The Soul of the Wordsmith

Jonny Baker has been musing on the nature of poetry and poets. He says “there’s something about poetry that is close to themes of justice, truth, liberation and ‘maybe the voice of the spirit’. it’s true of art in general that it has that strain but somehow i’m beginning to think that the poet gets to it quicker or more intensely. maybe because it’s just words or maybe because it’s more marginal or maybe because you have to say something… i am so convinced about this that i have decided that if you move to an area and want to connect with people into spirituality and justice find the local poets and it won’t be far away.”

Now, as the daugher of a poet, I find this interesting and believe there is a truth within it. I grew up going on adventures into places of spirituality and justice not because my dad was a saint or a seeker, but rather because he was just him, and it just sort of happened. As a youngster I remember going with him on an anti-aparthied rally to Hyde Park with a bunch of radical Catholics. Turned out he had just offered to drive the mini-bus for some people who wanted to go and actually had no idea about the spirituality of these people initially. I could go on with endless stories like this, my dad’s passion for justice and ability for going on adventures seem to put him in contact with lots of v. spiritual people, from a variety of spiritual backgrounds. The other thing that becomes important with poets and storytellers, I think is there ability to listen. Whilst my dad has an ability to talk for England, (well, it’s his job), he also has an ability to listen, and by that I mean really listen. Poets listen for detail, they listen for things that act as a spark to light the fire of creativity. They listen to people’s stories because they find a worth in them. I think perhaps where their “natural” ability to connect with spirituality and justice comes from is their ability, and may be even need, to combine vulnerability with risk taking and listening. They are adventurers who listen not only to their fellow travellers but to the sounds of the city, the cars, the birds, the leaves, the water and the stillness for inspiration.

Looking around my dads poems it seems he has also picked up on this theme. I found this one called “Poetry It’s” on there which sums it up.

Poetry It’s

Poetry it’s a black, white, yellow and red thing,
A love, hate, mad and mellow thing,
A “I’ve got to break out of the middle of my head and tell the world I’m not
dead,” thing,
A “Let’s cut the bull and tell it exactly how it is,” thing,
A “I need to caress that woman with words,” thing,
A “I’ve never told anyone how I feel,” thing,
It’s a way down deep thing,
It’s an odd thing,
It’s a god thing,
It’s a flesh and spirit thing,
It’s a “What can I do,” thing,
An understanding you thing
It’s an “I am of value thing,” thing
A freedom thing,
A truth thing,
A word thing,
And in the beginning…………………………

by John Row

About tractorgirl

Hi my name is Sally Rush: I'm a Christian, a mother, a community engagement officer, a listener, a dreamer, a partner, an experienced teacher, a friend, a daughter, a sister and so much more.

2 thoughts on “The Soul of the Wordsmith

  1. We can all reach such deeper meaning through poetry. Even the way we read poetry compared to the way we read normal literature is inspiring.

    That poem by your father is simply delightful.

  2. As someone for who poetry speaks deeply I can but concurr; it truly is a wondrous gift both for those who can write and for those who read it.

    And another wonderful poem by your father — it is indeed all: thanks for sharing.

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