My mother was an actress and for me this meant that from a young age I had unbridled access to (and encouragement in) the make up, hair curler, costume jewellery and fancy-dress dress department.
I think my fascination with other types of beauty came later on when I was first introduced to poetry as an adult.
I loved poems and sensed at some level that there was more being transmitted in them than met the eye. I wanted to know what this deep transmission- which felt like an affirmation, was. I realise now that the heart warming nature of poetry is a side effect of self recognition. We read something or see something and at once we recognise our nature. ‘Yes, that’s right’, we say albeit quietly on the inside.
I use poems here on the blog so that together we might create a modern context for their appreciation and discovery miles away from the tatty anthologies of school days.
Types Of Poems
There are so many types of poetry and they each feel different. Some, the type around which this article is focussed, could be described as meditational poems. They point to spirituality or God or the wonder of the universe or whatever you like to call it.
Some of these poems are explicitly about that subject, for example, D.H. Lawrences PAX and Cavaffys Ithaka and others are less obviously about spiritual life, like Snow, for example, by Louis McNeice.
These poems tend to involve every day language and scenarios. I like this way of alluding to the great mysteries of life as it encourages us to come away from the ethereal (which can seem out of the average mans reach) and brings us down to earth.
It makes it all more tangible, leaving you with the suspicion that you are just as likely to find The Great What Is in the bottom of the garden as you are in a metaphysical text. Many Sufi poems fall into this category.
Many of the poems shared by Rumi, Kabir and Hafiz were published in times where it was not au fait to write things that went against the grain of popular thinking and religion and you could get in lots of trouble for speaking out of turn.
Hafiz was exiled from his native Shiraz where he lived and found work as a writer of Ghazelles, or love poetry. In that period of his life he would write in code, referring to God as ‘ The Friend’ or ‘The Old Drunkard’ and referring to temple as ‘ The Tavern’.
How inventive and fabulous…
Jumping for joy
Sometimes when I read a poem from Hafiz, I find that I feel affirmed. I agree with what I’m reading. It fits just right. I feel warmed, like I do when I smell my mums cooking or see a fellow British friend while abroad on holiday.
Other times I feel overwhelmed with the love and joy brought on by these poems. The same happens sometimes on seeing a beautiful flower or a sunset or a painting. Does this ever happen where you are? It just brings about this kind of rapture.
If you are keen to explore meditational poetry, you could start with The Gift, a collection of poetry from Hafiz, translated by Daniel Landinsky. Here is a link to the book:
I would love to hear about the things you see that make you jump for joy so do leave a comment or tell me on twitter or Insta, I’m @EmmaMillsLondon on all channels.