Ever since people started talking to one another, they’ve explored the power of words.  The power of LOGOS (the Word) has been the fundamental foundation for building a religion, a culture, a movement, a life.

Words can move you.  Words can move other people.  That’s probably why everybody talks so much.


Remember the Biblical Tower of Babel?  According to the story, the people on earth got together and decided to build this great tower that would reach into Heaven itself.  They figured they could be like little gods if they did that.

They were planning to invade and trespass into God-country.  The Big Guy got mad that they even dared to make that attempt.

“Tower of Babel” by ellenm1 via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]
So, how did the Dude punish them?  He made it so they began to speak in all kinds of different languages.

All of a sudden, there was a major obstacle to collaboration and cooperation.  You can’t work together if you don’t understand what the other person is saying.

The project was abandoned.

Of course, that also meant that folks had a harder time just living together peacefully, but that’s another story….


Poems are an especially powerful form of word-use.  Poets distill their thoughts down to their essence, throwing away all the parts that interfere with their dance with the words.

Poems are like the essential oils of the Word World.  It takes an incredible number of rose petals to make an essential oil.  Imagine.  It takes 10,000 POUNDS of petals to make one pound of rose oil.  Each little 5mL bottle contains the essence of 105 pounds of petals.

“a rose” by Hans Splinter via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]

Have you ever tried opening one of those teeny bottles of essential rose oil?  Wow!  One sniff and your nose transports you into the best enclosed rose garden there ever was.


In this 2013 TEDxMarin video, “The Power of Poetry”, leadership coach and teacher Dale Biron, who combines poetry with martial arts, leadership, and life-strategy, in his speaking, coaching and workshop sessions for business conferences, organizational retreats and university classes, talks about how great poems are like powerful “apps” for the mind.

Biron says poems can be “good stories with the boring parts removed.”  He believes in the power of poems to get you to a life worth living.


Touring spoken word poet Phil Kaye has won many awards in his career so far.  He’s currently a co-director of Project V.O.I.C.E. (Vocal Outreach Into Creative Expression).

The Project, it says here, is “a national movement that celebrates youth self-expression through Spoken Word Poetry.”  They aspire to encourage young people to use Spoken Word Poetry as a tool “to explore and better understand their culture, their society, and ultimately themselves.”

When Kaye was still a student at Brown University, he participated in and eventually  became the coordinator for the college’s S.P.A.C.E. (Space in Prisons for the Arts and Creative Expression) prison initiative program.

The University students, unpaid volunteers all, offer a variety of weekly art workshops at the Rhode Island Adult Correction Institutions (ACI).  Phil did workshops about spoken poetry.

(S.P.A.C.E. also facilitates workshops in the Providence Center, a residential recovery service provider located on the campus of the ACI.)

Kaye developed a keen appreciation for the power of poems during the time he taught weekly poetry workshops in maximum-security prisons.  In this TEDxFoggy Bottom video, “Poetry in Maximum Security Prison,” he talks about that time in his life and how it has influenced his life-direction.

Kaye’s journey has led him to venues all over the world from the Lincoln Center in New York City to the Malthouse Theater in Melbourne Australia.  His work has been viewed online over five million times and has been featured in media outlets ranging from National Public Radio to Al Jazeera America and Upworthy.com.

In 2011, Kaye published a well-received book of his poetry, A LIGHT BULB SYMPHONY.

One of Kaye’s favorite life high-points was being asked to perform alongside His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama during the beloved teacher’s 80th birthday celebration at the 2015 Global Compassion Summit conference in Anaheim.


In my own life, poems have been my way to get back to clarity about a life-situation or about my own self.  Writing down and recording all the moving parts is like taking a step back from them so I can get a better handle on the whole mish-mash of chaos and confusion.

Sometimes, a hole opens up in the clouds and a light shines through.  Sometimes not.

“clouds” by Daniel Boyd via Flickr [CC BY-2.0]
I keep working on it.  Sometimes I get a whole bunch of poems.  Sometimes nothing.

It’s all process….

