“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” ~ Plutarch.
Poetry is for the weak, the tired, the sad, the lonely and the ones searching for something bigger than ourselves. It’s also for those blissfully lost in love or fumbling with lost loves.
Poetry is the magical medicine that’ll bring us back to life, just as much as a morning walk will reawaken our doldrums.
On a recent morning, I found these words of graffiti (see the above picture) on an overpass: “There used to be a cool poem here.”
Sure, walking across the bike overpass isn’t really my favorite part, so I usually often hurry over it. However, on this day, I noticed an elderly couple stopping to look at the wall. I smiled at them as they walked past me, and paused to see what it was they were looking at—the graffitied wall.
I wondered about the lines of love poetry covered by the gray paint.
It got me thinking—why aren’t there more poetic lines along these ugly concrete walls? Why not spruce it up with bright colors and lively words?
So here are some lines of poetry that I’d love to see as graffiti, street art or community beautification projects:
Let’s start with Andrea Gibson in celebration of her birthday. She is a mind-blowing spoken word poet, who you need to watch in person or on YouTube.
“You never have the obligation
To quiet the hurricane
Within your chest.”
~ Andrea Gibson
I think all of Mary Oliver’s poetry should become street art, but this is the line to find while wandering through a city.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver
Drake is always point on when it comes to words, and his poetry would be awesome to find anywhere.
“don’t think. it
just feel, and if it
feels like home, then
follow its path.” ~ R. M. Drake
Audre Lorde was a warrior poet, who held the position of poet laureate of New York, before she passed away too early from cancer. Lorde’s writing often speaks to and from the heart.
“So, it is better to speak, remembering we were never meant to survive.” ~ Audre Lorde
Here’s a poem from one of my favorite Instagram poets.
make sense of
~ Christopher Poindexter
I could see these lines shining on a wall under the glow of a street lamp.
night chant. Into the city we
go. Close your eyes and strike
a blow. Light can be straight-
ened by its shadow. What we
break is what we hold. A sing-
ular blue note.” ~ Terrance Hayes
Marisa B. Crane is what I call a scroll-stopper in the Instagram world. Her poems would bring a true edge to any city space.
“Everyone wants to be the muse
but what they often fail
to realize is that they’ve
got to be the heartache,
too.” ~ Marisa B. Crane
Here’s a piece of The Prophet that speaks to all of us.
“Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.” ~ Khalil Gibran
If you don’t know of Gary Snyder, then you’ve gotta take a trip to the local bookstore. He was one of the Beat poets who followed a Buddhist-like path, and he is still alive and writing in his cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
“What my hand follows on your body
is the line. A stream of love
of heat, of light, what my
far snow-dappled Uintah mountains
is that stream
of power.” ~ Gary Snyder
Okay, I know this next bit of poetry is one of my mine, but I’d love to see it lighten up a deary sidewalk where jasmine grows nearby.
“I know you
are like a tattoo of jasmine blossoms
along the tips of my fingers,
if I scratch the surface
the fragrance will break free.”
~ Jes Wright
And, of course, who wouldn’t want to stumble upon Gregson’s words on a concrete wall?
know the secrets
we need to learn.
That it might take time,
it might be hard,
but if you just
you will find
to rise up.”
~ Tyler Knott Gregson
I’ll leave you with a snippet from one of the best love poems ever:
“I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.” ~ Pablo Neruda
Author: Jes Wright
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Author’s own.