Tonia Peckover: Why Poetry?

In April, I began exploring the reason for poetry. I've invited a few guests to enter the conversation, to try and find the collective answer to the question, "why poetry?" (Read all "why poetry?" guest posts, here.) Today, I've asked Tonia Peckover to stop in and share her answer. Tonia has been writing a great deal of poetry at her place these days, and it is extraordinary. She is an amazing writer, a semi-vegetarian Oregonian, and an enthusiast of simple living. I hope you enjoy Tonia's words as much as I do. When you're finished reading, visit StudyInBrown for more of her poetry.

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Why poetry?

Because maybe it happens to you: the small shimmer that puzzles at the corner of your eye. Ordinary day, the playground with your kids, or about to pull open the door to your house, and there it is: just a glint where you don't expect it. Enough to make you turn your head and search the lonely swing set, or the driveway, the hump of shadows near the alley, for the barely seen glimmer of movement, never there.

Poetry is the camera for capturing that.

Or perhaps you have one of those dazzling hours when your mind has hold of some oblique thought, an elusive idea that all at once took shape like a wreath at the end of some old timer's pipe, and frantic, you take your pen and try to give it words, hope somehow your pen will carve the shape of epiphany, or genius, and find instead it has scrawled down the memory of a wreath, now an egg, now a horseshoe, now a curve, now... gone.

Poetry is the language for writing that.

Or maybe you've faced a length of days like a chain of unanswerable questions, each one linked to another, unbreakable mystery, each one waking in you a terrible hunger for certainty, a thirst to know, a driving need to apprehend and solve, to label and catalog, to categorize and conquer, file away forever the shadowed places that persist.

Poetry is the rest from that.

Why poetry?

I have stopped for a moment because there is a glimmer at the corner of my eye, something bright and careful, like the scales of a minnow who just caught a shaft of the sun and slipped over to dive down deep, bringing with him into darkness a minuscule treasure, the barest sliver of another world, a tiny relic, like a shard of gilded pottery dug from the mud, a memory from an ancient earth, just a shimmer or a smoke ring, a question, to tell them there have been others who dreamed and swam high.