Tonia Peckover: Why Poetry?

In April, I began exploring the reason for poetry. I’ve invited a few guests to enter the conversation, to try and find the collective answer to the question, “why poetry?” (Read all “why poetry?” guest posts, here.) Today, I’ve asked Tonia Peckover to stop in and share her answer.

Tonia has been writing a great deal of poetry at her place these days, and it is extraordinary. She is an amazing writer, a semi-vegetarian Oregonian, and an enthusiast of simple living. I hope you enjoy Tonia’s words as much as I do. When you’re finished reading, visit StudyInBrown for more of her poetry.


Why poetry?

Because maybe it happens to you: the small shimmer that puzzles at the corner of your eye. Ordinary day, the playground with your kids, or about to pull open the door to your house, and there it is: just a glint where you don’t expect it. Enough to make you turn your head and search the lonely swing set, or the driveway, the hump of shadows near the alley, for the barely seen glimmer of movement, never there.

Poetry is the camera for capturing that.

Or perhaps you have one of those dazzling hours when your mind has hold of some oblique thought, an elusive idea that all at once took shape like a wreath at the end of some old timer’s pipe, and frantic, you take your pen and try to give it words, hope somehow your pen will carve the shape of epiphany, or genius, and find instead it has scrawled down the memory of a wreath, now an egg, now a horseshoe, now a curve, now… gone.

Poetry is the language for writing that.

Or maybe you’ve faced a length of days like a chain of unanswerable questions, each one linked to another, unbreakable mystery, each one waking in you a terrible hunger for certainty, a thirst to know, a driving need to apprehend and solve, to label and catalog, to categorize and conquer, file away forever the shadowed places that persist.

Poetry is the rest from that.

Why poetry?

I have stopped for a moment because
there is a glimmer at the corner of my eye,
something bright and careful,
like the scales of a minnow who just caught a shaft of the sun
and slipped over to dive down deep,
bringing with him into darkness a minuscule treasure,
the barest sliver of another world,
a tiny relic,
like a shard of gilded pottery
dug from the mud,
a memory from an ancient earth,
just a shimmer
or a smoke ring,
a question,
to tell them
there have been others
who dreamed
and swam high.

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  • Haha! I love it. This is the best description of me yet. My semi-vegetarian self thanks you. 😉

    • sethhaines

      Well… I did take it directly from yesterday’s comment. 🙂

      This is a wonderful piece, Tonia. Thanks for sharing it. Really.

  • pastordt

    LOVE this, Tonia. Every single word. I’m so happy to find you here – to find you anywhere, my friend! Because I’ve subscribed to your lovely blog, several times in fact, and yet I never get a thing in the inbox anymore. This writing? Pure gift. Thank you so much.

    • Oh Diana, I KNOW! It’s so frustrating. I wish I knew why that feed won’t publish for some people. If I only had a tech-brain.

      Thank you though for reading and being so kind.

  • Bonnie King

    Wow, Tonia! You managed to do it! To grab that glimmer and make it hold still long enough to describe it for those of us whose words fail us. Thank you!

    • Thank you, Bonnie! Soon as I wrote it, it all started slipping away again…I’m glad you could still see it. 🙂

      • kimberly

        Her glimmers and shimmers are often the highlights of my day.

  • John D Blase

    I like these all words very much, Tonia…yet this was the glimmer that caught my eye – ‘the barest sliver of another world’ – thank you!

  • Even Tonia’s prose reads like poetry. One of my favorite corners of the Internet to feel goodness and beauty and pain and wonder and challenge all in one place. Sometimes even in one post. I wish I could get my poetry mojo working, but I just can’t. Fits and starts. Am trying, at the very least to READ more of it.

    • (((you))) When you get your mojo, let me know girl. Reading is the biggest step towards it. I’m cheering you on!

  • Holly

    Tonia, this is exactly it. When I open my eyes each day and take in all that is moving and breathing and finding meaning THIS is how I see it. And I guess I’ve always thought that everyone looked at things the same way and that their minds and hearts were articulating it all just so. But the more I write the more I find that the poet really does wear a different lens. And I sure do love the view from yours. Thank you.