Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during the moment. — Carl Sandburg
April is just such an amazing month and I hope that during the month we have opened some doors and allowed you to ponder the moments that poets captured to share.
And while I love every day of National Poetry Month… perhaps the best day is Poem for Your Pocket Day. The idea is that poetry is something you can carry with you. It is something that you can read and reread…over and over again. It is also for everyday life…and it can be very relatable like the poem I chose for my pocket today!
I heard a poem written by Connie Wanek and it caused me to stop what I was doing and go search on the internet to see what I could learn about her, which led me to Monopoly. It brought back memories of playing it for hours on end with my cousins and my cousin, Bill being almost always being that one person. I hope this poem brings back fond memories for you today, that perhaps you consider it again with adult eyes, and hopefully you will print it out and tuck it in your pocket to read again later today.
by Connie Wanek
We used to play, long before we bought real houses.
A roll of the dice could send a girl to jail.
The money was pink, blue, gold, as well as green,
and we could own a whole railroad
or speculate in hotels where others dreaded staying:
the cost was extortionary.
At last one person would own everything,
every teaspoon in the dining car, every spike
driven into the planks by immigrants,
every crooked mayor.
But then, with only the clothes on our backs,
we ran outside, laughing.
Poem copyright ©2016 by Connie Wanek, “Monopoly,” from Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems, (Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2016).
I hope this month has been amazing for you. Make sure you stop and see what Kym, Bonny, and Sarah have for your pocket today! I can’t think of a better thing that a pocket full of poems to carry you through your day!
Finally, I’d like to thank Kym for including me in this amazing month! Have a great weekend and I will see you all back here next week!
Sometimes poetry is witty and clever…I think my grandfather’s favorite poet, Carl Sandburg, hits this brilliantly with his poem Fog. When my grandfather would recite this poem to me I could see exactly what Sandburg meant in the clever way he uses a cat to describe fog. (Don’t ask me about Sandburg’s other poetry though because I have tried to read it but none of it grabbed me like hearing my grandfather recite Fog from memory.)
But recently a poem landed in my email just when the winds were racing around my neighborhood. It is witty, brilliant, it made me chuckle…and it made me look at things from that rascally wind’s perspective!
Bonus moments occur when I keep thinking about the poem and I read it again and again. This poem by Gwendolyn Bennett is just incredible (as is she!) A Black woman – a writer and and educator who was born in Texas in 1902 must have at times felt like the wind was raging around her… and perhaps, just maybe, she felt like the wind around her students!
The wind was a care-free soul
That broke the chains of earth,
And stood for a moment across the land
With the wild halloo of his mirth
He little cared that he ripped up trees,
That houses fell at his hand,
That his step broke the calm of the breast of the seas,
That his feet stirred clouds of sand.
But when he had had his little joke,
Had shouted and laughed and sung,
When the trees were scarred, their branches broke,
And their foliage aching hung,
He crept to his cave with a healthy tread,
with rain-filled eyes and low-bowed head.
This poem is in the public domain.
Please make sure you stop by and see what Kym, Bonny, and Sarah have to share with you today!
See you back here on Monday with an update on my word! I hope you are having a great week and your weekend will be full of fun things!
This week we are all sharing thoughts on ‘new beginnings’ and poetry. One would think this would be an easy topic because there are so.many.poems about beginning.
At first I thought that I’d share the poem that took my hand and began my love of poetry. It is a lovely poem by Derek Walcott called Love After Love. Kym shared it on her blog a few years ago during April. I printed it out and it is on the board by my desk. I read it often. It is an excellent poem to read to yourself or better yet, listen to Tom Hiddleston read it here.
And as excellent as that poem is, I thought to myself that I should read more poems and find another that speaks to me about another beginning. Thanks to Sylvia Plath I did not have to look far. I found her poem, Morning Song and thought this is the most excellent beginning… the birth of a child. Ms. Plath reminded me of those all those feelings when I brought my Rachel home from the hospital 32 years ago. Honestly, it was such a scary thought… I was responsible for this tiny little baby! A new beginning for both of us!
Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.
Sylvia Plath, “Morning Song” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1960, 1965, 1971, 1981 by the Estate of Sylvia Plath.
Please go and see what Kym, Bonny, and Sarah are sharing today!
I will be back next week for Unraveled Wednesday!
Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own. — Salvatore Quasimodo
One of the best things about National Poetry Month is the discovery of new-to-me poets and this year is no exception to that! When Kym asked if Bonny and I would be interested in joining her to share poetry, I never imagined how awesome this journey would be. I don’t remember if the enabler was Kym or Bonny but one of them sent out a list of poets for consideration and I had heard of some of the poets listed, but had really read none of the poetry by any of them! The bonus came when Kym invited Sarah to join us… so you get a quartet of poetry this month!
This week we are all sharing a bit of the prolific poetess, Elizabeth Alexander. I did not know Elizabeth Alexander, although she was the poet for President Obama’s inauguration in 2009. She wrote and read Praise Song for the Day. I can only say that I must have been in a coma for that, because I honestly do not remember it at all!
So I began my journey with Elizabeth in Antebellum Dream Book and wow! She took my hand and drew me along with her into her inner most thoughts and feelings. It was not enough, so I began reading Crave Radiance, which is a collection of her poetry with some cross-over as some of the poems from Antebellum Dream Book are contained in it.
The poem I am going to share today is from Antebellum Dream Book. Personally, I think we need a whole bunch of justices who embody this amazing dream!
Postpartum Dream #12: Appointment
by Elizabeth Alexander
I answered all
the Chief Justice’s questions
impeccably, and it wasn’t
with my father
for the phone call.
“I guess I’ll be
the first black woman
on the Supreme Court
if I get this.”
said my dad.
appeared on television
playing golf and smiling.
He has a secret.
His secretary phones
and asks the question.
Maybe I could do it
when the baby
goes to kindergarten. Maybe
I could do it
on alternate Mondays.
Maybe my baby
could gurgle and coo
in a pen in my chambers,
pulling at the curls
on my barrister’s wig,
spitting up on my black robes.
I’m excited. I turned out
to be a good lawyer, the best,
just like my dad.
Copyright © 2001 by Elizabeth Alexander. Published by Greywolf Press.
Make sure you stop and see what Kym, Bonny, and Sarah have to share today!
Have an amazing remainder of the week and I will see you all back here on Monday!
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels
Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance. — Carl Sandburg
Welcome to National Poetry Month! April has become my absolute favorite month and it is the perfect time to immerse yourself in poetry. That is just what I am going to do this month thanks to the genius of Kym who asked Bonny and I if we would like to have a bit of fun with poetry this month! I could not say YES fast enough and we will all be sharing some thoughts about poetry along with some poems that we hope you will enjoy!
There are so many different kinds of poetry and I am closing in on 40 days of poetry writing for Lent. It has been an incredible process that I have enjoyed tremendously. Three lines a day has not always been easy, but it has always been inspiring. And I think that most often poetry inspires us and it certainly inspires me!
That is not always the case. Sometimes poetry makes you think in a completely different way… it makes you see things in a new light…it changes your perspective entirely like this poem by Sally Fisher and I think it is the perfect poem to ease us into the holiday weekend. I think most people are aware of the 23rd Psalm, but have you ever considered the Psalm from the sheep’s perspective? This poem hooked me from the first lines and I hope you find the different perspective enlightening!
I am a sheep
and I like it
because the grass
I lie down in
feels good and the still
waters are restful and right
there if I’m thirsty
and though some valleys
are very chilly there is a long
rod that prods me so I
direct my hooves
the right way
I’m trying hard
to sit at a table
because it’s expected
and my enemies—
it turns out I have enemies—
are watching me eat and
spill my drink
but I don’t worry because
all my enemies do
is watch and I know
I’m safe if I will
just do my best
as I sit on this chair
that wobbles a bit
in the grass
on the side of a hill.
May your weekend have some inspiration, and maybe even a change in perspective! See you all back here on Monday!
Photo by Zak Bentley