Friday Finds | 2.18.22

Friday Finds | 2.18.22

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:

& So

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!

Monday Poetry | 1.31.22

Monday Poetry | 1.31.22

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!

Blizzard

by Linda Pastan

the snow
has forgotten
how to stop
it falls
stuttering
at the glass
a silk windsock
of snow
blowing
under the porch light
tangling trees
which bend
like old women
snarled
in their own
knitting
snow drifts
up to the step
over the doorsill
a pointillist’s blur
the wedding
of form and motion
shaping itself
to the wish of
any object it touches
chairs become
laps of snow
the moon could be
breaking apart
and falling
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!

Monday Poetry | 12.27.21

Monday Poetry | 12.27.21

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!


Snow Day

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.

Monday Poetry | 12.20.21

Monday Poetry | 12.20.21

There are times when hindsight gives a clarity that is astounding… I should have voted with the doctor for stitches rather than voting for no stitches. Her wisdom has been so correct…she gave me two scenarios: One: get stitches, likely lose my nail, but my finger would heal faster…but likely probably with more pain. Two: no stitches, perhaps keep my nail, heal slower, but with less pain… and here I am more than a week in and my finger is still not healed and still not fully functional. My frustration level is moving towards the “off the charts” realm and I am sick of the entire process of healing/cleaning/bandaging/etc. (And while I can sort of type… mainly it is an activity that increases my frustration level!)

If ever there was a need in my life for poetry, it is this morning. And today… I am sharing two poems that I truly love. The first, In the Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti. This poem has always been one of my favorite hymns, but I did not know about Christina or her poetry until I did some research on the poem. Below is a very unique version of the hymn… which is usually sung by a boys choir (and quite beautifully, I might add) but there was something just stunning about this rendition.

And how can one ease into winter without a bit of Robert Frost? This poem sort of sums up my week ahead… I have miles to go before I can be ready for Christmas! lol

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

by ROBERT FROST
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” from The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Copyright 1923, © 1969 by Henry Holt and Company, Inc., renewed 1951, by Robert Frost. Reprinted with the permission of Henry Holt and Company, LLC.


I will see you all back here on Wednesday with some knitting updates (hopefully!)

Happy Monday all!

Photo by Simon Berger from Pexels

Monday Poetry | 12.13.21

Monday Poetry | 12.13.21

When it seems like the world is collapsing in on itself and bad news is all around, poetry provides a respite that nothing else can.

The bird that came to my mind as I read Mary Oliver’s poem was a Cedar Waxwing with their distinctive white outline around their eyes. (and thanks to Pexel I found a photo to share on a morning as I am fresh out of Cedar Waxwing photos!)

This morning my thoughts are full of all those devastated by the spate of tornadoes that tore across so many states.

I will see you all back here on Wednesday.


White-Eyes

In winter
    all the singing is in
         the tops of the trees
             where the wind-bird
with its white eyes
    shoves and pushes
         among the branches.
             Like any of us
he wants to go to sleep,
    but he’s restless—
         he has an idea,
             and slowly it unfolds
from under his beating wings
    as long as he stays awake.
         But his big, round music, after all,
             is too breathy to last.
So, it’s over.
    In the pine-crown
         he makes his nest,
             he’s done all he can.
I don’t know the name of this bird,
    I only imagine his glittering beak
         tucked in a white wing
             while the clouds—
which he has summoned
    from the north—
         which he has taught
             to be mild, and silent—
thicken, and begin to fall
    into the world below
         like stars, or the feathers
               of some unimaginable bird
that loves us,
    that is asleep now, and silent—
         that has turned itself
             into snow.
Source: Poetry (Poetry Foundation, 2002)

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