Today is World Poetry Day and because I love poetry, whether writing my own or reciting Shakespeare to myself when blissed out with the beauty of nature surrounding me or the smiles of my children touching my heart, poetry is beautiful to me, elevating my spirits, lifting and lightening my heart.
In a fast paced society, poetry can easily be missed and we often nowadays don’t have the patience to find the beauty in words, the weaving of images in the mind when video posts do the work for us. So why should be stop, breathe and enjoy poetry when it’s not our first passion? What is so special about poetry that the world needs more of it again?
The simple, straight forward answer is that poetry is good for the brain function. It triggers responses in different parts of the brain than a video or even reading a normal text does. In this way, our thought processes become more holistically integrative of information we receive, our overall intelligence is heightened and more synapses are formed in the brain.
Poetry makes you more intelligent. It helps you to process more complex concepts, integrating it more fully than would otherwise be the case. It helps us to build new pathways of thinking and supports problem solving skills, as well as giving us an overall boost of happiness.
Yes, poetry makes happy, even if you’re not aware of it. It heightens your overall feeling of wellbeing and helps you develop a more positive and optimistic mental attitude and outlook on life. It shifts perception. But apart from the neurological and psychological benefits, also enhancing your understanding of language at the same time, it is a beautiful way of expressing emotions, experiences and thoughts.
William Shakespeare, the most famous British poet of all time told his love that he sees the object of his love as more beautiful and perfect than nature itself in his sonnet 18 “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the famous German poet, liked his beloved to a flower and said he would rather dig it out and plant it in his garden, than pick it, condemning it to wither and die in his poem “Found.”
But it is not only the old poets that bring such delight to the senses. Modern poetry is on the rise and poets should certainly be encouraged, as should all creativity. My own poem I wrote for my daughter Tarjani, “The Beauty of a Rose” (see below) which can be found besides 172 other spiritual poems in my book My Spirit Song is a testimony to the love and reverence that can be felt – and expressed – in a mother’s love for her child. Seeing her daughter’s greatest potential, the shining glory of her soul is inspirational for more than this one particular girl.
So for all the reasons above and, doubtlessly, so many more (further reading links below), it is important to retain poetry as part of our lives, indeed, as part of our selfcare routine for mind, heart and soul.
The Beauty of a Rose
for my beloved daughter Tarjani
Graceful and delicate
Your beauty reaches up to heaven
Finely chiselled features
Framed by a halo of waves
Cascading down over your shoulders
Your smile is that
Of a blossoming rose
Radiant and bright
And oh, those moments
When your arms encircle me
In a tender loving gesture
Of deepest affection and trust
Smaller children adore you
You only need to cast one smile
And they flock around your legs
The pull of love
That was only meant for them
To grow, to trust
To learn, to play
When music plays
Your body moves
Hops and spins
To the rhythm of that primeval drum
Which beats to the breath of life
In perfect synchronicity
With life’s rhythm
Accelerates my pulse
As my heart expands
In wondrous love
At the beauty of your flow
Such is your beauty
Inside and out
Like a flourishing rose
Growing into maturity
In summer’s sunlight
Delicate yet strong
Gentle yet radiant
Flamboyant yet humble
Loving and intelligent
Do you know how much I adore you?
Do you really deeply listen
To the whispers of your own heart?
Are you truly aware
Of your own innate divine glory
In its entirety
In its whole power?
You have got the strongest foundation
To catapult yourself off from
To fly amongst the stars
To soar towards the sun
Your own glorious power
And the love of your mother
(©Tirza Schaefer, 14th August 2015)
Further Reading on the Neurological Effects of Reading Poetry
Brain activity and connectivity during poetry composition: Toward a multidimensional model of the creative process, US National Library of Medicine
The emotional power of poetry: neural circuitry, psychophysiology and compositional principles, US National Library of Medicine
This Is What Happens to Your Brain When You Read Poetry by Cody Delistraty
The Human Brain Is Hardwired for Poetry by Patrick J. Kiger
Here’s what happens in your brain when you read a poem by Jennifer Delgado