Whenever the noise of what surrounds you gets too much, there’s always a world, tucked away in dusty old books, that you can turn to. When email pinging and mobile phone ringing starts to submerge your sense of serenity, there exists an art form that’s long helped to soothe our weary souls: poetry.
Whether you transport yourself to a story of unrequited love or you muse over a sonnet about the passing of time, poetry is literary medicine.
The wonderful Michelle Williams (formerly of Dawson’s Creek) has spoken recently of how she begins each day with a poem. Where others choose meditation, or boxing, this is Williams’ chosen act of mindfulness.
Speaking to Elle UK, Wiliams says: ‘I love poetry because it’s like a shot, like an attack, like a dose. And for a person who doesn’t have very much free time, it does its work very quickly. So I read poems on my phone when I wake up in the morning. It opens you up for the rest of the day, and suddenly your life becomes a little more observed. And when it becomes more observed, it can’t help but start to become more beautiful.’
Our esteemed editor Ellie Balfe is quite the poetry fanatic herself.
“I come from a poetry-loving house. You could say we are ambassadors of the art form and it was my favourite part of the English syllabus in school. Years ago my brother gave me a book entitled Poem for the Day which included 366 poems (one extra for leap year), and I took to it like a project, diligently reading my prescribed poem each morning. The effects were almost meditative as the beautiful words and concepts of love, loss and life opened my mind more.
Now, I follow blogs where I seek solace from the never-ending noise of the world and the hustle and bustle of the internet. Just a few minutes each day of someone else’s thoughts, presented in the shortest of packages works to offer me an essential feeling of space. Each Christmas now, my friend gives me the Faber & Faber poetry diary, so I see a new one each week. It sits here on my desk in front of me and that makes me happy!”
Below is one of this writer’s favourites by William Butler Yeats.
Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.