Giving Thanks to Poetry


Photo by Katherine Emery

I feel lucky to live in the digital age, where unlimited information lies at my fingertips. For a research junkie like myself, it’s heaven.  But often, I feel overwhelmed by the enveloping tsunami of information. Reading often feels reduced to skimming, to wolfing down bytes of data.

To counteract, I’m trying to bring poetry back into my life.  After all, you can’t skim poetry.  I’m fighting the cult of busy through trying to underschedule our family life on the weekends, to simplify when possible, and to create space for poetry.

Poetry asks something from us.  It demands our focus and presence.  Our mind, soul and heart.  And in exchange, poetry gives us so much: joy, insight, beauty, understanding, connection, fulfillment.

Reading poetry is active.  In fact, the origin of the word poetry is “to make or compose”. It’s making meaning, finding beauty and grace in the messy chaos of life.

I have dreams of living a more artistic life, of picking up an instrument, taking some dance classes, even writing a book.  But I realize that right now my music is singing with my kids. It’s lullabies at bedtime. Spontaneous dance parties after dinner.  My poetry is bedtime stories. It’s watching them grow, and the unexpected moments of grace and wonder that can sometimes take my breath away.  And of course the occasional favorite poem.

What’s the poetry in your life?

In the overflowing busyness of life, of work, laundry, making dinners and lunches, of the drop-offs and pick-ups, I’m committing to holding space for poetry. And in the spirit of the season, I’m thankful for poetry, for savoring life and finding meaning in small moments.

In closing, I’d like to share a poem from Ann Betz, a new poet I recently discovered (and one of my coaching instructors):

A Pause

what I want for you?
a pause
the thing you are too busy for
is – forgive me – what I think
you just might need
I only sense this
because there have been
so many times
I’ve kept going myself
despite deep weariness
despite a broken heart
despite the tiny voice inside
crying, ‘this is not my life’
what I want for you?
the courageous pause
that changes



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4 Comments on “Giving Thanks to Poetry”

  1. cherylplotner
    November 30, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    Thanks, Heather, for sharing your insights and for sharing Ann’s poetic reminder.

    • hlspain
      November 30, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

      Thank you, Cheryl! Looking forward to seeing you next weekend.

  2. Candy Puterbaugh
    November 30, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

    I’m glad you pause to write your blog, Heather. I liked your thoughts on poetry and the beautiful poem!

    • hlspain
      December 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

      Thanks, Aunt Candy. And thank you for reading and all your thoughtful comments. xo

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