Poetry is a constant in my day… it is the thing I start my day with – reading a poem or two. And my favorite month of all is Poetry Month which happens every year in April. But one month with a focus on poetry is just not enough and even though occasionally a poem shows up on my blog, it almost feels like an afterthought… The I-don’t-have-anything-to-post-today-so-here’s-a-poem post. And that is kind of sad, because poetry is never just an afterthought. So welcome to:
A Gathering of Poetry
The inspiration behind this idea was a post from Bonny which spurred a flurry of emails from Kym and voilá… every month on the third Thursday, we will be sharing with you all a poem!
This month, my poetry selection is from Ted Kooser. I really love his poems and he is such a prolific poet!
A Dervish of Leaves
by Ted Kooser
Sometimes when I’m sad, the dead leaves
in the bed of my pickup get up on their own
and start dancing. I’ll be driving along,
glance up at the mirror and there they’ll be,
swirling and bowing, their flying skirts
brushing the back window, not putting a hand
on the top of the cab to steady themselves,
but daringly leaning out over the box,
making fun of the fence posts we’re passing
who have never left home, teasing the rocks
rolled away into the ditches, leaves light
in their slippers, dancing around in the back
of my truck, tossing their cares to the wind,
sometimes, when I’m down in my heart.
“A Dervish of Leaves” by Ted Kooser Copyright © 2020
It is our hope that you will be moved to join us on the third Thursday and share a poem!
See you all back here tomorrow!
Oof..these numbers are so troubling. I hope we have reached the tipping point and that change will happen.
In these troubled times I am so thankful for poetry. I read poetry every single day but recently I have spent even more of my day immersed in poetry and one poem keeps calling to me over and over and over. It is a poem by Ada Limón from American Journal Fifty Poems for Our Time.
by Ada Limón
Six horses died in a tractor-trailer fire.
There. That’s the hard part. I wanted
to tell you straight away so we could
grieve together. So many sad things,
that’s just one on a long recent list
that loops and elongates in the chest,
in the diaphragm, in the alveoli. What
is it they say, heartsick or downhearted?
I picture a heart lying down on the floor
of the torso, pulling up the blankets
over its head, thinking this pain will
go on forever (even though it won’t).
The heart is watching Lifetime movies
and wishing, and missing all the good
parts of her that she has forgotten.
The heart is so tired of beating
herself up, she wants to stop it still,
but also she wants the blood to return,
wants to bring in the thrill and wind of the ride,
the fast pull of life driving underneath her.
What the heart wants? The heart wants
her horses back.
“Downhearted,” from Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2015). © 2015 by Ada Limón.
My heart and I wish for you a good weekend…perhaps with a Lifetime movie or two. See you all back here on Monday.
Today is one of my favorite days…it’s Poem In Your Pocket Day!
It’s a day to carry a poem with you… and perhaps you will even then invite poetry into the remaining days of the year.
I debated about what poem should I share this month. I contemplated Joyce Kilmer’s Tree’s or Carl Sandburg’s Fog… poems that my grandfather loved deeply. I also considered one of the many poems by Derek Walcott. So many choices. Really. There are literally hundreds of poems one could pick to put in your pocket today and not one a bad choice!
But earlier this month I heard a poem by Jane Kenyon and it has stayed with me. I have thought about her words almost daily, and have since printed it out and put in my journal. I have contemplated the words as I began my April chores in the garden – and especially when I saw those rhubarb leaves as they thought their way up through the soil… a certain sign of spring.
I think this poem will fit well in your pocket… enjoy!
by Jane Kenyon
When I take the chilly tools
from the shed’s darkness, I come
out to a world made new
by heat and light.
The snake basks and dozes
on a large flat stone.
It reared and scolded me
for raking too close to its hole.
Like a mad red brain
the involute rhubarb leaf
thinks its way up
Jane Kenyon, “April Chores” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by The Estate of Jane Kenyon.
Please make sure you stop and visit Kym, Bonny, and Sarah today to see what they have for you to tuck into your pocket as well. I cannot thing of a better thing to fill your pockets with than a handful of poems!
Thank you all so much for reading along with this month… and especially I’d like to thank Kym for including me!
See you all here tomorrow!
The theme for this week is Forgiveness. Hmmm. Okay. I vaguely remembered reading a poem about forgiveness… but could I find it? It turns out that was quite a challenge… but, thankfully, not one that was at all painful! I spent an afternoon perusing my poetry books, as well as looking online on the Poetry Foundation I had read from my library… with no luck at all in finding the poem I was thinking about.
I had three other poetry resources to check… poetry I listen to…The Slow Down, Poetry Unbound, and The Writer’s Almanac. Of course, it was Pádraig Ó Tuama who shared the poem on forgiveness that I am sharing today. I have printed it and placed in my journal so I can revisit it frequently. It is such a lovely reminder that forgiveness needs to start with yourself. I hope you enjoy this poem as well!
by Dilruba Ahmed
For leaving the fridge open
last night, I forgive you.
