Lockdown has taken its toll on us all but what happens when you’re suddenly plunged into isolation? Could poetry be the key?
It’s no secret that I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Plays, short stories, flash fiction, that novel that still isn’t quite right, and a bit of poetry. With that last one I follow in my father’s footsteps. He was a keen poet. He was a published poet.
For me though, poetry never really did anything. I’m not sure I could say why either. Maybe it’s because I preferred hearing a story and poetry always seemed to be rhyming couplets. The difficulty also came in school when they said that poems didn’t have to rhyme. Well, hold on. Who’s making the rules here?
The thing is, writing is subjective so really, nobody makes the rules, and if they do, as most writers will tell you, they are there to be broken.
I’d been doing well during lockdown. I was surprised at how well my mental health was doing. That chattering brain loved the space and freedom to read last year, I kept out of people’s way, and all was well. For a couple of special occasions I popped up with a few lines of poetry that happened to spring to mind and that was it, and then something happened.
This past week, having had contact with somebody who tested positive for Covid, I find myself isolating. I’m lucky. At the moment, symptoms have been extremely mild for me, and I’ve been able to get in the garden. I know many people are worse off. The trouble is though, it gets very boring sitting around scrolling through social media and checking emails. I was still working on my novel and other projects but I felt like I needed something else, then poetry beckoned.
It did this without warning, similar to how the anxiety appears, but the poetry bug was a good one. Over the past few days I’ve written several poems that I’m really pleased with. I’ve taken inspiration from around me, from different ends of the spectrum, with poems about the peace and calm that nature affords, missing childhood, right through to my neighbour. It’s quite therapeutic getting thoughts and feelings out in a creative way. It also slows you down and can help stop any anxious thoughts that are creeping in at the moment. In fact, if there are any of those more negative emotions emerging, you may as well use them as a catalyst for your writing. Clearly there’s some energy there needing to get out.
The biggest thing I’ve realised though is that once you’re on a roll, let it flow. Don’t stop for anyone. Having that self control over your writing makes a huge difference. Trying a new medium has made me more aware of my abilities too. The feedback I’ve received from the few I’ve sent it to has been really positive. Poetry has power!
Maybe you could try some poetry today? Need some inspiration? How about the picture below for starters?