Gift of Poetry

Claudia Zoe Bedrick, founder of Enchanted Lion Books, was given the gift of poetry on her eighth Birthday, from her Father. His inscription and Claudia’s reflection on what poetry means to her. sums up the place of poetry in my life.

“For my 8th birthday, my dad gave me a book called Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle: a book that now sits on my teenage son’s shelf. His inscription: ‘stories are a meal. But poetry is a glass of water, perhaps even a single drop that will save your life.’ At the age of eight, I didn’t fully understand what he meant, but I came to, and have ever since thought of poetry as water: essential, calm, churning, a vortex of light and shadow, refreshingly cool, pleasingly warm, and sometimes just hot enough or cold enough to jolt, charge, render slightly uncomfortable, and bring one fully, deeply to life once again.”

Many of my friends didn’t like poetry until they had the opportunity to read accessible poems. Poems that spoke to their minds and hearts, which conveyed in a few lines something that would take a few thousand words in an essay. When you give poetry a chance, you may notice that in challenging times a poem can provide unexpected solace. My plan is to provide a sampling of my favourites here.

I subscribe to American Life in Poetry, which is a storehouse of all things poetry and they allow people like me to reprint poems on a website or blog.


This first poem is about the onslaught of fear we often experience while waiting for a test and a diagnosis. Even when the report comes back better than expected we are changed by the possibility of things being otherwise.

Heart by Rick Campbell on American Life in Poetry

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry on Bill Moyers site. (solace)

Famous by Naomi Shihab Nye on The Poetry Foundation site. (celebrating the ordinary)

The Teacher  by Billy Collins on The Poetry Foundation site. (the afterlife)