April is National Poetry Month

In case I hadn’t mentioned it earlier, April is National Poetry Month. A special time to pause and think about what poetry means to you. Perhaps re-read your favorite piece. Or, maybe you are sitting at your desk composing a few lines of verse that simply take you away, reminding you of emotions, memories, smells, tastes, loves, and fears. Why does poetry matter? Poetry lives and thrives in the grey area of ambiguity. In the place of always becoming but never quite being. That’s what it does best. It hints; it suggests; it insinuates, often without resolving into anything concrete. Whether it rhymes or scans or just dumps words onto a page, what makes poetry poetry is its ability to hover in a place where things can be and not-be, both at the same time.

Poetry and metaphor go together like cookies and milk. They help us deal with much more than just contradiction or ambiguity. Metaphor is about association and resonance and connectivity. The snow is a blanket upon the earth. The blanket keeps me toasty warm. Metaphor creates connections and resonances among the things of the world. It catches us up in a net of relationships. It makes the world vibrate: touch one string, and another hums along. Where there is no metaphor, though, nothing is like anything else, and nothing reverberates. Without poetry and metaphor, the world is just a jumble of discrete objects resting on a lonely plane.

Consider the following poem from Tyler Knott Gregson’s “Chasers of the Light: Poems From the Typewriter Series.”

She walked past like it was nothing,
like she had walking feet
and I had staring eyes,
and her scent followed behind.
It stayed when she left,
it found a way to stick to me.
She smelled like 5 a.m.
when it is far enough into the year
for light to play that early.
She smelled like rain that came
when the sun stayed out,
and for a moment it felt like
Mother Nature tripped
and spilled a bag of diamonds.
She smelled like home,
but the kind that is made
not bought, with memories
plastered like wall paper,
and still filled with the ghost
of whoever I was
before she walked past.

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