As I sat on the basement floor and rifled through the old cardboard box, I sniffed and wiped the tears on my cheek away with my shirt sleeve. My search had not been that long but it felt like forever. I flipped past notebook after notebook, hoping to find the one I needed the most.
I groaned and pushed the box to the side and stood up to pull down another from the shelf. My insides twisted with life’s pain that demanded release in the best way I knew how – by writing out the agony. I opened the next box and breathed a sigh of relief as my gaze fell on black notebook nestled inside. It was one of those cheap spiral notebooks I got for less than a dollar, but it meant the world to me because it is where I penned poetry to purge my emotions and find some solace through my writing.
Writing poetry is a creative and expressive form of self-expression that has numerous benefits for both the poet and the readers. Whether you're writing for yourself or others, poetry can help you to process emotions and express your ideas and opinions on various topics artistically. It helps us to explore our inner thoughts and feelings in a unique medium. Writing poetry often allows us to access parts of ourselves that we may have kept hidden away. We can use words to bring forth emotions that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to express. And if you’ve never attempted to write poetry, dismissing it as a writing form that doesn’t speak to you or one you don’t know how to do, it’s much less intimidating than you think
In many ways, writing poetry is an act of self-love: I’m investing time into something that makes me feel connected to my inner self – something that needs nourishing care.
In honor of April being National Poetry Month, here are some ways poetry can help us grow and heal. We’ll explore the art of writing spiritual poetry and how poetry is intrinsic to how Islam is conveyed, and why you may want to try your hand at writing a poem, even if just for yourself.
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Emotional expression: Poetry provides a means for writers to express their emotions, thoughts and experiences in a unique and artistic way. It can be a cathartic outlet for processing and conveying complex emotions, such as joy, sorrow, love and anger, allowing the poet to explore their inner world and gain a deeper understanding of their emotions.
Creativity and imagination: Writing poetry encourages creativity and imagination, as poets use language and imagery to create vivid and evocative descriptions. It allows writers to play with words, experiment with different styles and forms, and stretch their creative boundaries, fostering a sense of imagination and innovation.
Personal growth: Poetry writing can be a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. It requires introspection, self-reflection and self-awareness as poets delve into their thoughts and experiences to create meaningful and authentic poems. It can lead to increased self-understanding, self-expression and self-acceptance, promoting personal growth and self-development.
Communication and connection: Poetry is a form of communication that can foster connection and understanding between people. Poets use words to convey their thoughts and emotions, and readers can relate to their poems, finding solace, empathy and resonance in their words.
Poetry can create a sense of community, spark conversations, and bridge gaps between different cultures, ages, and backgrounds. I found belonging to a poetry group in college, sharing my work with my fellow poets and listening to theirs to be an incredible way to bond with people. People can also bond through poetry groups and online forums throughout adulthood.
Mindfulness: Poetry writing can be a meditative and mindful practice. It requires focused attention, deep observation and being present in the moment, allowing writers to cultivate mindfulness and mindfulness as they connect with their thoughts, feelings and surroundings.
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Therapeutic benefits: Writing poetry can have therapeutic benefits for the poet. It can be a form of self-care, self-expression and emotional release. Poets can explore different parts of themselves that they may not ordinarily access through writing poetry. Poetry allows one to let go of what's been weighing them down and express it in a creative way that is both freeing and cathartic.
Writing poetry also helps us better understand ourselves by providing insight into our inner thoughts and feelings. It also encourages us to explore difficult topics without fear or judgment, which can be incredibly healing for many struggling with mental health issues such as depression.
When I write poetry, it allows me to sift through life's trauma and struggles. It can be incredibly therapeutic to explore my experiences safely and creatively without having to worry about how it may be received by outside eyes. I'm also compelled to examine the beauty of life through poetry, discovering its complexities and sharing it with the world.
