‘to me poetry‘s usefulness cannot be overstated. I think everyone who loves poetry is made up of certain lines, absorbed at a bone deep level, to be drawn on when they’re needed’.
Do you have lines that spring unbidden but predictably to your mind’s lips in certain situations? I know I do. Those ‘bone deep’ lines that are just part of your conversation not ‘quoted’.
What lines are you made up of? (Leave a comment and share them here). They don’t have to be from poems – songs, prose or simply oft-repeated family sentiments or adages. do you catch yourself saying things your parents and grandparents said? This is all part of a legacy – remembering what people said to us is a way of keeping them alive.
Having a father who spoke Shakespeare (like the father in Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters), my childhood was punctuated with quotation. At bedtime: Good-night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
To exhort children to the top of the next hill:
Lay on, Macduff, and damned be him that first cries, “Hold, enough!”
We spoke other verse too – Larkin greeted spring:
As students our language was Eliot & Yeats.
In Jane Haynes’ book Who is it that can tell me who I am? The journal of a psychotherapist (the title itself is a quotation from King Lear) she almost seamlessly interweaves quotations from poetry and narrative of psychotherapy – both are part of who she is.
If you are ‘made up of certain lines’ take the one that comes to mind and go from there. When did it become part of you? Who said it when? Where did it come from?
Take down a volume of poetry, open it anywhere, take the first line that catches your eye and go…..
- How strong emotion summons poetry (guardian.co.uk)
- Shakespeare, classics ‘boost the brain’ (todayonline.com)