Here’s a poem:


Nothing comes together.

This poem is not going well.

The words keep turning pale.

They fade, they float away.

They stumble around looking confused.




I let loose my Sergeant Major

Who growls at these clueless bo-bo recruits.

They keep stacking themselves this way, that way.

They keep falling over, all in a heap.

A horrible mess.


These words have forgotten how to weave, it seems.

They’ve lost the knack of bending and turning themselves

Into a shapeliness that lightly dances.

All they’re doing now is tripping all over themselves,

Faltering and flailing wildly.


Maybe they’ve contracted some runical laxness…

A touch of lyrical amnesia, perhaps,

Or maybe some versical repression.

They are limp, they are flawed.

They are a bunch of lazy bums!


Maybe I’ve stumbled upon a stash of leftover bits —

Just coagulated lumps of airhead thoughts,

Neither highly expressive nor particularly rhythmical.

A deadly dud-ness.



Ah well…maybe they just need to rest.

See ya later, guys.

I’m gone….

by Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  “garden poem” by Julie Gibbons via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it take you….)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below and tell me your thoughts.





36 thoughts on “POEM POWER

  1. Holy Moly Netta!

    Your writing is so beautiful, it moves to tears!!!!!

    I’ve enjoyed this so much, and I’ve got to admit, I’ve taken a nosey at your blog, and lost a good few minutes just soaking in the poetry – so gorgeously profound!
    Thank you so much for sharing your calling with us, I feel so privileged to have come across your work.

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Jacquie:

      Thanks for the visit and for looking around.  I appreciate your kind words. 

      Please do come again!

  2. Hi Netta,
    I love the way you explained the gift of tongues. You made it so simple, it’s not hard for a nonbeliever to comprehend. I like the way you involved the scripture. Awesome work and may the Lord bless your site.

    1. Hey Linda:

      Thank you for your visit, for sharing your thoughts and for the blessing! I do appreciate it. Please do come again….

  3. Mei Scarlet says:

    Hi there! I love the way you write!

    I also can attest to how therapeutic it can be to write in poems. I’ve tried journaling before… but I always get bored of writing the details.

    I’ve struggled with mental health issues for a long time… and in recent years, I’ve discovered how awesome it is to write my feelings in poems. It allows me to step back and take in how I am feeling from a new perspective. Even though, I wrote it – I always see things differently and gain insight!


    1. Hey Mei Scarlet:

      Thanks for the visit and for sharing your story.  I agree.  When you’re lost in the chaos and confusion, getting to clarity is made a heck of a lot easier by playing with poems.

      Please come again….

  4. Jamiro Hazel says:

    The introduction was very amusing. Poems are beautiful, and perfect for any occasion. I like the fact that it was explained on the website. It can actually be considered art, and an expression of emotions through word. It’s nice to have a website where you can find famous poems and at the same time, try to learn more about it. 

    1. Jamiro, thanks for your visit and for your comments.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again….

  5. Lok Which says:

    Woow!! The world really needs to hear you, the way you articulate words are so intriguing and so appealing. I’m really moved by this piece of poetry poem power. In our tongues lies life and death we choose one to prockaim and give. Thanks for choosing to give life to people. I pray ypur work gets enough exposure it deserves 

    1. Welcome back, Lok Which.  Your kind words make me smile.  Thank you.

      Please do come again….

  6. Antoinette Song, PhD says:

    Hello Netta,

    Your post is very captivating. Yes indeed, words are powerful because they are the expression of the soul. I am not very about poem, but I am very sensitive of the the power behind expressed words with passion like in poems.

    Reading about the Tour or Babel made me remember the tragic outcome of the first community project presented in the Bible. Indeed, words shape the type of relationship between people because they are the first medium of communication. Because God is the Word, He used it as a weapon to confuse the people involved in the project.

    I was captivated by your post and the metaphor in the TEDxFoggy Bottom video. Great post.


    1. Antoinette, thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I’m intrigued by your seeing the Tower of Babel as the “first community project.”  I had to think, “She’s right!”  Us humans sure did blow it, huh?

