Poetry as Spiritual Practice

I have been known to say that poetry is my religion.  By this I mean that through the writing and reading of poetry, I feel connected to the creative force that dwells within all of us.  What that is, I think, is quite individual – each of us experiences God, spirit, or what we consider divine wisdom, in a different way.

I’m pretty sure there is a poem in this photo, though I have yet to write it.

As I mature and my spirituality deepens, I find that poetry and writing still bring me that feeling of connectedness, but only to one facet of the spiritual experience.  Poetry gives a voice to emotions.  It is a way to be with feelings, images, experiences.  There is no need, in poetry, to extrapolate or draw conclusions (though many try to do just that – not a useful approach to poetry in my opinion, either for the reader or the writer).

When I write a poem, it is usually about an emotionally charged subject.  If I am working with an image – a leaf, or a rusty truck, or an open door – it represents something much more than the simple, everyday object I’m describing.  That mundane and familiar thing is a stepping-off point, an opportunity to go deeper.  In writing poetry, I’m not wallowing in my emotions or being hysterical; rather, I’m settling in and examining.  I’m seeing something clearly, both for what it is and what it represents.

Spiritual practice as a discipline is much broader: it is holistic; it is looking forward, integrating, improving, and being.  Poetry is simply the truth, the being.  The seeing what is, and trying to find the right language to say it.  That is all.


One thought on “Poetry as Spiritual Practice

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