Putting the HIIT in Poetry

vintage boxing gloves image c/o: http://jenshede.com/2014/01/30/opening-lines/

Making poetry part of our daily exercise can be as compelling as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts.  Obviously, working different muscle groups but, I swear, the same burn can be there.  It can last a lot longer, too.

HIIT training workouts have become a popular fitness trend because they provide quick bursts of physical activity and adrenaline with optimal results in a short amount of time.

What are the terms that we hear with HIIT training?  Fire, heat, burn.  It hurts.  And people like that.  It seems an obvious answer to an urban lifestyle that can often numb the senses and one’s vitality.

In this modern society, the brain needs as much stimulation as the body to stay healthy. Diet and exercise help the brain but nothing like a daily dose of ‘huh?’  The most popular forms of poetry are sentimental, day calendar fillers and greeting card varieties. This might toast some bread, lightly, but it will not fire up your brain and may curdle your imagination.

Poetry isn’t easy on the brain.  The good stuff never is.  It’s meant to work the mind in the same way a good physical workout changes your muscles and organs in as little as a few lines of poetry.  Great creative literature compels the imagination to engage; it don’t work if you don’t.   Unfortunately, this kind of poetry is often met with, ‘I don’t get it — and never will.’  To that, please consider that we all can’t get to 60 burpees without starting at 10.

coffee and spoon image c/o: http://s1.1zoom.net/big0/386/Coffee_Cup_Spoon_Saucer_447630.jpg

A great hit of poetry can stun the mind into a whole new place for at least a moment or two.  It’s the same feeling one can get when running outside when one has passed being sore and annoyed.

A great hit of poetry is a beautiful image or idea to follow you for the rest of the day like a secret meditation place in your mind, reminding you of something bigger than your daily grind.

And every once in a while, you will get the best result, which is, you will meet a poem, a workout, that changes you – for better, not worse; transformation over mutation.  (Hey, I admit, there is dark literature that grows nothing but fear and other nasty things – and often written with the best intentions.  However, that is for another blog.)

I’ve said it before that poems make great friends, the best ones, that when you find them, will stick with you for the rest of your conscious life; always ready for you if you just open them.

There is so much of this poetry out there.  I am often surprised at just how much great poetry has been written by our species.  The irony is that until these poems are found and read, they remain so quiet and dormant, when in fact they are bursting with vitality and our humanity.

This next poetry video, for the lyw YouTube channel, features clips to give the mind and imagination some challenging sport.  I tucked in an old poem called, A Windhover, into this video.  It’s extremely dramatic. When read on its rhythm, and with feeling, it is a thrilling ride.  I hope nobody comes down on me for rendering the whole poem.  It’s so enchanting that it feels like spell-casting. I didn’t want to leave anything out.  I think everybody should feel this poem.

Thanks for reading this blog.  I hope you enjoy this video:

© lyw

a reliable friend in poetry


A good, solid friendship is a lot like poetry; that kind of thing that is difficult to fully appreciate until one really, and often accidentally, benefits from it, and then, it becomes worthy of headline news and daily study.

Poetry on friendship,  however, is often over-loaded with too much sentiment, and like too many sweets, can hide the goodness that should be there – in fact, it can make a poem feel like it lacks substance – and that should never happen when writing about a friend.  Having and being a good friend is not just sweet but essential to healthy, human success.

In this week’s poetry video on the lyw channel, we celebrate poetry that values reliable friendship — friendship that not only provides sweetness, but protein, good fatty acids, and bitter healthy greens. This video is also a great way to balance the poetry on war and strife that was discussed in the last blog on this site.

Slide2Creating a video compilation of poetry on friendship, even in fragments, was a challenge.  Most of what I found on the internet was of the greeting-card variety — very generic and easy to apply.  Poems on friendship, like other ‘sentimental’ poems, are the hardest poems to write well because of the over-abundance of sentiment, similes and the need to explain in prose.  i.e. ‘I love you because you’re great… etc., etc., etc.’

Now I realize my ideas of what makes a great poem is not universal.  As well, poetry found on-line, on any subject, is limited.  However, it makes me sad that I found more great poems on the subject of war than great poems on friendship, in my biased internet research.

Slide3I began crafting this video with Maya Angelou’s, ‘A Conceit,’ for its warmth balanced with strength and clarity.  Then, I invoked a little T.S. Eliot, as well as a fragment from one of my favourite friendly poets, Robert Burns, even though I have difficulty understanding his Scottish English.  It is easy to understand his warmth, vitality and poetic eye for what he values most in his life.  He aims his poetry very specifically and with a robust heartfelt vigour.  I also featured a sample from Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market poem.  Although this poem doesn’t directly address friendship very often, the heroism in the poem is an act of profound love and friendship.

Thank you for reading this blog.  Please click on the link to enjoy the latest video compilation on the lyw Youtube channel celebrating of poetry on friendship:

I would also like to invite poets to submit poetry celebrating a friend or friendship to this blog site, ‘a reliable friend.’  It is an old blog site that was originally created to celebrate a friend arriving at her 40th birthday and reinvented in an effort to continue building an on-line library of poetic friendship strong enough to hold any kind of front-line.






Image Sources:

Three Red Rambutan Fruit Trees Are Hanging – http://www.hbr-online.com/2014/10/tiga-buah-rambutan-merah-tergantung-di-pohon-pid-124.html

“Die landschaft mit den drei baeumen” by Rembrandt – http://www.reproarte.com : Home : Info : Pic. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Die_landschaft_mit_den_drei_baeumen.jpg#/media/File:Die_landschaft_mit_den_drei_baeumen.jpg

Arthur Rackham illustration of ‘the Goblin Market’: c/o https://www.pinterest.com/pin/237142736598747301/