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!
It is my favorite day… in my favorite month. The idea that you can carry poems with you… what a delightful thing! Today we are all sharing some poems for your pockets…
Today, I am sharing one for all of us for whom sleep is, at times, elusive. Apparently, dear Billy Collins is also similarly afflicted and he has some
wisdom wit for us. I have memorized this bit of wit and contemplate it all too frequently… but at least I know I am in good company!
by Billy Collins
Only my hand
but it’s a start.
3:00 AM from Musical Tables © Billy Collins, Random House New York, 2022.
If you want to know more about the delightful Billy Collins, you will find find information here, and here at his website.
Please make sure you stop and see what Kym, Bonny, and Sarah have for your pockets today!
Thank you so much for reading along with us this month!
Happy Third Thursday….aka Gathering of Poetry Day!
In my search for a poem to share with you all, I read a lot of poetry. But one poem has stuck with me and I have thought about it every single day since I read it. It is a poem by Mary Oliver, who seems to have a poem for every occasion. I think Invitation is the perfect spring poem.
by Mary Oliver
Oh do you have time
for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles
for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,
or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air
as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine
and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,
do not walk by
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.
It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.
Mary Oliver, “Invitation,” A Thousand Mornings: Poems from New York: Penguin Books, 2013.
While I don’t have the Goldfinches Mary describes, I do have some very loud Song Sparrow’s, who absolutely encourage me to linger on my morning walks with Sherman in the very best way with their raucous singing! I hope this poem provides you some encouragement to linger over something ridiculously delightful in your day!
Need more poetry today? Be sure to stop and see what Bonny and Kym have gathered today!
Photo by Andrew Patrick
I first heard this poem a couple of years ago and late last year, I got myself a new book for my Poetry Library (Happy Birthday to ME!) and I was happily surprised to find it there as well.
This poem is for teachers everywhere, who teach all the amazing things every single day.
What You Missed That Day You Were Absent From Fourth Grade
by Brad Aaron Modlin
Mrs. Nelson explained how to stand still and listen
to the wind, how to find meaning in pumping gas,
how peeling potatoes can be a form of prayer. She took
questions on how not to feel lost in the dark
After lunch she distributed worksheets
that covered ways to remember your grandfather’s
voice. Then the class discussed falling asleep
without feeling you have forgotten to do something else —
something important — and how to believe
the house you wake in is your home. This prompted
Mrs. Nelson to draw a chalkboard diagram detailing
how to chant the Psalms during cigarette breaks,
and how not to squirm for sound when your own thoughts
are all you hear; also, that you have enough.
The English lesson was that I am
is a complete sentence.
And just before the afternoon bell, she made the math equation
look easy. The one that proves that hundreds of questions,
and feeling cold, and all those nights spent looking
for whatever it was you lost, and one person
add up to something.
From Everyone at This Party Has Two Names by Brad Aaron Modlin. Copyright © 2016 by Brad Aaron Modlin. Originally published by Southeast Missouri State University Press.
We (Bonny, Kym, and myself) would love for you to join us and share a poem that you love!
I will see you all back here on Monday!