Happy National Poetry Month - celebrate with peace!
How can poetry therapy help us in such worldly, violent time?
Poetry offers us a peaceful solution to addressing anything and everything that comes up for us. This is not to say that poetry offers some naive, willy-nilly utopia where there is not conflict. It is to say that poetry offers us a form of expression where we can have SAFE CONFLICT!
Yes, you heard me. Safe conflict. This is not about solving your problems through your fist or the barrel of a gun. This is about the reality that we are all different. We like different things. We all have been raised in different cultures, with different ideas and talents. And sometimes our difference cause conflict. And that is OKAY!
BUT BUT BUT you do not solve that conflict through violence. And you are responsible for teaching your children that it is not okay to solve conflict through violence. It is your responsibility to yourself and your children and your community to find SAFE WAYS to address conflict.
Writing and sharing poetry and can be one way to do that.
You might try reading other people's poetry to see if there are works out there to express a point for you. You might try writing something wholly new. You can try offering it to the person with whom you have the conflict by reading it to them or giving them a written copy.
Now, the person on the receiving end has a responsibility to hear the poet out, to read what it given to them or to pay attention as the other person read out loud. And then, after listening, that person has a responsibility to also find a SAFE WAY to respond.
It's a basic rule we loft out to our children -- in our homes and in our daycares and schools. We tell them things like, "It is not okay to hit, Bobby! Use your words." Or, "I can see that you are upset with me, but it is not okay to hit mommy, so please use your words to tell me what is wrong." And we have a responsibility to hear those children out when they do use their words. We have a responsibility to MODEL for them, how we as adults, use words with each other! We are in a position to share writings of other kids with our own kids.
Look, the bottom line is this: If we don't start accepting SAFE CONFLICT AND SAFE RESOLUTION into our lives, the wars will never end.
I encourage you to look to poetry as a tool for creating a safe life for us all.
Books for peace:
Flag of Childhood: Poems
from the Middle East,
edited by Naomi Shihab Nye
Sites for peace:
Miracles to you,
L.C. Jones, Dakota's Mommy