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
I am wondering this morning just where the weekend went… it was here, but boy, it was over way too fast!
So here we are on Monday, but it is the most auspicious of Monday’s! You see, it’s the first Monday after the second Wednesday… which means the Electoral Collage is meeting today! It seems like it’s been 10 years since Election Day, doesn’t it? Today, Joe Biden will have 306 electoral votes, the other guy will get 232 (you need 270 to win). I have been keeping track of the numbers and thought you all might get a chuckle at these numbers. Since Election Day, the other guy and his band of merry fools have tried and tried and tried again to make something out of nothing. They must like losing because their record?? 1-59. Yep, that is one win (the one win was in PA and a judge said they could move from 10′ to 6′ away from watching canvassing… no I am not kidding. That is the only thing they have in the win column) But how ’bout those losses? (The magic is that they were WINS for the American people!!) Today is one day closer to all these shenanigans being over, but it is a big step.
Now, how about some things to distract you this week!
This week’s night skies should be amazing! First, Jupiter and Saturn are “side by side” – an event that has not happened since 1623. I don’t have a telescope, but I will be out this week with hopes that I will be able to see something. Even if it is only the Geminid meteor shower tonight! (It was too cloudy last night in Pittsburgh, boo!)
Finally, poetry will always be magical to me…I have spent much of this year reading (and listening to) more poetry. I heard this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay last week and I have not been able to get it out of my head. So I am closing today with it. The name was the first thing I heard and I had no idea at all what Recuerdo meant. I looked it up and it is Spanish for memory or remembrance. This poem is exactly that… may your day have lots of memorable moments. I will see you back here on Wednesday!
We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.
We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.
We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.
There are a few times in life when you leap up and the past that you’d been standing on falls away behind you, and the future you mean to land on is not yet in place, and for a moment you’re suspended knowing nothing and no one, not even yourself. — Ann Pachett, The Dutch House
Oh boy, another Monday.
It seems like last week the world began to be more topsy-turvy, and overflowing with uncertainty. I cannot get Danny’s voice out of my head because how he describes it is exactly so! The footing has fallen away, and the firmer future is still 58 days away. So here I am, suspended in knowing nothing and no one… not even myself.
I don’t like feeling so helpless with this uncertainty. One thing that is definitely certain – this virus is here and active. Sadly, not everyone gets that, or is it really that not everyone cares? But out in that “not everyone cares” world, are those I hold most dear. There they are braving places where the virus is like a speeding train… work. And I am truly at a loss this morning. Honestly, I am just so damned mad at people, ALL THE PEOPLE!!
I was certain that there would be no magic to fix all of this, but then this morning I heard this poem by Joy Harjo and as I let the words wash over me, I felt the tiniest crack in the dread… the uncertainty.
To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
See you all back here on Wednesday… I am excited to share some FINISHED THINGS with you!