For conjuring white curtains
instead of living your life.
For the seedlings that wilt, now,
in tiny pots, I forgive you.
For saying no first
but yes as an afterthought.
I forgive you for hideous visions
after childbirth, brought on by loss
of sleep. And when the baby woke
repeatedly, for your silent rebuke
in the dark, “What’s your beef?”
I forgive your letting vines
overtake the garden. For fearing
your own propensity to love.
For losing, again, your bag
en route from San Francisco;
for the equally heedless drive back
on the caffeine-fueled return.
I forgive you for leaving
windows open in rain
and soaking library books
again. For putting forth
only revisions of yourself,
with punctuation worked over,
instead of the disordered truth,
I forgive you. For singing mostly
when the shower drowns
your voice. For so admiring
the drummer you failed to hear
the drum. In forgotten tin cans,
may forgiveness gather. Pooling
in gutters. Gushing from pipes.
A great steady rain of olives
from branches, relieved
of cruelty and petty meanness.
With it, a flurry of wings, thirteen
gray pigeons. Ointment reserved
for healers and prophets. I forgive you.
I forgive you. For feeling awkward
and nervous without reason.
For bearing Keats’s empty vessel
with such calm you worried
you had, perhaps no moral
center at all. For treating your mother
with contempt when she deserved
compassion. I forgive you. I forgive
you. I forgive you. For growing
a capacity for love that is great
but matched only, perhaps,
by your loneliness. For being unable
to forgive yourself first so you
could then forgive others and
at last find a way to become
the love that you want in this world.
Phase One from Bring Now the Angels by Dilruba Ahmed, © 2020.
Please visit Kym, Bonny, and Sarah and see what Forgiveness Poem they are sharing today.
I will see you all back here next Monday! Have a great weekend everyone!
In this week’s poetry installment we are all sharing a poem by Sharon Olds. She is a prolific poet and you could get lost for days and days in her poetry books. The poem I have selected is from Stag’s Leap…poetry that shares her journey from from grief to healing after her divorce. A book of poetry that I wish I had read after my own divorce.
All of the poems are so beautiful, but one poem very much hit home for me… and I wonder if my poor children share these feelings because, like Sharon, they were all very planned babies. I did not use shirt cardboards (my ex liked his shirts starched and hanging) but I did have a “conception journal” where I graphed my temperature. (FYI, I looked for it, but could not find it but perhaps that is a good thing, lol) But I really hope that my kids realize, as Sharon does, that my world was infinitely so much better because they were in it!
I hope you enjoy this poem!
The Planned Child
by Sharon Olds
I always hated the way they planned me, she
took the cardboards out of his shirts as if
pulling the backbone up out of his body and
made a chart of the month and put her
temperature on it, rising and falling, to
know the day to make me—I always
wanted to have been conceived in heat,
in haste, by mistake, in love, in sex,
not on cardboard, the little X on the
rising line that did not fall again.
But then you were pouring the wine red as the
gritty clay of this earth, or the blood,
grainy with tiny clots, that rides us
into this life, and you said you could tell I had
been a child who was wanted. I took the
wine into my mouth like my mother’s blood, as I had
ridden down toward the light with my lips
pressed against the sides of that valve in her body, she was
bearing down and then breaking in the mask and then
bearing down, pressing me out into the
world that was not enough for her without me in it,
not the moon, the sun, the stars, Orion
cartwheeling easily across the dark, not the
earth, the sea, none of it was
enough for her, without me.
The Planned Child by Sharon Olds, Stag’s Leap © 2012
Make sure you visit Kym, Bonny, and Sarah today to see what Sharon Olds poem they are sharing today!
I won’t be here tomorrow, but I will be back next week I am not certain about Monday but I will absolutely be here for Unraveled Wednesday. Have a great weekend everyone!
This week’s theme is hope. Whew. What a week for hope, huh?
He that lives upon hope will die fasting. — Benjamin Franklin
I have always thought that hope was a singular thing… something you had inside you… or had to find inside you. Or if you could not find it inside you… then “Look UP and find hope” seemed to me to be the usual answer.
But what if it’s not?
The poem I am sharing today speaks differently of hope. And this is the kind of hope that I am looking for… the hope that has been left for me to find along my journey.
by Rosemary Wahtola Trommer
Hope has holes
in its pockets.
It leaves little
so that we,
can follow it.
it doesn’t know
it knows only
that all roads
begin with one
foot in front
of the other.
Hope by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer from How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope. Published by Story Publishing.
Please visit Kym, Bonny, and Sarah today to see what hope they have to share.
Happy Thursday, Everyone!