The Healing Power of Poetry: How Anyone Can Use Poetry to Heal and Express

A book of poetry sitting on a table, along with a cup of tea in a beautiful china cup.

In the quiet corners of our hearts, poetry has the remarkable capacity to bring solace and healing. It serves as a vessel for our emotions, allowing us to express and release what lies deep within. Have you ever felt a surge of emotions welling up inside you, seeking an outlet for expression? Poetry has a remarkable way of mirroring our inner landscape, giving voice to the thoughts and feelings that often evade ordinary language. It invites us to dive into the depths of our being, exploring the intricate tapestry of emotions that shape our human experience.

The Healing Nature of Poetry

I remember the first poem I read that really spoke to me: Mad Girl’s Love Song by Sylvia Plath. Never in my life had I felt truly seen until this moment. The words on the page seemed to resonate with my very soul, capturing the essence of emotions I struggled to articulate. In those verses, I found solace, validation, and a profound sense of connection to another human being who had experienced the same tumultuous whirlwind of emotions that had consumed me.

From that moment on, poetry became my sanctuary, and my compass when I felt lost. Through the pages of countless poems, I discovered the power of language to evoke raw emotions, to paint vivid landscapes of the human experience, and to transcend the boundaries of time and space. It held space for my grief, my longing, my love, and my dreams, in a time when I tried to avoid feeling altogether. But through poetry, I learned that it’s okay to feel deeply, to confront the complexities of life head-on, and to find beauty in even the most broken fragments of our existence.

How Anyone Can Use Poetry to Heal and Express

If you’re looking to delve into the world of poetry, I’ve got some exercises that anyone can do. Trust me, you don’t need any fancy credentials or a degree in literature to dive into the world of poetry. All you need is an open heart, a pen, and a willingness to let your emotions spill onto the page. So, grab a pen and paper, and let’s dive in.

Emotion Mapping: Start by choosing an emotion that resonates with you deeply. It could be joy, sadness, love, or any other feeling that tugs at your heartstrings. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and allow yourself to fully immerse in that emotion. Now, start jotting down words, phrases, and images that come to mind when you think about this emotion. Let your thoughts flow freely and don’t worry about structure or rhyme. Once you have a collection of words, arrange them in a way that creates a powerful and evocative poem. This exercise will help you explore the nuances of your chosen emotion and give it a voice through poetry.

Found Poetry: This exercise is all about discovering hidden gems within existing texts. Choose a book, newspaper, or any written material that speaks to you. As you read through the pages, keep an eye out for words, phrases, or sentences that resonate with your current emotional state. Highlight or jot them down on a separate sheet of paper. Once you have gathered a collection of these snippets, rearrange them to create a unique and expressive poem. Found poetry allows you to repurpose existing words and weave them into a tapestry of your emotions.

Reflective Free Writing: Find a quiet space where you can be alone with your thoughts. Take a few deep breaths to center yourself and set the intention to explore your emotions through writing. Begin with a single word or phrase that encapsulates the feeling you want to explore. It could be love, loss, joy, or any other emotion that resonates with you. Start writing without judgment or expectation, allowing the words to flow freely.

Remember, there are no rules in poetry. It’s a free-spirited form of expression, so don’t be afraid to let your creativity run wild. Allow your feelings to guide you as you explore different themes, styles, and poetic devices. The goal is not perfection, but rather to embrace the process of self-discovery and emotional release through the power of words.

5 Poems that Convey Emotional Complexity

Now I want to share with you 5 poems that are fantastic examples of how poetry can express and make us feel things we didn’t know we could. So, grab a cup of tea, find a cozy spot, and let these words weave their magic.

