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.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips — Lucille Clifton (homage to my hips)
This week I want to share some poetry that, I think, is one of the best ways to celebrate Black History Month.
Poetry has become part of my daily life… I cannot imagine a day without poetry. It opens my eyes… it opens my mind… it opens my heart. This month, I have been focused on reading a poem or two a day from Amanda Gorman’s new book of poetry – Call Us What We Carry (and it is so very good!)
I also spent some time Googling Poetry for Black History Month and I found some of the most wonderful rabbit holes that exist on the internet!
Of course The Poetry Foundation has a wonderful resource that includes poems, articles, and podcasts… there is just so much to read here! I have been happily working my way through every bit of it. Some poems were familiar to me and some were not. There was one that I knew as a song but I did not know that it was written by one brother and set to music by another brother! And speaking of that song… was it just me or did anyone else find it more than disconcerting that this song was performed outside the stadium (versus being inside? watf…)
If you’d like to start with a less daunting list… Read Poetry has 10 Poems to Celebrate Black History Month
Finally, if you want to add a book to your Poetry Library (because don’t we all have a Poetry Library?? And if you don’t, you should!!) I am excited to get Tracy K. Smith’s book, Such Color. (And I am loving Call Us What We Carry!)
I am going to close with one of the poems from Amanda’s new book:
by Amanda Gorman
It is easy to harp,
Harder to hope.
This truth, like the white-blown sky,
Can only be felt in its entirety or not at all.
The glorious was not made to be piecemeal.
Despite being drenched with dread,
This dark girl still dreams.
We smile like a sun that is never shunted.
Grief, when it goes, does so softly,
Like the exit of that breath
We just realized we clutched.
Since the world is round,
There is no way to walk away
From each other, for even then
We are coming back together.
Some distances, if allowed to grow,
Are merely the greatest proximities.
Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman, published by Viking Press. Copyright © 1921 by Amanda Gorman
Have a great weekend everyone… see you all back here on Monday!
It seems fitting that for this final Monday in January that I close out the month with some poetry and this poem by Linda Pastan seems perfect for today!
I think many on the east coast will be nodding their heads at Linda’s imagery! I hope this Monday finds you all dug out and back to a semblance of normalcy!
by Linda Pastan
how to stop
at the glass
a silk windsock
under the porch light
like old women
in their own
up to the step
over the doorsill
a pointillist’s blur
of form and motion
to the wish of
any object it touches
laps of snow
the moon could be
over the eaves
over the roof
a white bear
Blizzard by Linda Pastan from Poetry Magazine, 1978
Happy Monday all! I will see you all back here on Wednesday!
Happy Birthday to me! Today begins my 61st year! 61 years brings lots of retrospection and thinking about birthdays of long ago. When I was a child, it almost always seemed to snow on my birthday and I loved it so much! I have also been thinking about Christmas Vacation birthdays. That’s right…one of the benefits of having your birthday 2 days after Christmas is that you never have school… but that is one of the detriments as well. Sometimes it would have been nice to be in school on my birthday… and even better, it would have been so fun having a snow day!
I won’t see any snow today (it’s pouring down rain…sigh) but thankfully Billy Collins can conjure up a Snow Day for me!
I hope you all enjoy a bit of a Snow Day today (even if there is no physical snow!) I will see you back here tomorrow with an update on my word!
BY BILLY COLLINS
Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,
its white flag waving over everything,
the landscape vanished,
not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,
and beyond these windows
the government buildings smothered,
schools and libraries buried, the post office lost
under the noiseless drift,
the paths of trains softly blocked,
the world fallen under this falling.
In a while, I will put on some boots
and step out like someone walking in water,
and the dog will porpoise through the drifts,
and I will shake a laden branch
sending a cold shower down on us both.
But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,
a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.
I will make a pot of tea
and listen to the plastic radio on the counter,
as glad as anyone to hear the news
that the Kiddie Corner School is closed,
the Ding-Dong School, closed.
the All Aboard Children’s School, closed,
the Hi-Ho Nursery School, closed,
along with—some will be delighted to hear—
the Toadstool School, the Little School,
Little Sparrows Nursery School,
Little Stars Pre-School, Peas-and-Carrots Day School
the Tom Thumb Child Center, all closed,
and—clap your hands—the Peanuts Play School.
So this is where the children hide all day,
These are the nests where they letter and draw,
where they put on their bright miniature jackets,
all darting and climbing and sliding,
all but the few girls whispering by the fence.
And now I am listening hard
in the grandiose silence of the snow,
trying to hear what those three girls are plotting,
what riot is afoot,
which small queen is about to be brought down.
Billy Collins, “Snow Day” from Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (New York: Random House, 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Billy Collins. Reprinted with the permission of Sll/Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.