Poetry — The Spoken Symbol

The podcast I’m starting (anchor.fm/thespokensymbol) is the result of many years of listening to poetry and poets and also writing poetry myself. Poetry touches me in a deep way that brings a grounding depth to my life. The poetry that touches me is imaginal, metaphorical, and mystical. It takes me on a journey of revelation, intuition, and healing. I’m excited to share my favorite poets and my own poetry as well. I have recited and read poetry on local radio stations, recited my poetry at open mic sessions and have entered contests and have published works. My interest is mainly spoken poetry because it lives more openly through the voice than on paper. That’s why I wanted to start a podcast to bring the spoken word to more people. I call my podcast “The Spoken Symbol” because speaking poetry through symbols and the metaphorical language is deeply inspiring to me.

Three of my goals in bringing poetry through ‘The Spoken Symbol” are:

1. Help you discover the power of poetry.

2. Allow poetry to transform you and your experience in some way that is meaningful.

3. Develop your deep intuition as a result of challenging yourself to interact with poetry in a different way that brings light into your inner world.

This is my mission in providing this podcast, to bring people into a new awareness of themselves through transformation and an experiential learning from their deep intuition.

I will give you an example of how the podcast will be structured. I will read or recite a poem and then discuss the metaphors and the impact it has on me and potentially on you the listener.

“In a David Whyte poem entitled ‘The Opening of Eyes’, I became aware of the powerful metaphors he was using in the poem. I let those metaphors change my experience of what it means to have your eyes opened as a result of reading, feeling, and hearing the words in the poem. For example there is a line that goes ‘…it is the man throwing away his shoes as if to enter heaven’, which is a metaphor for what it takes to enter heaven. I’m looking for my intuition to explore and give me direction as to how to approach entering into a blissful state. Each one of us may have a different meaning for the phrase and the impact it offers. Developing a curious intuition can bring you answers from the lines in your favorite poems.

The poet I’m featuring in my first podcast is David Whyte. He is a poet, author, international speaker, and organizational thinker. From an Irish mother and English father he blends philosophy, religion, poetry and the written word into a voice that is compelling and deeply authentic. He is well known for his organization development work with Boing and other international companies. He speaks to me in a mythic way that goes through my conscious mind to my deeper well of being. His grounded process of becoming something more alive shows up at the edge of our awareness and his poetry is a calling to be answered regardless of our fear or restlessness. His poetry is deeply imaginal, inviting, and revealing for our own soul that is always searching for the way back home.

The first poem I want to share is by David Whyte and is appropriate for a beginning poem. The title is “The Lightest Touch”.

Good poetry begins with the lightest touch,

a breeze arriving from nowhere, a whispered healing arrival,

a word in your ear, a settling into things,

then, like a hand in the dark,

it arrests the whole body,

steeling you for revelation.

In the silence that follows a great line,

you can feel Lazarus, deep inside

even the laziest, most deathly afraid part of you,

lift up his hands

and walk toward the light.

I like the way the poem starts because I know from my writing, a word or phrase will pop into my head and it feels like it comes from nowhere, maybe a word in my ear or as a result of thoughts I’ve been having or from a feeling I have had about a situation. If the words are compelling enough they can take over and ask to be worked with or finished. It can also stay unfinished, a thought that goes so far… Yet there can be revelation and the words can tumble forth in complete sentences with images, feelings, and a great ending.

I love the line, “In the silence that follows a great line…” because a good poem is best if it is followed by silence. I remember a reading that David Whyte conducted in San Francisco. After the first few poems there was riotous clapping and applause after each one, then David asked the crowd to pause for silence after each poem and the difference in the feeling in the room was palpable. Silence allows each person to work with the poem, to allow the poem to sink in and attach to some part of our being. As he says, you can feel part of you deep inside, maybe a part of you that hasn’t been accessed for a long time if ever. That deep part of you that has been touched can arise and be lifted into a new awareness, and part of you can be transformed through your deep intuition. As a result, the light shown into your depths can be an awakening of a new path; a new lightness in your step, a bringing back to life of a part of you that was dead. You can feel how Lazarus felt, you can sense and bring back the image that resurrection holds for you, and you can walk again towards the light as you did as a child.

This is a powerful poem for me as a writer and a lover of poetry. I’m curious the role the Muses play in the words and images that pop into our heads. Part is being ready and having a fertile place for those images and words to land. In other words, an awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and actions and where they are leading us. The other part is taking action, what do we do when the hand in the dark arrests the whole body. You must lift up your hands to take the light even if the laziest most deathly afraid part of you is unwilling.

What images have this poem brought up for you? How did it land in your body? Was there a feeling of inspiration, uncertainty, creativity wanting to be activated, or curiosity? What is calling you as a result of listening to this poem and discussion? What is the quiet, clear intuitive voice saying to you and what is the action that is asking to be taken. Journal or write down your thoughts and actions. How do you feel from this experience and what does your body remember or wish for.

I trust this brief poem has sparked an interest deep inside that stirs a long denied longing for more awareness, and a transformation through your deep intuition.

If you’d like to explore how poetry can be used to cultivate more awareness in your own life, check out my podcast, “The Spoken Symbol”, at anchor.fm/thespokensymbol