Tag Archives: Tell your story

Be the Poet Laureate of your own life

poet

In the last days of summer when I had nothing but time, and only the sun for a clock, an idea arrived. How cool would it be for our high school to launch a search for a Poet Laureate, for one student passionate about poetry who would compose and perform poems for special school events. {And although this hasn’t happened yet, I have a very good feeling about it.}

And then I began to wonder how it would feel if we all thought of ourselves as Poet Laureates.

Poet Laureates of our own lives.

We’re already the noticers of the small details, the “tag-you’re-it” play between dust and light, the very particular way a loved one throws her head back as she laughs, how the temperature dropped and the wind blew ice-cold the morning your best friend moved away.

So we’re already partway there.

As Poet Laureate, we’ll also get to make decisions about the form our poetry will take and what we’ll share and how we’ll share it. How often and how much. We will need to be brave and sturdy in our bones because not everyone gets poetry and not everyone loves it (the way we do) so we’ll need to decide to be okay with that.

Consider this process: to design one’s own life, to break-dance in its brightness, to observe and appreciate moments of exquisite beauty, to meet crushing disappointment and shards of heartbreak with stubborn gladness, and to share all of that with others. That seems like a divine calling. A spiritual practice. And well worth the risk.

Here’s the thing with poetry: it does not need to be published in a literary journal or posted in a blog. You can whisper your poems to your partner over scrambled eggs or rap them in the car with your kid on the way to Girl Guides. {Actually, I’m thinking of an Ode to Girl Guide Cookies right now.} You can write a poem on the back of a postcard, or make a movie out of it, or a quilt. Poems definitely do not need to rhyme… or even use words.

And no, your life is not boring. Those moments that you consider mundane… somebody, somewhere finds them fascinating. Somebody somewhere loves those kinds of poems. Lives for them. Wants to publish them in their own heart.

So sing your poem-songs of absurd joy, embarrassment and longing. Sing, you Poet Laureate of Yourself.