Poetry is such a fine doorway to the realms of that which is difficult to speak about. Here are some of my personal favourites.
Anyone Can Sing
Anyone can sing. You just open your mouth,
and give shape to a sound. Anyone can sing.
What is harder, is to proclaim the soul,
to initiate a wild and necessary deepening:
to give the voice broad, sonorous wings
of solitude, grief, and celebration,
to fill the body with the echoes of voices
lost long ago to bravery, and silence,
to prise the reluctant heart wide open,
to witness defeat, to suffer contempt,
to shrink, lose face, go down in ignominy,
to retreat to the last dark hiding-place
where the tattered remnants of your pride
still gather themselves around your nakedness,
to know these rags as your only protection
and yet still open – to face the possibility
that your innermost core may hold nothing at all,
and to sing from that – to fill the void
with every hurt, every harm, every hard-won joy
that staves off death yet honours its coming,
to sing both full and utterly empty,
alone and conjoined, exiled and at home,
to sing what people feel most keenly
yet never acknowledge until you sing it.
Anyone can sing. Yes. Anyone can sing.
– William Ayot
The way it is
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change
People wonder about what you are pursuing
You have to explain about the thread
But it is hard for others to see
While you hold it you can’t get lost
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
– William Stafford