How Poetry Can Support us in Good Times and Bad

"Poems are Wise and Timeless Tools That Can Help Us at Every State of our Life's Journey"—Dale Biron

Cecile and I attended an amazing poetry event at the Acqua Hotel at the edge of SF Bay in Mill Valley called, “A Fierce and Enduring Gratitude with Dale Biron.” The venue was the Acqua Hotel at the edge of SF Bay in Mill Valley, a setting that was equally poetic.
Dale is an exceptional poet, a leadership coach, adjunct professor at Dominican University. The program was sponsored by the Network for Grateful Living. The emphasis was on “How Poetry Supports the Happiness and Joy of Grateful Living in Good Times and Bad." The presentation was in honor of Biron’s longtime mentor and friend, Br David Steindl-Rast and his lifetime of work bringing grateful living to the world. Years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Br David, a Benedictine monk at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, who received permission from his abbot early in his life to study with some of the great Zen masters. He was kind, compassionate and very approachable.

Biron says, “Poems are wise and timeless tools that can help us at every state of our life’s journey, especially times of difficulty and loss, on our path back to gratitude, happiness and yes, even joy.” Biron has shared his poetry-inspired presentations at TEDx, The Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, as well as non-profit and business conferences nationwide.

After the event, we had a chance to speak about the poetic imagination. He autographed a copy of his book, "Do It With Poetry, Why We Do Our Daily Practices." One of Biron’s favorite poets is William Stafford, who once said: Everyone is born a poet, a person discovering how words sound…I just kept on doing what everyone starts out doing. The real question is: Why did other people stop?”

Back in the day, when I had transitioned out of medicine I found myself journaling, reading and writing mystical poetry and even took haiku poetry instruction at Hakone Gardens for a couple of years under the direction of Michael Dylan Welch, author of Becoming a Haiku Poet. He taught me how to appreciate the immediacy of the experiences, an aha!!!—Zen moments if you will. In the Spring of 1997, Hakone Views printed one of my poems. I humbly offer it here:

pink-lipped cherry blossoms
quiver in the morning breeze
my heart flutters

And in the late 90s one of my haiku poems was published in the deluxe 50th edition of the Basho* Festival Anthology,” that took place in Japan.Here is the English version as follows:

the bear fishes
flicking its paw
sprinkling the moonlight

*Basho was a 17th century haiku master born near Kyoto, Japan. Many of his revered poems are reproduced on monuments and traditional sites.