Poetry. A six-letter word that sparks fear in the hearts of many. And, so it should, when poems are written with little thought or meaning, or when their language soars so high above the heads of average readers that their very lines have to be analyzed for clarity. But, given both thought and meaning, there is no more elegant or poignant way of expressing one’s emotions of love and caring, of joy, grief and more, than in a poem.
While at times it appears that poetry is dead, those of us who love it for what it is know that it just sleeps from time to time, until it is awakened by someone like 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate, whose lines in “The Hill We Climb” ring so clear that they need no special analyzing but can be understood for what they are: a young woman’s feelings, and everything that was on her mind during the moments her words were falling onto the page. That clarity—and the fact that everyone who heard Amanda read her poem at the inauguration of President Biden was able to relate to its message in one way or another—is what makes it, and any poem with meaning, beautiful.
Although poetry takes a backseat to other genres, it should actually be at the head of the class. How utterly silent our world would be if not for songs with meaningful lyrics that flood our airwaves day and night! How bored would our young people be if they couldn't get “rapped” up in the lyrics of their favorite musical artists? Or, how many times have you stood at a counter, looking for just the right greeting card, with just the right verse, to send to a loved one? All signs of poets working behind the scenes…
Fortunately, poetry is awake and surviving in Peoria, especially within the Peoria Poetry Club, which is celebrating its 80th year in 2021. Despite the current pandemic, the club’s family of poets is staying in touch by way of email, looking forward to the time when we can resume meeting in person. Until then, we continue to observe and write from our hearts:
Devotion Times Two
He forgets the number of their room
and needs to be told
that he has already taken her back there;
yet, three times a day,
he wheels her down the corridor
to their designated dining table;
removes the straight-backed chair
that occupies her space at the square;
and pushes her up close, to her place setting.
He sits adjacent to her;
stands, and cuts up her food when it arrives;
then sits back down, as, together,
they indulge in each course,
remarking on how very good
it all is.
But today, before their food arrives,
he steps opposite her and
gently pulls the table away,
coaxing her to reposition her chair
and strain her neck to see
past the window frame
that blocks her view,
to the courtyard
Another tug of the table
as he asks, “See ‘em now?”
and again, “Do you see ‘em? … the geese?”
At last, with smiling eyes,
she turns to him and says,
“Yes ... I see the feathers.”
Lois J. Funk is an internationally published poet, children’s author, nonfiction author and memoirist with three books in print. To learn more about her work, visit facebook.com/loisjfunk.writings. Learn more about the Peoria Poetry Club at peoriapoetryclub.com.