A Plea for Poetry to be Learned by Heart and Read Aloud
Why? because voice is spirit. The human voice, hammered out by the human tongue, is the physical expression of the human spirit. Someone once called the tongue “the tail of the heart”.
Language is a complex pattern of symbols to which we have assigned sounds. Words are abstractions, but when fleshed out by the voice, nuanced with emotions, they create meaningful sounds akin to musical compositions. The effect of one person’s voice upon another soul is profound.
Through the power of spoken words, we interpret meaning through emotion and are able to impact someone’s imagination much like heated patterns make an impression on wax. The creative force of the imagination can transport us to new worlds, freeing us from the confines of physical space and time, and carry us to realms of terrifying beauty or gut-wrenching degradation, to something or someone beyond ourselves.
There is an inner voice always speaking to us, reflecting, questioning, assigning value, judging, and deciding our actions. This spiritual voice must break the sound barrier and eventually be heard. Those who cannot speak will find other ways to communicate because the desires to be heard and to be known are as strong in us as the desire to live.
We long to reveal what lies within us, to build a bridge strong enough to cross the chasm of separation, in order to be understood and accepted by another human being.
Because poetry is “polysemous” (having multiple meanings) it causes a fight or flight reaction in the linear mind. Poetry wants to rumble on through, overturn timetables, and upset the way we do life’s business. Saying poems aloud, letting sound and rhythm penetrate the layers of the brain will recharge the spiritual senses, and change our perception of reality.
Poetry always seeks to lift the veil a little, and resurrect our imaginations from the cold death zone of dullness and sleep. A small flame of a poem can do it! We are startled awake and our spiritual senses are opened.The soul leaps up with joy in discovering new meanings, making new connections, and gaining new insights into our relationship with external reality.
To learn a poem or prayer by heart means you have made it a part of your being. It becomes a spiritual treasure, a resource you may call upon anytime, or share with others to enrich their lives.
May Love be the only language that we speak, and the only voice we hear. Don’t forget to read some poem, recite a prayer, or a work of literature aloud to someone you love and wish to bless. It will be music to their ears, and food for their souls.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not Love, I have become as sounding brass, and a clanging cymbal”. (ICor.13)