In Honor of National Poetry Month

Did you know April is National Poetry month? I didn't either until a few days ago. 

Back in the day, I used to write a lot of poetry. Long before I ever found the courage to write a novel, I used poetry as an outlet for my feelings. And boy, did I have a lot of feelings back then. Feelings I really didn't know what to do with so I splattered them on the page.

The poems touch upon a variety of topics; unrequited love (all my love was unrequited back then), war, social justice, whimsy, God. I was very religious until my late twenties, and I pursued religious truth passionately because if I was going to give over my life to God, it had to make some sense, I had to understand it to the best of my ability.

I'm an atheist now, so that should tell you how that went. But that's a subject for another post.

During my senior year of high school, we studied the Shakespearean sonnet, and boy, that was a form of poetry I could get behind. All that structure! The couplet at the end! Iambic pentameter! I find my creativity needs a structure to flourish, whether it's pre-defined or I construct it myself. I don't do well with unstructured creativity–all that freedom leads me astray. Must be my Catholic upbringing.

I wrote a lot of sonnets after that. And I snagged my husband with a personal ad that began with Shakespeare's sonnet #130: My mistress's eyes are nothing like the sun…

I owe a lot to the Shakespearean sonnet, yes I do.

In honor of National Poetry Month, I offer you Sonnet #3, by Holly West:

Blindness is a trait of humanity
A condition that seems to come and go.
We only see the things we want to see
And we only learn what we want to know.
What does it take to see the sad man smile?
We turn away from those whose hopes have died.
If we could only stop for a short while,
And look about us, blind eyes open wide.
Those whose eyes were born blinded to the light
Can often see better than those who aren't.
They do not seem to need the gift of sight–
The see not with their eyes, but with their hearts.
  Blindness is our own human tragedy;
  Not enough men are born able to see. 

I'm not sure how old I was when I wrote this, but I couldn't have been much older than 18. One of the most interesting things about reading my old poetry is comparing the young me to the older me. In so many ways I haven't changed much.

Do you write poetry? If so, share it with me!

Holly West

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