A Way of Looking at Summer

i. Ahh, summer—what would you have me say of you?

ii. I emptied myself the darkness of three years to feel à gogo that is my laughter.

iii. But what of a strange bird mocking songs of a nightingale, when play was promised!

iv. June is a month of happiness, for the in-laws gave me their son.

v. A celebration.

vi. I had my eyes set on “The Land of the Muses” where everyone is born a poet. To chisel words not for posterity, but as evidence of being alive.

vii. Alas, overtorture is overtourism!

viii. For I carry precious gems, amulets of protection that zap any remnant of energy.

ix. Gallstones.

x. “Play without action is only an intention,” says the entertainment brochure I leaf through while sitting in a Pendolino train.

xi. A way of looking at summer—when your body is on a riot—slow yourself down.

xii. Rest—

xiii. Then get up and play.

A throwback photo of the Birthday Boy and Yours Truly, while interrailing around Europe.

It’s officially summer in my part of the world, good people! And my summer wish list is simple: rest and play. How about you? What are you up to or what kind of summer activities help you strike a perfect balance between rest and play? Please do share! 🙂

Happy Summer or whatever season you are in! <3

Reflections in the Looking Glass

I catch her reflection in the looking glass
and see an inner glow, true beauty
that stems from all she stands for

Each strand of hair on her crown
is strength, an heirloom
from a long lineage of gentle warriors

Her mind is open hands
welcoming and extending,
a community to anyone in need

I’ve heard people ask, “Who is she?”
It’s the confidence and grace
in every step she takes

An African queen —
she needs no introduction,
for every interaction is a lasting impression

She’s never been a firecracker
the dynasty thrives on her soft and strong,
that’s her timeless charm

When I gaze upon her regal face
I see a mischievous glint, defiance,
challenging whoever said youth is a memory

Remember her beauty lies in what she comes to be,
self-awareness standing face to face
with challenges and victories.

Author Photo by Irina Kolomijets

PS. If you read my newsletter, you know the story of how I ended up at the ER and hospitalized two weeks ago. This poem is a response to my suggestion of writing a love letter to yourself. And of course, you know all women are queens. 🙂

If you’re not a subscriber I ask, when was the last time you treated yourself with compassion? Go write yourself a love letter! ♥

Enjoy your Sunday and Happy May Day, in advance.

PPS. Feature Photo by Tuva Mathilde Løland on Unsplash

Poetry’s Ability to Foster a Sense of Belonging

To state the obvious, It’s April! A month to celebrate poetry and its role in our society. What better way than to highlight its benefits? Some of those benefits are poetry’s ability to provide a means of expression, inspire empathy and understanding, offer comfort and solace, to name just a few.

Poetry and Community

Another benefit is poetry’s ability to foster a sense of belonging. In a world where many people feel isolated and disconnected, poetry can serve as a powerful tool to bring people together. Because poetry is a great outlet for our emotions and communicating our vulnerabilities. Hence, it can help us connect and strengthen relations with others. It can create a sense of community.

When I speak of poetry’s ability to foster a sense of belonging, I speak from my experience. As anyone with two homes can attest, there’s always an element of in-betweeness. The feeling of being neither here nor there, and being outside of culture. Oh yes, dual nationality can create issues around social and cultural identity! Poetry serves as my anchor when I feel like an unfastened boat in deep waters.

Spectators at a Poetry Festival

Can any other art form provide the same benefit? Certainly. In fact, communities are formed based on all kinds of commonalities that have nothing to do with art.

But I’m focusing on poetry as this unique but universal invisible thread that can help us connect with one another. We can find ourselves in some wonderful and empathetic communities, where we feel seen, heard, and supported. Mind you, I said communities not poetry communities!

Poetry and the Public

That’s why I don’t understand people who treat poetry like a yacht club. When poetry’s origin dates back to oral history. When poetry was passed through oral stories, song and performance within communities and in public spaces. And where subjectivity of a few did not dictate a poem’s popularity, but the public, the fans.

The many levels of gatekeeping, cliques and snobbery within the poetry community / communities is a topic for another day. But I’d like to know, when did poets start writing for other poets, instead of the public? When poetry goes way back before people could write? It’s no wonder poetry is deemed not of service to the public.

Well, dear reader, if you do anything this month, make some time for poetry. To feel the sense of openness and interconnectedness. Remember, it doesn’t have to come in a fancy wrapping, but speak to your heart.

PS. Feature Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash.

PPS. Have you joined my newsletter, Project Finding Beauty? If not, what do you have to lose?