      Please do come again….

  7. Phil Lancaster says:

    I was inspired by your story about Phil Kaye and his work in prisons.So often, our attitude to prisoners is to put them away and forget about them until they are released back into the community.Then shun them, so that the chances of their reoffending are high. Perhaps inevitable.And while some are just plain bad people, there are many who can be reached out to and just need some inspirational spark to move them in the right direction. Phil’s poetry and the giving of his time may be just that,And with gigs all over the world, from New York to Australia, along with the Dalai Lama’s birthday, he’s well qualified.

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Phil.  I do love Phil Kaye’s works.

      Please do come again….

  8. cjciganotto says:

    Hello Netta, 

    What a beautiful article related to the power of poems. 

    We need to understand them here is also the power of words and their infinite combinations. 

    As you detail the poems can be good stories with the boring parts removed. 

    I discover today writing articles I tell stories of my life always reaching my deepest dreams, an immense joy I feel in my heart. 

    Your article has made me reflect, thank you very much! 


    1. Claudio, thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I am glad that the post helped you reflect.

      Please do come again….

  9. Hello,

    First, I am inclined to agree with your perspective of spoken words, especially through poetry. It is not difficult to see our spoken words played out in front of us daily throughout the day. As you stated, words can move us, move other people, and I am in agreement and almost certain it is one of the main reasons why we talk so much.

    Very interesting history on the Biblical Tower of Babel, I briefly researched it, and it’s difficult to imagine at some point in our past years in history there was only ONE spoken language. The stories behind why there are so many different languages coming from the Biblical Tower of Babel can really describe a GREAT PUNISHMENT , the disarray in major proportions!

    It was easy to relate to  poetry when the words describe our senses and sensibilities. Spoken words can do that, describe a scent per-say without the presence of whatever gives out that fragrance.

    It made sense to me to know by Mr. Biron, although I didn’t know until reading your article that poetry is used in some businesses as a business tool. Poetry can motivate, organize, and as mentioned earlier move people.

    Same with now knowing that Mr. Kaye used the power of poetry in Maximum Prisons to encourage and inspire.

    Your poem titled “Unplayful Words” was a true depiction of words carefully chosen to describe the title of your poem, it had an earnest feel to it, well done!

    Thanks for the very interesting, educational and inspiring article!


    1. Diane, thank you for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I appreciate the time you took to be so thorough.

      Please do come again….

  10. Hope Getrude says:

    An inspiring post this is. I love how you creatively associated the biblical story of Babylon with poetry. 

    Communication is key and poetry breathes life into words, for instance, the phrase lyrical amnesia from your poem was just a nail straight on the head. 

    I love poetry because it brings clarity into simple words thanks for this post.

    1. Hope, thank you for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do appreciate them.

      Please do come again.

  11. Henderson says:

    Thank you writing this beauty on the power of words. I used to write poems as well before but I suddenly lost that urge to keep doing it. 

    I think I should pick my pen again and explore that angle and witness the power. 

    I love your poem that goes with this write up. Very nice Netta.

    1. Henderson, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  

      I encourage you to pick up that pen!  I stopped writing poetry for a while because I had the notion that it was just too self-indulgent or something like that (and, at the time, I was a bit harder on myself than I am now).  

      Then, one night, I went to a meeting of the Maui Live Poets and, surrounded by my fellow poetry fans, I whipped out a little ditty that was so joyous that I knew I had made a mistake when I stopped.  

      My Inner Poet woke up.  She never went back to sleep.  Yay!

      Hanging with other wordsmiths and other creative sorts seem to rev up the juices.  You might want to go looking for a tribe.

      Please do come again.

  12. My Online Startup Bootcamp says:

    In one of your clauses you stated that “a national movement that celebrates youth self-expression through Spoken Word Poetry.”
    Is that like when a person stands up on a stage surrounded by a captivated audience starting out in dead silence, only to find him/herself screaming out words that appeal to that one set audience in this wonderfully written masterpiece POEM POWER?

