Scattered Petals is a collection of poetry gathered together to provide encouragement and a sense of hope during times of difficulty, and to provide reminders and re-affirmations during times of ease. I was inspired with the idea to put this book together after going through a very difficult time in my life, and when the storm was over, I felt the strong urge to share hope with others, especially women because we, as mothers, daughters, wives and sisters, tend to be on the front lines when the storms come. Below is an excerpt from the introduction of the anthology which is comprised of poems by writers from diverse walks of life.
Poetry has always been a comfort for me. There’s something about the deliberate nature of creating poetic verses that I find beautiful and reassuring when things appear to be hopeless. Life can be difficult, and during some of the most difficult times in my life I’ve found comfort, strength, and inspiration to move forward by writing and reading poetry. And this is why I’ve compiled Scattered Petals. I wanted to share the gift that poetry can be in our lives with others.
Recently I listened to a YouTube lecture entitled What Does The Future Look Like by an Islamic leader and scholar named Hamza Yusuf and although the entire lecture was filled with pearls of wisdom, a few things stuck out to me that I thought would be perfect for including in the introduction to this collection.
During the opening remarks of the lecture, Sheikh Hamza said, “we’re losing a sense of beauty,” and it hit me! That is it! I couldn’t agree with him more. Our fast-paced modern world, despite the fact that it is now filled with social media networks and smart-phones where we are able to connect with other people and cultures all around the world like never before in history, is constantly bombarding us with random images and streams of endless information that is often riddled by so much negativity and ugliness that it can be shocking. More times than not beauty is relegated to superficial concepts tied to corporate brands and marketing rather than to that which is truly beautiful. Rather than being tied to the principles of kindness, generosity, patience, love, gratitude . . .
Sheikh Hamza goes on to say, “The most beautiful thing that human beings have is language and the most beautiful language that we have historically was poetry. And every culture is built upon poetry.”
He then mentions poets of Western History like Homer, Shakespeare and Robert Frost, and I’m reminded of modern poets such as Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou – poets whose words have touched my life and consciousness – and I think, yeah, I get that. Language is one of the gifts that civilizations are built upon and poetry is indeed a beautiful reflection of language. He also says, “That’s something that our modern education – [something that] is very often lost on people: the importance of embedding meaning in language. Poetry is difficult to understand because it teaches people how to meditate on meaning.”
After hearing that last statement I almost wanted to entitle this anthology Meditation On Meaning. What a profound way of looking at poetry and the effect that it can have upon a person, and upon society as a whole. We tend to use language functionally – to get things done – and we seldom find or take the time to utilize it meaningfully, or beautifully. If more people meditated on meaning before speaking or posting or tweeting, imagine the type of world we could create! We of so many different ethnicities, beliefs, cultures and traditions!
This book is an attempt at adding to the beauty and meaning that exists in the world, and when I reflect upon things that are beautiful flowers immediately come to mind. Flowers are reflections of beauty in nature – beauty created by God alone – as we, humankind have been created by God alone. For this reason I’ve ultimately chosen to call the anthology Scattered Petals because of the beauty in each of the included works. Like the different types of flowers that exist all over the world and in different climates, each poem and each voice is distinct. There are, however, central themes of faith, hope, patience and courage that bind the anthology together. Although some flowers are large and bright, others are small and delicate, but all serve a unique purpose. Each work of poetry represents something singular and beautiful, and like scattered flower petals, each work is just a small representation of the poet who wrote it.
The poets included in this anthology are from all walks of life, however, I am a convert to the religion of Islam and as a result I received more submissions from Muslim writers. As a result, many of the poems included reflect and Islamic world view so there is a glossary at the end of the book for referencing any unknown terms for those who may not be familiar with the Arabic language or the Islamic religion. I sincerely hope that you, dear reader, will find benefit, meaning and beauty in this work.
Peace and blessings to you.
– Janette Grant