Poetry (ancient Greek: ποιεω (poieo) = I create) is an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to, or instead of, its notional and semantic content. It consists largely of oral or literary works in which language is used in a manner that is felt by its user and audience to differ from ordinary prose.

That’s the official definition of poetry, but poetry can mean so many different things to different people.  You can emote with a certain piece and create images in your mind’s eye.

Often, people who are religious turn to their faith to find words of comfort or inspiration (and please don’t get me wrong, there are some wonderful examples of this), but for me personally, as a Humanist, I turn to my poetry books.

I have often found that certain pieces of poetry feel like they have been written for me or about a situation I identify with.  I suppose it can depend on your mood, or the context in which the piece is being delivered for.  Poems frequently are relied on for their effect on imagery, word association, and the musical qualities of the language used.  The same poem can have different meaning depending on the situation.

There are quite a few people who feel poetry doesn’t suit them, or is too ‘fuddy duddy’ or old fashioned for them, but there are some wonderful words and emotions conveyed by some fabulous people; ranging in age, circumstance and context.  They can have a serious element, be so sad that they make you cry, be so hilarious that you are laughing out loud or be pure fantasy and allow you to get lost in someone else’s imagination.

My recommendation is, if you find a piece that you identify with, keep a note of it, it may come in handy one day when you are lost for words or if you want to convey an emotion or idea and are struggling to put it in your words.

My two favourite poems, one for a wedding ceremony and one for a funeral service (two very different occasions), are;

(A poem perfect for celebrating a Marriage)

THE RECIPE OF LOVE

The recipe of love must always include
Some herbs and spices for fortitude;
A tablespoon of forgiveness –
A clove of loyalty –
A cup of faith –
And a sprig of honesty;
A pinch of patience –
A teaspoon of trust –
A cup of friendship –
And a bit of lust?;
Mix all these herbs and spices well –
No other recipe could ever excel;
Add Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name for proper effect;
Then salute the whole in two cups of respect.

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(A suitable poem for saying goodbye)

LOVE LIVES ON

Those we love remain with us,
For love itself lives on,
And cherish’d mem’ries never fade
Because a lov’d one’s gone.

Those we love can never be
More than a thought apart,
For as long as there is memory
They’ll live on in the heart.

We are always looking to hear what other people’s favourite poetry or readings are so if you’d like to share your favourite with us please get in touch.

For more of our favourite poems have a look here.

By Morag Webster