English: Dandelion clock (Taraxacum officinale...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not a poet, I’m a writer.  Poetry requires a beauty and precision I find intimidating and beyond me.  But I am inspired to look at it more closely by two events: the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe and the Presidential Inauguration.

Someone posted one of Poe’s poems on Facebook that remind me how much I enjoyed reading his poetry as a teenager.  It wasn’t like I was into poetry, at all, but something about his poems interested me so much that I even memorized his Anabelle Lee–for no other reason than because I wanted to.

The poet Richard Blanco read a poem at the inauguration today that was so accessible, so down to earth, it made me want to look more closely at the stark, searing simplicity of poetry, to help me strain away the static and find the ring of true tones in my life.

One word in his poem is all it took.


Breath fills me up
Wakens capillaries and brain cells
Filters through to the reaches of toe and fingertip
Scours clean the lungs, the chest, the heart.

The eye turns inward
Fears, hopes, but mostly fear
Crowds in on me
Born of choices made
Decisions questioned
The past

Search for stillness and clarity
A renewal of belief
In myself, my God,
The future

Letting go
Molecules from within mingle without
Spread, disperse
Release myself

The eye peers out
At friends, family, neighbors
My enemy
The ones I know, the ones I think I know

Reach for clarity and wisdom
To see and understand
The future

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