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How to Write Poetry as a Natural Medicine - Markings 146

The fifth in a series of writing poetry as a way of healing.

Poetry as Natural Medicine

Natural Medicine. Reflect on poetry as a natural medicine. What is your medicine made of? This medicine is not like a drug, intended to suppress and cover over pain or illness. It has the quality of a naturopathic or homeopathic remedy made to permeate, support and enhance the natural healing abilities

of your immune system.

What sort of physical, mental and spiritual attributes do your poetic medicines have? What kind of recipe might resilience, humour and calmness be found in? How do you make this potion? What would you like its effect on you to be? If you could make a natural, poetic medicine using anything at all—what is

essential to mix together? General ingredients for an elixir of healing poetry might include: musical language, sensory awareness, feeling and concrete images. Also try ingredients that are even more concrete and personal.

For instance, what particular pieces of music, natural objects and places, flowers, animals or personal items are energizing and healing? Name them.

The great Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, known for his childlike sweetness and powerful imagery, named these poetic medicines for recovering his spirit of childhood:

My heart of silk

is filled with lights,

with lost bells,

with lilies and bees.

I will go very far,

farther than those mountains,

farther than the oceans,

way up near the stars,

to ask Christ the Lord

to give back to me

the soul I had as a child,

matured by fairy tales,

with its hat of feathers

and its wooden sword.

Lorca brings us his childhood through lilies and bees, stars and oceans, his hat of feathers and his wooden sword. These kinds of things can be your poetic medicines, too.

©Jeff Guess 2019


Writing Poetry

A Creative Writing Course in 8 Units.

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