There is a world of being
We range from pole to pole,
Through seasons of the spirit
And weather of the soul.
It has its new-born Aprils,
With gladness in the air,
Its golden Junes of rapture,
Its winters of despair.
And in its tranquil autumns
We halt to re-enforce
Our tattered scarlet pennons
With valor and resource.
From undiscovered regions
Only the angels know,
Great winds of aspiration
Perpetually blow,
To free the sap of impulse
From torpor of distrust,
And into flowers of joyance
Quicken the sentient dust.
From nowhere of a sudden
Loom sudden clouds of fault,
With thunders of oppression
And lightnings of revolt.
With hush of apprehension
And quaking of the heart,
There breed the storms of anger,
And floods of sorrow start.
And there shall fall,—how gently!—
To make them fertile yet,
The rain of absolution
On acres of regret.
Till snows of mercy cover
The dream that shall come true,
When time makes all things wondrous,
And life makes all things new.

“If I Should Learn In Some Quiet Casual Way” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

And you as well must die, beloved dust,
And all your beauty stand you in no stead;
This flawless, vital hand, this perfect head,
This body of flame and steel, before the gust
Of Death, or under his autumnal frost,
Shall be as any leaf, be no less dead
Than the first leaf that fell,—this wonder fled.
Altered, estranged, disintegrated, lost.
Nor shall my love avail you in your hour.
In spite of all my love, you will arise
Upon that day and wander down the air
Obscurely as the unattended flower,
It mattering not how beautiful you were,
Or how beloved above all else that dies.

“And you as well must die, beloved dust” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
THE DIFFERENCE
 between despair
And fear, is like the one
Between the instant of a wreck,
And when the wreck has been.
The mind is smooth,—no motion—
Contented as the eye
Upon the forehead of a Bust,
That knows it cannot see.
“The Difference Between Despair” Emil by Dickenson
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A girl, in ancient Greece,
Be sure, had no more peace
Than one in Idaho.
To feel and yet to know
Was hard in Athens, too.
I’m sure confusion grew
In Nika’s mind as she,
While wanting to be free,
Hoped deeply to adore
Someone; and so no more
Be wretched and alone.
— Ah, hear the keen, wise moan
Of wind at twilight, past
Old trees, which darken fast.
That wind was heard, that blur
Of trees was seen by her
Of Attica.— The sound
Of wind on dry, cool ground
Once more is heard by girl,
With heart in autumn whirl.
The trees stand up in grey;
It is their ancient way—
All this in Idaho,
Where grieving girls now go
In mingled love and fear.
The dark that was is here.

“That The Dark Was Here” by Eli Siegel

THERE is a world of being
We range from pole to pole,
Through seasons of the spirit
And weather of the soul.
It has its new-born Aprils,
With gladness in the air,
Its golden Junes of rapture,
Its winters of despair.
And in its tranquil autumns
We halt to re-enforce
Our tattered scarlet pennons
With valor and resource.
From undiscovered regions
Only the angels know,
Great winds of aspiration
Perpetually blow,
To free the sap of impulse
From torpor of distrust,
And into flowers of joyance
Quicken the sentient dust.
From nowhere of a sudden
Loom sudden clouds of fault,
With thunders of oppression
And lightnings of revolt.
With hush of apprehension
And quaking of the heart,
There breed the storms of anger,
And floods of sorrow start.
And there shall fall,-how gently!-
To make them fertile yet,
The rain of absolution
On acres of regret.
Till snows of mercy cover
The dream that shall come true,
When time makes all things wondrous,
And life makes all things new.

“Weather Of The Soul” by Bliss Carman

Before we part ways, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you who have accompanied me on this exploration of poetry, and discovering the poetry of life. It fills me with immense gratitude to celebrate the milestone of reaching 1,000 readers a month on LifeIsPoetry.blog, and I am truly grateful for your support!!

Together, we have created a vibrant community where we can share, learn, and grow. May the magic of poetry continue to touch your lives, reminding you that within the cadence of words lies the power to heal, inspire, and transform. Thank you for joining me on this poetic adventure, and may the love for poetry guide you on your own path of self-discovery and connection.

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