Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Ecstasy of Poetry

Christmas shadows by Kathleen Tyler Conklin
It can happen.  Ian McEwan, the writer, has said you can "be so engrossed in reading poetry that you barely know you exist."  He speaks of reading the Elizabeth Bishop poem "Under The Window:Ouro Preto" and being so concentrated and carried away by its images that he found he was unaware that his friends who were with him had left the room.

Not every poem has this power to completely absorb us so that we are lifted to a place outside ourselves. Some do.  I suppose it is the confluence of certain things coming together…our own experiences and the magic of the poetic words sparking to transport us to a moment of ecstasy.
Ewan speaks of the effort it takes to "step out of the daily narrative of existence and to draw the neglected cloak of stillness  around you."  I love this image of drawing the stillness of a poem around us like a cloak. Sadly, we must return to the daily grind of existence.  However, McEwan reminds us that the poem leaves something with us. He suggests it is " a feeling of being lighter, softer, larger. The feeling will leave…but never completely."

So this  winter season, I hope that you will take some time to wrap yourself in the cloak of stillness. 
 May the ecstasy be with you.


  1. Wow, I've never been thrown into ecstasy by a poem -- except perhaps by one of Mark's limericks!

    1. Ha..Ha...I'd say that's more of a painful spasm.

      You have to read a lot, but one day you'll find one that transports you...I promise.