why so many (men in particular) view crying as a weakness or a form of manipulation. In most cases, it’s actually a release of extremely deep emotion that has most likely been long suppressed. There’s strength in that. There’s poetry in it.

It is important to be mindful of heretofore unseen or unacknowledged poetry. It’s rewarding to take the time to listen to, and learn from, those around you. It’s as beautiful to see as it is to be seen. There is poetry, too, in that.

Check this out, y’all. I wrote a book!


Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

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