Even though I’ve been writing poems for over twenty years, I’ve never truly understood why poetry is the genre I love. The form isn’t popular and usually not a best-seller. However, writing poetry comes as natural to me as breathing; I love expressing my thoughts in this way and I know I’ll be writing poems until I die.
I left this mystery of why poetry alone until, one night, I was listening to my favorite radio show, “On Being,” and the poet being interviewed said people who are highly sensitive to their own emotions and the emotions of others often love poetry and musicals as such things act as containers for the strong emotions such people experience. By writing or singing out what we feel, our emotions are processed and we create a place to leave them – like being able to store our grief or joy in a jar.
Perhaps this is what writing is for nearly all creative writers – a way to process our inner worlds and to express what we otherwise cannot say. Maybe by writing out our hearts in this way, we can also open up space for others to express those emotions when they read our words. I hope this is what I’m able to do. I hope I’m able to write the words others can read and say “That’s what I feel too!” enabling them to process those emotions along with me.
This poem is one I wrote when I had to get an emotion down on paper before getting down to my “real” work. I liked how it turned out, though, and my editors agreed so it’s being included in the next book.
If I Could
If I could reach out
and touch you,
I’d stretch out my fingers
knowing now what a gift you are.
If I could speak words
and know you hear me,
I’d beg your forgiveness
for thinking for one second
love was not there.
If I could be in your company
and see the look in your eyes
telling me you know the depth of soul,
I would wrap my arms around you
and hold you tightly to myself
as if to never let you go.