Poetic Therapy

It is the poets and the writers who are the biggest dangers to society. They’ve already got it all figured out, which is why so many of them are underpaid and marginalized. Think about it – and enjoy a few of my favorites:

A Maya Angelou :: When President Clinton picked Maya Angelou to read a poem at his inauguration, I felt my breath taken away as she read from On the Pulse of Morning:
Here on the pulse of this new day,
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.
Stunning. Felt the tears being pulled from my body at how she read those last two words. She saw the value in all of us. Relished in it! As I relished in the unforgettable freedom of Still I Rise:
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Oh, I have been surprised at some of the people my sexiness has upset. Their loss.

W Walt Whitman :: Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself might just be one of the greatest things ever written. Where therapy has failed me, this poem – like certain songs and movies – brings me back to center. Stanza 4 provides an inner strength, an internal locus, a self-directive like no other:
Trippers and askers surround me,
People I meet, the effect upon me of my early life or the ward and city I live in, or the nation,
The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors old and new,
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues,
The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love,
The sickness of one of my folks or of myself, or ill-doing or loss or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations,
Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news, the fitful events;
These come to me days and nights and go from me again,
But they are not the Me myself.
No, they’re not…
Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am, 
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary,
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest,
Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it.
Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am. Stands amused! Hah! This is what drives the blood in my veins when I read these great lines that tell me to remember who I am, that I have value apart from anyone else, or anyone else’s pulling and hauling. Self esteem in a stanza! Can you imagine? I let it feed me…
Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with linguists and contenders,
I have no mockings or arguments, I witness and wait.
Yes. I, too, remember those days when I sweated through fog, doubting myself at the hands of others. Years wiser, I need only witness and wait. No argument necessary, I am what I am.