As a person who finds a great deal of silliness with Valentine’s Day and the whole idea that surrounds it… love poems are not my favorite.
That is until I read José A. Alcántara’s poem in Poetry of Presence II. (I mean a former construction worker, baker, commercial fisherman, math teacher, and studio photographer turned poet… seems brilliant, no?)
And really… who does not have a love affair with silence?
Love Note to Silence
by José A. Alcántara
It’s impossible to stay in bed when you’re around.
I love our morning tea, our walks in the woods,
listening to all your crazy stories.
I’m sorry that I don’t contribute much,
that I mostly just nod and smile,
and sometimes scratch the back of my head.
But listening to you is like the shore listening to the ocean.
I’m swept clean of my detritus, my rotting organic matter,
everything tossed there by the rude and the ugly.
Here, let me grab my pen and notebook, my binoculars. Let me slip
on my coat and shoes. The handheld cranes are passing overhead.
Let’s go to the fields at the edge of town and make some noise.
“Love Note to Silence.” Copyright © José A. Alacántara.
A huge thanks to Bonny for hosting all us poetry lovers… Stop by and see what other poems you can gather today!
See you all back here next week Monday!
I read poetry every day… often by random authors as I page through a poetry anthology. But lately, I have been focused on one spectacular poet, Naomi Shihab Nye. I am fortunate that my library has LOTS of her books!
Today, with no explanation… one amazing poem by Ms. Nye.
I Feel Sorry for Jesus
by Naomi Shihab Nye
People won’t leave Him alone.
I know He said, wherever two or more
are gathered in my name…
but I’ll bet some days He regrets it.
Cozily they tell you what He wants
and doesn’t want
as if they just got an email.
Remember “Telephone,” that pass-it-on game
where the message changed dramatically
by the time it rounded the circle?
People blame terrible pieties on Jesus.
They want to be his special pet.
Jesus deserves better.
I think He’s been exhausted
for a very long time.
He went into the desert, friends.
He didn’t go into the pomp.
He didn’t go into
the golden chandeliers.
and say, the truth tastes better here.
See? I’m talking like I know.
It’s dangerous talking for Jesus.
You get carried away almost immediately.
I stood in the spot where He was born.
I closed my eyes where He died and didn’t die.
Every twist of the Via Dolorosa
was written on my skin.
And that makes me feel like being silent
for Him, you know? A secret pouch
of listening. You won’t hear me
mention this again.
I Feel Sorry for Jesus from You & Yours, Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye © 2005 BOA Editions, Ltd.
Thanks to Bonny for linking us all together! Stop and see what poetry is being shared today!
See you all here on Monday!
The poem I selected this month seems apropos since I am not home right now. I heard this poem read by Pádraig Ó Tuama some time ago and I think of it often (and I highly recommend listening to Pádraig read it… you won’t regret it!) I did not need to worry about anyone answering the door, we have the code to our Airbnb. But this poem evokes such imagery of being welcome, welcoming the stranger, and so much more.
I give you The Listeners by Walter de la Mare.
by Walter de la Mare
‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest’s ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller’s head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
‘Is there anybody there?’ he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller’s call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
’Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:—
‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,’ he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.
This poem is in the public domain.
Bonny is gathering the poems today, so be sure you stop by and read some poetry… and better yet, share some! We’d love for you to join us!
See you all back here next week!
One of the things I love best about poetry is how it can take me out of myself… and this week’s poem does just that!
Recently, Ada Limón shared this on Instagram and I knew nothing about NASA’s Europa Clipper but I did know that getting a signed copy of the poem was an impulse purchase that I would not regret. A few clicks later and the impulse was successful and it arrived last week! It is now framed and on my desk… it is the perfect reminder when I am too stuck in myself to look beyond.
I imagine that someday someone in that outer space will read this poem as well and think the same things… to look beyond themselves… and perhaps be in awe of a society that valued poetry… the best unifier I know!
In Praise of Mystery
A POEM FOR EUROPA
by Ada Limón
Arching under the night sky inky
with black expansiveness, we point
to the planets we know, we
pin quick wishes on stars. From earth,
we read the sky as if it is an unerring book
of the universe, expert and evident.
Still, there are mysteries below our sky:
the whale song, the songbird singing
its call in the bough of a wind-shaken tree.
We are creatures of constant awe,
curious at beauty, at leaf and blossom,
at grief and pleasure, sun and shadow.
and it is not darkness that unites us,
not the cold distance of space, but
the offering of water, each drop of rain,
each rivulet, each pulse, each vein.
O second moon, we, too, are made
of water, of vast and beckoning seas.
We, too, are made of wonders, of great
and ordinary loves, of small invisible worlds,
of a need to call out through the dark.
“In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa,” was released at the Library of Congress by the 24th U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón on June 1, 2023 in celebration of the poem’s engraving on NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft, scheduled to launch in October of 2024.
I would love it if you all had a poem to share! It is easy… just share one! And be sure you stop and see what Bonny has gathered with the link on her blog!
See you all next week!
I do not recall when I first stumbled across this Rilke poem… but it has become a frequent guest of my morning meditations as I read it, prayer like, to help me begin my day…
I hope this poem finds a spot in your day to lift you as you remind yourself “I am!”
Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.
Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower by Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29. Translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows.
Please stop and see what Kym and Bonny are sharing today!
See you all back here on Monday, have a great weekend everyone!