Poetry is an art form of composed thoughts being laid out in unheard harmony. Words can be coated with emotion and feeling or analysis, even. Feelings float onto paper or through words spoken in mid-air. Whatever the poem might be about, the words make us think, the words also make us feel. The order of thoughts brings us to where the poet might be in a certain place in their heart. Poetry unearths treasure from within and bares it in broad daylight. To honor World Poetry Day last March 21, we've rounded up a couple of pieces that just might spark your literary interest or make you want to take the stage:
1. "Masks" by Shel Silverstein. Author of The Giving Tree book Shel Silverstein shows in this short and sweet poem the importance of accepting who you are. The poem, "Masks," tells of true blue skin and how people refuse to remove the masks they wear but in doing so, lose out in getting to know others. If we remove our masks, others may be encouraged to remove theirs as well.
"She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through.
Then passed right by–
And never knew."
2. "Kundiman" by Emman Lacaba. Poet warrior, Emman Lacaba ("Eman" to those closer to him), had a unique way of expressing himself through poetry. In his poems about his country, his rage and sorrow fumed while he lived but he also wrote some romantic and funny short poems as well, like this one.
Ang sabi mo pula ang paborito mo.
Ang sabi ko puti ang paborito ko.
Kagabi nang tayong dalawa'y nagkita,
nakapula ako at nakaputi ka.
You said red is your favorite.
I said white is my favorite.
Last night when both of us saw each other.
I was in red and you were in white.
3. "An Origin Story" by spoken word poets Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye. Despite all the cute coincidences about who they are and how they met, they stress strongly to audiences that they are just friends and there's nothing less special about it than if they were lovers.
4. "Sonnet XVII" by Pablo Neruda. It is one of the greatest love poems ever written, articulating intimacy and tenderness at the same time. We first encountered this poem when it was bittersweetly being shared by actor Robin Williams in his role in the movie Patch Adams, and in the end recited in full during a very sad moment in the film. A simplified translation was also cutely recited by Ian Veneracion and Bea Alonzo on A Love to Last, and we couldn't help but be moved at how both their characters shared a special moment in realizing they both know the poem (fast forward to 2:28 in the video!)
"I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep."
5. "Daffodowndilly" by A.A. Milne. The Winnie-the-Pooh author is more known for his stories about the yellow bear and his other animal friends. English author A.A. Milne also has a teeming collection of short stories and poems for children about delighting in ordinary life.
"She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
'Winter is dead.'"
6. "10 Things I Hate About You." The bittersweet poem recited by Julia Stiles from the movie still gives many people the millennial feels of being misunderstood by your crush... who is also your friend. At the end, you just want to give her a big hug and push Heath Ledger, as cute as he is, into a pool.
"I hate the way you talk to me
And the way you cut your hair
I hate the way you drive my car
I hate it when you stare
I hate your big dumb combat boots
And the way you read my mind
I hate you so much that it makes me sick
It even makes me rhyme
I hate the way you're always right
I hate it when you lie
I hate it when you make me laugh
Even worse when you make me cry
I hate the way you're not around
And the fact that you didn't call
But mostly I hate the way I don't hate you
Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all."
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