    To Your Success,


    1. Thanks for your visit and your question, $hawn.  “Spoken Word Poetry” is another name for performance or stage poetry (as opposed to page poetry).  

      It’s become a worldwide phenomenon….all those ordinary folks getting up in front of strangers and reading, reciting or performing their words.  It can be a lot of fun.

      Please do come again.

  13. Henderson says:

    Hello Netta, thank you for another round of beautifully written post. 

    I must say that I have really enjoyed it every step of the way. I don’t really know much about poetry except when we were taught about it in school. I know that it has been a form of art from ancient days. 

    Maybe I too can try and write and poem to witness the power it wields.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Henderson.  I do encourage you to try it.  It can be way, way cool — especially when you realize the effect a certain arrangement of words can have on other people, and on your own self.

      Please do come again.

  14. Zinzi Mdedetyana says:

    Hello Netta, your Papa, was correct, your page is an example of your ancestors whom you may not be aware of or perhaps have found and are in your world otherwise you would not have rediscovered your love for poetry. Please nurture that special gift and harness it and teach others who lack this awareness. 

    It (the universe and all its physical & non physical sources) is all around us, whether we believe it or not. It is always there and it gives & leaves us clues, if we can pay careful attention to these clues, all we have to do is act upon them. 

    Most times we are not aware and we lose hope we become helpless thinking or believing that nobody hears or cares. We might just as well give up, roll over and die. We give up too quickly before trying hard to find the answers which are staring us in the face, because we are not open we miss the trail.

    I like your poetry and how you have made it your own original thought (represents you) to share your gift with the world, so when will you have the courage and speak on Tedx, so that you can also share your special gift not only on that platform, but also write a book compilation of your journey and all your poems put together.

    Your page is well laid out and the videos, imagery, the words, it is like your have found & drawn your own picasso on a canvas. 

    Thank you for sharing this with us for your gift and I am privileged & honoured to have been part of visiting your site. I wish you all the best in your journey. 

    1. Zinzi, thank you for visiting and exploring my site and for leaving such kind words.  I do appreciate them.

      Hee!  You give me a great challenge, dude!  TEDx talk?  Oooh…boy!

      I am working on an e-book.  

      Thanks again for your thoughts.  

      Please do come again….

  15. I’m a very good lover of poems, let me say written contents generally.  

    It makes me explore the best of my abilities in analysing and also it gets me motivated and pushed to so more of that which I truly appreciate. 

    This is a nice poem, thanks for sharing it, it’s very resourceful.

    1. Hanness, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  Other people’s poetry does give you glimpses into other people’s worlds that can affect how you do your own walk.

      Please do come again.

  16. Lucas Moore says:

    This is indeed an amazing website and I want to commend the effort you have placed into coming up with this content. 

    I am a fan of poetry and I have learned a lot of personal lessons from reading through the creativity of persons as displayed through their poems. 

    Thanks a lot for promoting poem and the influence it has

    1. Lucas, thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do appreciate it.  I am pleased you like the website.

      Please come again.

  17. I also agree that poem is very powerful. It sticks with you more and it is just a powerful way to express your thoughts. You can find poems in every language that is known to men and I find that to be very interesting. 

    I had no idea that there is a poem workshop in prison. 

    I wish I can write a poem, I am terrible at it lol but I think that I am going to start today little by little and take it from there about my life as you did for your life as well. 

    Thanks for sharing all these wonderful information. 

    1. Nuttanee, as always, I do thank you for your visit and sharing your story.  I am glad the post inspired you to try writing poetry.  Just remember…it’s all practice!  You always are going to be junk before you get good.

      Please do come again.

  18. I have also found that there is a lot of comfort and understanding to be gained from both writing and reading/experiencing poetry. I love that it’s just as acceptable to free-form thoughts from the abstract into a story (or observation or musing on life ) as it is to write structured haiku or rhyming iambic pentameter. 

    Thanks for sharing your latest and offering some inspiration to others. 

    1. Hey Aly, welcome back!  I do enjoy poetry and I’m glad you do too.

      Please keep on coming back….

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