Poetry is the fine art of using imagery to draw a response from the psyche. It dares us to think and to question beyond the boundaries of our perceptions; to go inside of ourselves to explore the richness of the inner world. As we are being immersed deeper and deeper, we flow unresistingly filling the spaces empty or unfound before. Music, dance, sculpture, painting and poetry are all just different ways to shape feelings, movements and experiences into something more tangible to then be seen and reflected upon. And as we do that, we get closer to the previously perceived distances within, which couldn’t be touched or seen otherwise; we allow ourselves to go beyond our own boundaries. When we define or categorize something, we can ultimately rob ourselves of its experience – so in this manner, no thing that is human-made would ever encompass the entirety of life itself. Words are very limited and yet the feelings that poetry creates are what allow us to travel beyond the definitions. It is a way to tune into life and the larger creation; demanding our full presence and attention, which is a responsible way to live. Poetry allows us the freedom and the choice to explore ourselves through our own perspectives; it’s an exploration of vision.
I rediscovered poetry a few years ago when I delved into Eastern philosophy, esoteric arts, mysticism and spirituality. I fell in love with the movement in stillness and the unsuspecting intimacy found in silence. I fell in love with the unnamed. I see poetry as the expression of mysticism and the mystic’s inner experience. By nature, a mystic is able to access a state of consciousness beyond the usual awareness and to embrace the unknown. Mysticism negates the rational as it explores what lies beyond the veil, which is similar to what seekers and philosophers do as well. And just like life itself, one day we realize that it is not merely enough to transcend the rational, but to allow for new awareness and perception to unfold through our bodies. I started writing poetry because I wanted to experience myself in a new way.
Growing up I loved writing long prose. It’d be a challenge for me to express myself in just a few words. I did find a poem that I had written in my diary when I was nine years old. It is actually quite philosophical in nature as in it I am questioning the meaning of life and what would be my contribution to this world when I grow up. Children are observers and their open-mindedness and curiosity is what allows them to question life, which is a meaningful thing. I imagine all children are mini poets and philosophers, even when they don’t know it yet. We often feel what is only later understood. In a way, I’ve always written even before I knew how to write. I think as children we often do this because it is a way to understand the world around us. We just sort of try to pick up pieces about who people are, what their situations are and why act the way that they act; we pick up pieces and make sense of life and the mysterious adults.
I’ve always loved the depth of the simple things. I am realistic about the big things and deeply romantic about the little things. Poetry challenges me to shape these universes into words. And as someone with infinite imagination and curiosity, I love the creation process. It is sort of like entering into a relationship with the otherworld; with the mystical and unseen, as if I am entering into liminality. You know these moments? Maybe it was a song on the radio or a dream that wraps around us for the entire day. Or a sudden feeling during our most ordinary moment of folding the laundry. And then it’s as if we enter a door through a feeling, scent, touch, thought or sensation. And it’s as if two worlds touch one another; as if they kiss and we’ve witnessed their love. And we find that love is not just felt in the hearts but it is known in the hands too; like ink on paper, engraved moment through time to offer us the magical potential of a door. These liminal experiences have their own terrains and lands, and they are never straight or direct. This is similar to ours. No matter how many man-made concrete roads we build, our life’s paths have many twists and turns. And that’s okay. It allows us the unknown white spaces where unexpected miracles can touch us. That’s the creative process; allowing life to unfold through our bodies and mould us naturally.
As creatives we listen and follow the melody on the very edge of our hearing and separate into many selves to enter imaginative landscapes from where we observe life and/or ourselves. As if in a dream, the scenes unveil and paths rise from our body parts: arms, legs, ears, nose and eyes. Some parts will trace movements along the hard edges beneath cotton shirts, while others chart the uncharted roads. Some parts are housekeepers weaving faithfulness of lace, while others follow instincts deep into the woods by the scent of vanilla. Poets are seekers who walk the leafy paths, following these many selves as our minds become the lighthouse of perception. The roads may appear and disappear but the soul of our feet will continue to walk anyway; weaving and spinning the ever-creating necklace stringing letters together. And stories unfold like braids of yarn. I love creating because it allows me to experience myself in ways I couldn’t otherwise. Poetry is like magic. The alchemists described magic as “the ability to turn lead into gold” or in other words, it is the ability to turn something mundane into extraordinary. This is what poetry does – it allows us to perceive the world in a different way and fall in love with it again. It turns the ordinary into extraordinary and this is the key to living a more fulfilled life.
And so in June 2019, I published my debut book, Moonhold; my very timid first try at poetry. As I now write my second book, I am definitely excited to experiment much more with language, metaphors and to push myself further. The title “moonhold” was my made-up word symbolizing how “the waning is always held by the waxing”. It is about holding space for life and love through all of the changing phases; about wholeness and acceptance. It’s an exploration of vision; it’s about perspectives. And this brings me back to what poetry means to me.
I think the higher meaning of poetry is its spiritual purpose.
Everything in life is a relationship and it’s all about perspectives. What is good for one may be unpleasant for another in the mutual exchange. Yet it is all of the oneness from which we all came from. When we connect the dots within our psyche, we build a bridge and a deeper connection within and without. Life has its own pulse. It inhales and exhales in its breath; it expands and withdraws in its chest, like the ebb and flow of waves. Like us. And each breath is needed, just as each aspect of life is purposeful. To see the face of God (or however else we’d like to name the higher consciousness or “the thing” we believe in that fills us with love), I think we’d need to accept all of his faces or rather life’s aspects. Sometimes there might be sad moments and sometimes there will be happy moments. We wear all of these on our face and yet it is still the same face that we loved yesterday. Sometimes we’ll know the reasons why something happens and sometimes we won’t – but we can’t pressure it to tell us why. We just hold the space. Even when we can’t see something, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. And as much as we’d like to know the answers to all of our questions (even those we haven’t asked yet), we are conditioned to the human existence and limited by our perceptions to fully understand or realize higher consciousness. We were never meant to know it all anyway – and learning to feel comfortable in the unknowingness is a humility to be treasured. This is something that poetry teaches us very well; that while it allows us to reach the bared bones of human condition with words, we are also allowed the undefined to be felt as we travel in the terrains of our psyche. We have the opportunity to step outside of our boundaries and limits by enriching the experience of our inner world. We also learn to accept the cycles of the land. No matter what is seen or unseen, there is always something shaping behind the scenes; something of meaning and worthy of our attention. Like how snowdrops grow in shades. Even in the emptiest and coldest of months, there is always something that spreads and weaves beneath the ground and will reach its hands through the soil for merging; tempted by water, tempted by air. Poetry allows us to hold space for life and its natural state of being, while continuing to be fully present to have the eyes to see and hearts to appreciate it. It’s immortal and life-sized, like love.
Having lived across three continents, Lubomira Kourteva is a Canadian author, writer, poet and humanitarian. After completing her graduate degree, she devoted her time towards international humanitarian work building empowerment and education development programs in marginalized areas worldwide to alleviate poverty. In 2019 she published her debut poetry book ‘Moonhold’ and created ‘Art of Love’ online publication dedicated to deepening our connections, so that we live more spiritually and emotionally fulfilled lives; exploring the wisdom and secrets of our ancestors and unveiling the beauty beyond the veil and within ourselves. She teaches and writes on relationships, wellness, mysticism and folklore. You can read more on https://lubomirakourteva.com