Poetry improves lives: a guest post by Pete Gardner

This is a guest post, a courtesy of fellow poet and writer Pete Gardner where in this heartwarming story he shares how poetry influenced his life:

There is something about poetry that moves the human spirit. Whether it’s in song or prose, the words ten to bring the reader or listener into a place of higher awareness of their surroundings.

I would guess that a lot of people don’t even realize that they are listening to poems when they hear their favorite music. It really doesn’t matter what genre of music you choose, there is a poem in there more often than not. From our earliest childhood we are taught that poems soothe the soul.

Twinkle, Twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky

Every lullaby I can think of is a poem. We are shaped by them when we are young, and it doesn’t stop there. I grew up in the Beatle’s era. We listened to rock and roll all the time, and when I think back about those songs, I now see the poems in them.

Yesterday
All my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though there here to stay
Oh I believe in yesterday

In high school we studied poetry while doing English literature, taking in such poets as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allen Poe, my favorite.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

The ever increasing bombardment of poetry on our mind causes us to become familiar with it, almost a longing to hear more. The music, the books, even enticement to buy thing.

My bologna has a first name
It’s O-S-C-A-R
My bologna has a second name,
It’s M-A-Y-E-R.
Oh I love to eat it everyday
And if you ask me why say,
Cause’ Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A!!!!

In an article from the Atlantic magazine in 2014, Andrew Simmons best defined why teaching poetry in High School is so Important. This key section of that article sums up his ideas pretty well:

Yet poetry enables teachers to teach their students how to write, read, and understand any text. Poetry can give students a healthy outlet for surging emotions. Reading original poetry aloud in class can foster trust and empathy in the classroom community, while also emphasizing speaking and listening skills that are often neglected in high school literature classes.”

Down through the ages, since David the Psalmist penned His words at least, poetry has been an essential part of the human fabric. A poem can relate emotions, dreams, visions and disappointments better than any other written form. The words enter into our minds easily because they have structure and the thoughts that are expressed are easily grasped. It touches the senses and can cause us to see, touch, taste and even smell its contents. It can move us to tears or laughter.

When I look back on the effect poetry has had on me and my family, I am amazed still at how much exposure we have to this simple form of writing. Hope you will take the time to realize how important poetry has been to you as well.

Pete Gardner is a worship leader and lay minster at a small country church in Iowa. He has been writing poetry for many years. In high school he wrote hundreds of poems about all sorts of subjects, from drunken brawls to funny limericks. He has always been a music lover, and listens for the wonderful way musicians bring rhyme into song. In 2010, Pete started writing Christian music, and has over 400 songs and choruses he has written. Then in 2014 he started a blog which would contain poems of praise. This blog is now his main outlet, and the poems are coming almost daily. They are filled with inspiring words of hope, love, and praise. You can find his work at http://www.psalmistpetegardner.wordpress.com.


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7 Comments

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  1. Wonderful, wonderful article by Pete Gardner! I couldn’t agree more with his sentiments and perspective concerning poetry. Thank you for sharing this with your readers. (One side note: I clicked on the link to his blog but received the message, in so many words, that it does not exist. Perhaps there is a typo in link above?)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Maja

    I couldn’t find a contact link on your site and wanted to send you
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    I am posting here, please do delete if this is not appropriate.

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    Liked by 1 person

  3. I couldn’t agree more. I have always considered song lyrics to be poetry. And, as with any poetry, you are going to be drawn to some styles and not others. There is poetry all around us, in screen writing, in novels, anywhere you choose to engage with a beautiful turn of phrase or inspiring collection or words. How lucky we are to have this all around us, if only everyone could see it.

    Liked by 1 person

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