THE POWER OF POETRY

POWER OF POETRY #124: GOODNESS OLANREWAJU AYOOLA

Poetry is power. This cannot be over-emphasized; especially for those of us whom it has given the ability to undo words into a language of our own meaning: collectively or individually. 

That power also lies in the fervency that comes with its devotion.

You see poetry in everything: in nuances, in branches swaying in the gentle breeze, in the laughter of children, in the mirror, in the rustling of leaves, in the taxi, in the news, in the sermon, behind a glass window listening to the whistling of the wind, in the music playing from a transistor radio, in the quietness of dark, atfirst light, on an empty road, in the fragments of a broken glass, in love, in grief, in watching your son/daughter sleep into your arms, virtually in everything, in dreams. There is always something to respond too.

Poetry takes you everywhere: the vastness in the diversities of intents, the expanse of thoughts, which I find very remarkable and powerful. Such that the ground does not constitute an impediment, the air is limited for the breath of your expanse. You are constantly creating or re-creating, in the finesse of language, while you sit within the radius of the pen trapping into the soul of the god of your own making.   

There is no going back once you lend your heart to the art. In the words of Patricia Smith, “when you have convinced yourself to become a witness”, there is no escape. I have had friends who had once given up on poetry at some point (mostly because of constant rejections), but ended up coming back to it. The thing is no matter how you run, that moment you are given to the art of poesy, you are forever given. You are haunted for life. That is the power of poetry!

The force is incredibly elevating; it finds you available; readiness activated. Suffice to say that the essence of poetry seeks not first the glory of flight; it is, first and foremost, purposeful. 

It comes to feed that urge to express, to give a voice, an urgent one at that, to the ravaging silence, to give life to the roaming deadness. And while you are consumed by this power, so abundantly resident in poetry, there is no feeling of pain, but that of relief— peace at its peak. 

Isn’t that an amazing power!

Peace: such that quickens your soul at every moment. Peace experienced out of the joy of having answered that single desire to witness.

Poetry is healing, and again, that is power!

Therapeutic in all its truthfulness, through poetry, many have been able to weather the storm, I am a living witness. Recently, I lost one of my bosses at work. It was a very painful loss. I was so disturbed that I was unable to do anything worthwhile: my thoughts became so conflicted, so much that I struggled to put myself together. I started losing focus, rapidly. So what did I do? I wrote him a poem: a tribute, and there and then, I was relieved. Yes, the pain is still there, but not as intense anymore. 

The beautiful thing about this power of healing is that in the poetry of others, we find healing too: one is able to live through one’s challenges through others’ honesty of thoughts. The purity and potency of poetry allow us to piece together our fragments into a whole new beautiful masterpiece. 

The power of poetry gives you confidence. 

It makes you feel safe; that you are on a right track. You find an essence—a sweet burden, a delightfulness— unafraid to stretch your skin and make rooms for burdened souls, like you, to find light.


Goodness Olanrewaju Ayoola is an award winning Nigerian poet and teacher of English who reaches out to poetry as escapism from the contentions within and around him. He has poems in Glass, Dust Poetry, Konya Shamsrumi, The Blue Nib and elsewhere. He is a Best of the Net Award Nominee and author of Meditations (WRR, 2016).

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