We need healers of the soul as much as healers of the body.
The greatest poets, musicians and artists are such healers. They give us solace in our pains and fortify our minds in the face of injustices; they challenge our prejudices, make us feel our joys more deeply and widen our empathy. They enable us to lead our brief lives more beautifully and meaningfully.
Our latest theme explores the role of poets, and the sacrifices they endure to complete their works. Verlaine likens the poet to a solitary climber of mountains, and Hugo compares him or her to a lion emerging from the shadows of a jungle. They all remind us that poems should not cease to speak to us when we close our books (or screens perhaps) – but that they should slowly mature in us like olives which, when pressed, bestow a golden oil.
There is no poetry without music or imagery. In this theme, the moving Catalan folk song El Cant Dels Ocells, the Sephardic piece Secretos Quero Descuvrir, and Stravinsky’s Firebird accompany the poems with incredible beauty. Works by Van Gogh, Jusepe de Ribera, the Douanier Rousseau, Rembrandt and Manet illustrate them.
All these works recognise that poetry is not a luxury but a necessity, and call upon you, reader, to uphold and raise it – in Whitman’s words,
Leaving it to you to prove and define it,
Expecting the main things from you.
London, 21 March 2015
Our selection of poetry, music and art for all five weeks of this theme is available by clicking on the tabs above or through the links below:
To find out more about Five One, please click here.