National poetry day took place last week. I never used to regard myself as a poet. I felt my efforts at traditional verse with rhyme and metre came out as contrived or clich├ęd, and doubted my free verse was much better. Since then, I've been lucky enough to enjoy some success, but even when I thought the results were poor, the process of writing poetry was invaluable.
Distilling my thoughts and ideas into exactly the right words required a balance of focus and freedom that shut out any trivia or anxieties I might be experiencing, in addition to leaving those worries on the page. No one should be put off by doubts about their talent from writing poetry. The most important thing is that what you write has meaning for you. However, if you really don't feel that you can write your own poems, explore what others have written. People have sought to bring order into their lives and views of the universe from ancient times. Whatever style you prefer, you'll find poetry that finds the words to say what you have difficulty expressing. You will discover that you are not alone in thinking and feeling as you do, which can be a great relief. Reading poetry really can make you feel better.
You could try taking this a step further, and learn the poems that resonate with you. At the very least it's a good work-out for your memory and concentration. What is more, no matter your situation, you will always have that poem with you. You can recite it in your head whenever your thoughts need a distraction, or if you can't sleep, to prevent boredom when waiting for a bus, or you can recite it aloud to impress your friends. Whether you choose a limerick by Edward Lear to make you laugh, or a sonnet by Shakespeare that captures the power of love, a W. H. Auden description of grief, or simply want to experience the abstract beauty of words with a John Ashbery poem, you are never alone with a poem.
To be going on with, you'll find some of mine on my poetry page or some Iyessi songs on the Exiles of Ondd page.