The month of March has a few different holidays and events that are celebrated like St. Patrick's Day, sometimes Easter, and of course the first day of spring, but many are not aware it is also the month to celebrate women. I reflected on this and then came up with a list of women, many I do not personally know but their accomplishments inspired me.
I have a fondness for poets. It wasn't one of my most favorite forms of expression in my younger years, yet over time and with a little more patience and education, my appreciation for the art has given me focus and purpose. So of course, I want to celebrate the women in poetry that I admire and aspire to.
Emily Dickinson is a renowned poet of the 1800s and her life has many questions unanswered, however, her poetry lives on today and inspires. A young woman living a reclusive life writing poetry and letters only to be found after her death. She had a tortured soul and her expressions through the poetic words are very evident.
Her poems had no titles and to me seem like visions in her mind, thoughts that float through the air and she wrote them down as she imagined them. One of my favorites is:
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain.
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
Another female poet that lived a life of isolation is Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She wrote sonnets and verses that the imagination can only see through her words. She had a strict father and lived in seclusion for the early part of her adult life until she met Robert Browning and in the dead of the night left her family and for his love. She cared for her husband and son forsaking her family that disowned her. Her poetry voiced the true feminist ideals of her time. She struggled with ill health and more than likely heartbreak from never a reconciliation with her father before his passing.
The first poem that I read of Barrett Browning was "The Cry Of The Children." This poem is a moving tale of child labor and the horrors in the 1800s that put innocent children in harm's way with no one to keep them safe. She had a voice and from her private home did what she could to make aware of the lives less fortunate than hers.
Sylvia Plath is another poet that I admire. Like Dickinson and Barrett Browning, she too had a turbulent relationship with her father. Unlike Barrett Browning that found her true love and lived happily ever after, Plath committed suicide in 1963, after an on again off again marriage to Ted Hughes. She wrote several poems designed to reveal her angst with her relationships with men. I only wish there would have been someone in her small world that understood her pain and helped her. She was only thirty and I believe the world could have used more of her voice and words of indifference.
Fast forward to 2021 and on January 20th, the world had an opportunity to hear a voice that made the senses cry out loud. Amanda Gorman read her eloquent poem with grace and force. Every syllable of each word gave me hope that the art of poetry has not been forgotten. There are young women in the world that do use this form of communication to make their mark in the world. I am in awe of this young lady and grateful to Jill Biden for finding her and introducing her to me.
Now I know many people like to read, and love to listen to music, but most don't take the time to read or listen to a poet or poetry. Maybe this month or this year is the time to go outside of your comfort zone and give it a try. The voices and images represented in the words on the page are real for the person who wrote it as well as those who read.
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