“I wish to say that we will not be saved by poetry. But poetry is the type of creation in which we may live and which will save us.”
- Muriel Rukeyser, The Life of Poetry
Typing before coffee a few days ago, my sleepy fingers felt this paper, caught under a wireless keyboard. It stopped me in my tracks.
I used to write a lot of poetry. At uni, I fillednotebook after notebook with poems, even sometimes in the margins of lecture notes, and most days after classes I'd scamper back to my car and scribble one down before driving home. In those days I was constantly flooded with impressions.
Everything seemed to catch my attention. The gang of students playing frisbee on the oval, the fraying protest posters clinging to the building walls, the empty stained coffee glasses outside the student cafe, a classmate's fluffy purple cardigan that looked like she'd plucked it from a cat's basket. All of this I captured, and reading them is like having a switch back to that time in my life, before things got too serious. I was not your typical uni student, and while I sometimes wish my uni days had also been filled with parties, backpacking and maybe even some cheap vodka here and there, I cannot regret that they were filled with poetry.
In fact, the first piece of writing I ever had published was a poem. It was a few months after I moved to London, in a small literary journal, and I had written the poem itself in Hyde Park after a tumultuous few weeks in my new home, unsure if I should get on the next plane back to Australia, utterly beaten down by life, love and the city itself. That poem was my heart in 40-odd lines and having it published was one of the happiest experiences of my life.
I haven't written a lot of poetry since, admittedly, but last year, stuck and frustrated and feeling very lost, I started writing poems again. Little snapshots of life that perhaps one day, decades from now, will transport me back. Lately it's all been about other writing but this little note from the universe has reminded me - don't forget about poetry. It is the seed, the base note, the tuning fork. It's where I came from.