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An Invitation to Poetry

Poetry speaks to our soul in a way that prose does not.  Poems can be good medicine for the soul.  Poet Phyllis Cole Dai has written that “eating one poem can save you if you’re hungry enough”.  Poet Muriel Rukeyser says “The invitation to poetry is to bring your whole life to this moment.”   Here you will find poems of mine as well as from others.  I suggest that you choose a poem to live with for a week or so.  Read it over and over, learn it by heart, share it with others.  The US poet laureate, Billy Collins, once said that everyone should write a poem once a day.  That invitation started me on a journey of writing my own poetry.  Why not give it a try?  Here you will find poems that have meant something to me, poems that I have learned by heart or written by heart.  Here is a poem of mine about how to read a poem.

How to Read A Poem

Let it find

the cracks in you.

Let it flow into the dry

riverbed of what is parched

in your life.  Let it purr

into your deaf ear.

Let the poem threaten

some of your cherished


Get mad at it.  Realize

it gives you indigestion

at the same time

it shines a light

on a corner of you

that you swept under the rug.

Take it out dancing.

Let it sing to you.

Dare to show it your tears.

But don’t hold it

close to your chest.

Copy it.  Say it.

Give it to friends.

Hide it in bushes.

Put it in the folds

of your mother’s apron.

Let it take wings

in someone else’s life too.

But first,

learn it  by heart

so you can have it


Poets I like;


Ellen Bass

Raymond Carver

 Billy Collins

Barbara Crooker


Jane Hirshfield

Marie Howe

Ted Kooser

Denise Levertov

Dorianne Laux

Alison Luterman

John O’Donohue

Mary Oliver

Marge Piercy


Pat Schneider

Wislava Szymborska

Naomi Shihab Nye

Lynn Ungar

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

David Whyte

If you would like to receive one of my own poems each week by email, let me know by signing up  here.

Consider signing up to receive a poem everyday via email from Panhala  (just send an empty email to this address from your email account). 


Also the Center for Mindfulness at the Univ. of Calif. San Diego has links to dozens of poems used in its Mindfulness-Based stress reduction program. 

And, the very best poetry book I know of that contains contemporary thoughtful, spiritual poems is;  Poetry of Presence:  An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, edited by Phyllis Cole-Dai and Ruby Wilson.


Check the archive page in the menu for poetry writing prompts.

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