A Challenge For You!

Ciao Amica Mia,

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t exposed to poetry while growing up. Instead our house was filled with music. My dad’s record collection was extensive, from the Big Band Era featuring crooners like Frank Sinatra, to Broadway tunes and opera. The walls of our home rang with the voices of Luciano Pavarotti, Steve and Eydie Gorme, Judy Garland, Willie Nelson, Louis Armstrong…

On the weekends friends and family gathered to what would today be considered Karaoke parties. Music appreciation was simply woven into the fabric of our family culture. And when my grandfather lived with us, you often heard him strumming the ukulele and singing off key in Italian.

Music of course is a form of poetry. Both are universal languages that touch the psyche and soul of the collective. And when they touch your individual soul’s journey, music and poetry have the power to crack your heart wide open.

The first time I began reading poetry in earnest was when I was gifted a collection of Robert Frost poems. Then as I became a dedicated student of yoga, I was introduced to poets such as; Mary Oliver, Rumi and Hafiz.

I remember in the early years of reading poetry and feeling intimidated. Often times thinking, “what the heck is the poet saying? What does she mean? What am I supposed to be feeling?”

Poetry invites the reader to explore a landscape of myth and metaphor. Once I learned to surrender into the poem itself, I realized a poem holds several layers of meaning depending on who the reader is and their life experience. And like a yoga pose, a poem could feel different and evoke emotions and meaning depending on the day and one’s mood.

I find poetry to be a refuge in these unsettling times. The poet often taps into the heart and consciousness of the generation in which it’s written. Writing a poem is also a way in which the writer transmutes and alchemizes her own angst and insight.

The poet, like the musician, steps into her vulnerability for all the world to see. She gives permission to the reader to say yes, damn, that’s exactly how I feel too. Or, I’ve never felt that way before. I feel …

Poetry takes the messiness of life and transforms it into holy ground.

Somewhere along the line I learned about Haiku, a style of traditional Japanese poetry that’s only three lines. The first line consisting of five syllables, second line seven syllables and the last line five syllables. In classical Haiku the first line includes something of nature.

One reason I love Haiku is its simplicity and structure. And for me, a writer who needs to slash away extraneous words, Haiku demands I cut back the weeds.

Beyond that Haiku is a mindfulness practice. You sit, observe the world around you and pause long enough to see with your heart. In such times as we’re living in, Haiku can be a balm for the spirit.

My invitation is for you to purchase a book of poetry. If you’re an avid reader already or a poet yourself, then treat yourself – and not a kindle read. I want you to experience tactile sensation of holding the book in your hands. To smell the paper and engage your senses as you turn each page.

Plus, I have a challenge for you on this Sacred Sunday. Get outside, take a walk and find a place to sit in solitude and stillness. If the temperature is too high, find a few beautiful photos and look at them through your inner eye.

Then…write a Haiku!

It’s easy peasy. Three lines. Five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables. Trust me, writing Haiku often feels like a good therapy or self-coaching session.

My wish for you is to surprise and delight yourself.

Then please join my Private Facebook page: Paulette Bodeman Breakaway and share your poem. We’re here to cheer you on!


Learning how to view your life as poetry is a cornerstone of living your legacy every day.

From the depth’s thoughts surge

The rushing river

Keys pounding furiously

With love, xoxo Paulette

p.s.10 poets I adore in no particular order, plus 1 I’ve recently fallen in love with:

Mary Karr

Mary Oliver

Maya Angelou

Maya Stein

Rupi Kaur

Joy Harjo

John O’Donohue

Ross Gay

David Whyte

Lenard Cohen


Jacqueline Suskin

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