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Ann K. Frailey describes poetry's power to touch the soul in a way other genres cannot.

Poetry is not dead, as long as hearts are alive. When I was young, I avoided poetry, thinking it was obscure and hard to understand. Authors such as E. E. Cummings and Shel Silverstein brought children’s poetry to the modern scene, but I only connected to a few of their works. It wasn’t until I started sharing classic writers and their poetry with my kids, reading the poems aloud, that I started to comprehend the beauty of poetry and its universal connection to humanity. Despite my attraction, I held off writing poetry because I was uncertain of the proper structure required. Every form of writing I knew wore specific clothing according to the work it did. 

Formal essays and reports follow a rigid structure with very specific documentation to reliable resources. Even in my non-fiction work, The Road Goes Ever On, A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings, I had to follow guidelines for internal structure and source material in the footnotes. The My Road series was more relaxed, though they still required a rational premise and a relatable conclusion. My fiction work, whether historical-sci-fi novels or contemporary short stories, needed an internal structure tied to the character arcs. But poetry ignores the clothes, structures, and resources and reaches directly to the soul. 

Poetry has always been in a class by itself. Once I realized that the true treasure inside a poem was often unveiled while reading it out loud, I started practicing with words, speaking them to myself, singing them, playing with them in a whole new way. I discovered that rhymes work for me. I like their feel and sound. I enjoy the challenge of finding a word to rhyme with … that actually fits with a theme. But most importantly, I like how poems mean something even when they appear to be hanging upside-down from a tree branch. I love the sensation that in a poem I can’t really be wrong or out of style, stupid, or ignorant. Poems confound structures and defy boxes. I’m simply seeing with words. Feeling through words. Living inside words.




The mystical, magic of poetry is that, in their essence, they are essence. They bring to light the dim fears, hidden wounds, nervous hopes, and trembling dreams of our shared humanity. Cave dwellers probably comprehended poetic expressions in words or art, “lion fierce, bite sharp, terror strike.” And in the future, robots may rule our tech gadgets, but people have a tendency to react in a super-rational manner, bringing poems to life. Poetry can’t be systemized, regulated, or boxed up. As far as I am concerned, that’s a good thing.


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Poetry is not dead, as long as hearts are alive. #catholicmom


Poems such as "Truth of Loveliness," "Soul’s Birth in Morning Soil," and "Winter’s Irony" from my collection of poems in Hope’s Embrace reached out and, despite painful and depressing experiences, they broke through and whispered life-giving essences in my ear. They were also fun to engage, play with, and tap out in word form. Foremost, poetry is a spirit-growing experience. 

No matter how dark the days may get, what tyranny humanity may face, or the brokenness of our world, as long as poems are written and read, they prove, beyond any shadow of a doubt, our souls remain very much alive.

Copyright 2022 Ann K. Frailey
Images: Canva