The trace of poetry
By Dunya Mikhail
Special to Prometeo
The gesture that poetry makes in the world is similar to the trace of the butterfly, delicate but powerful. Will this gesture be able to stand in the face of catastrophes? I am not sure, but one movement of a wave might cause an impact in the next wave giving the whole sea that new pure experience under the sun. The human spirit is alienated due to the continuous violence in the world. We feel alone but also together in our alienation, and the huge light that is radiated by poetry is a sign towards an unclaimed communication.
On personal level, poetry saved my life, not in the metaphorical way, it really did. It is written in my Iraqi passport that my profession is “poet.” That helped me leave my country when time was critical and paper work complicated. I would need a leave of absence from my work and that would require then huge paper work and prolonged time while every minute then mattered. As a “poet”, you don’t need a “leave of absence” from anywhere! It was for the sake of freedom of writing that I left, but poetry, in return, gave me the freedom to leave and to live.
Because of poetry, I never felt in exile. Poetry has been always my country, and when I read other poets I feel that I know them as if they were my neighbors. The first emotional connection I was able to make in my new place (America) was the moment I went back to writing. That very moment you make semantic and semiotic sense of the world and thus you are accompanied by others (the loved and the loving others), not only poets, but everybody.
Published on June 15th, 2012.