Artistic expression: Poetry is a form of artistic expression, allowing writers to create something beautiful and unique. It provides an outlet for artistic expression, where poets can experiment with different styles, forms, and techniques, and share their creativity with the world.
Spiritual Poetry & Its Connection with Faith
Poetry can be deeply spiritual, as it can express profound and mystical experiences that go beyond the material world. Many poets throughout history have used poetry as a means of exploring and expressing their spiritual beliefs, experiences and insights.
Spiritual poetry often reflects on the divine, the transcendent and the ineffable aspects of existence, inviting readers to contemplate the mysteries of life and connect with a higher power or reality. It can explore themes such as love, faith, beauty, truth, and transcendence, evoking a sense of wonder and awe. Spiritual poetry can also offer guidance and inspiration for living a meaningful and purposeful life, encouraging readers to cultivate virtues such as compassion, gratitude, humility and mindfulness. It can provide solace and comfort in times of hardship and uncertainty, reminding the poetry writer and readers of the soul's eternal nature and the universe's ultimate goodness.
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Many religious and spiritual traditions have a rich tradition of poetry, such as Sufi poetry in Islam, bhakti poetry in Hinduism, Zen poetry in Buddhism and hymns and psalms in Christianity. These poems often convey the essence of the spiritual path, the nature of the divine, and the relationship between the human and the divine.
Poetry has played a significant role in the Sufi tradition, as it allows for expressing spiritual insights and experiences in a lyrical and evocative way.
Sufi poets often use the metaphor of the beloved to represent the divine, expressing the longing for union with the divine as a form of romantic love. The beloved can be seen as both the ultimate reality and the path to attaining that reality, inviting the reader to embark on a spiritual transformation and purification journey.
Rumi is one of the most well-known Sufi poets, whose works have profoundly impacted the literary and spiritual worlds. Rumi's poetry explores love, devotion, spiritual awakening and the search for meaning and purpose in life. He often used metaphors, allegories and stories to convey spiritual truths and insights.
Rumi's poems are characterized by their mystical and ecstatic qualities, as they express the experience of spiritual longing, union with the divine, and the dissolution of the self in the presence of the beloved. His poetry has been translated into many languages and has become widely popular worldwide.
Spiritual poetry can be a source of inspiration, wisdom and beauty, inviting readers to explore the depths of their souls and connect with something greater than themselves. It can be a powerful spiritual growth and transformation tool, allowing readers to access their innermost truths and connect with the sacred within and around them.
Grab a Pen and Get Poetical!
Ready to start writing your own poetry? Here are a few tips to get started:
Find inspiration: Look for inspiration in your daily life, in nature, in art, in literature or in your own experiences and emotions. Pay attention to the details, the emotions, and the images that strike you.
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Choose a form: Decide on the form of your poem. There are many different forms, such as sonnets, haikus, free verse, or rhyming couplets. Each form has its rules and conventions (or lack thereof), which can help guide your writing.
Create a mood: Consider the mood or tone you want to convey in your poem. Do you want it to be romantic, melancholic, playful or serious? The tone of your poem will influence the language, imagery and structure you use.
Play with language: Experiment with language, playing with words, sounds, and rhythms. Use metaphors, similes, alliteration and other literary devices to create vivid and memorable images.
Revise and edit: Once you have written your first draft, revise and edit your poem. Look for ways to improve your ideas' flow, clarity, and coherence. Eliminate any unnecessary words or lines and tighten up the structure of your poem.
Writing poetry is a personal and creative process, so don't be afraid to experiment and have fun with it. Keep writing and exploring your voice; you will develop your unique style and perspective.
Unlock the power of your spiritual and faith-ful life by writing poetry. This creative outlet can help you connect with your innermost thoughts and emotions, bringing clarity to your spiritual journey. Whether you share what you write or not, poetry can be a beautiful release of expression and a gift you give yourselves.
Who are your favorite poets? Have you ever tried writing poetry yourself? Share with us in the comments below!