RSS Feed

Tag Archives: National Poetry Month

Poem of gratitude in this scary time

This is the loneliest National Poetry Month in my memory, with no live readings. It’s heartening that creative people are figuring out new ways to share poetry on Zoom, YouTube and other platforms. As clever as these virtual events are, nothing can take the place of a live audience in the same room as a reader.   The strange “new normal” we’re living in seems like the right time to post this simple, powerful poem about not taking being healthy, or one’s comforting routines, for granted.  It’s a favorite of mine by the late New Hampshire poet Jane Kenyon. (from Collected Poems, copyright 2005 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon.)

OTHERWISE

I got out of bed

on two strong legs.

It might have been

otherwise.  I ate

cereal, sweet

milk, flawless

peach.  It might

have been otherwise.

I took the dog uphill

to the birch wood.

All morning I did

the work I love.

At noon I lay down

with my mate.  It might

have been otherwise.

We ate dinner together

at a table with silver

candlesticks.  It might

have been otherwise.

I slept in a bed

in a room with paintings

on the walls, and

planned another day

just like this day,

But one day,  I know,

it will be otherwise.

forsythia close up

 

 

Poem for Trying Times

Photos of iconic places like the Piazza San Marco and Times Square empty – the way we’ve never seen them – are haunting.  What a difference a month makes.  It’s hard to grasp how strange this spring is and will be: no Easter celebrations, baseball, Kentucky Derby, Wimbledon. One comforting and positive side of this plague is a flowering of online music, poetry, museum tours and art offered to everyone for free.  April, National Poetry Month, will be very different, but poets will always keep writing and sharing their work in new ways.  Here’s a poem that speaks to the uncertainty of life and how quickly things can change.  To anyone out there reading this blog, stay home, stay safe and let your creative voice be heard.

NOTICE                          by Steve Kowit

This evening, the sturdy Levi’s

I wore every day for over a year

& which seemed to the end

in perfect condition,

suddenly tore.

How or why I don’t know,

but there it was: a big rip at the crotch.

A month ago my friend Nick

walked off a racquetball court,

showered,

got into his street clothes,

& halfway home collapsed & died.

Take heed, you who read this,

& drop to your knees now & again

like the poet Christopher Smart,

& kiss the earth & be joyful,

& make much of your time,

& be kindly to everyone,

even to those who do not deserve it.

For although you may not believe

it will happen,

you too will one day be gone.

I, whose Levi’s ripped at the crotch

for no reason,

assure you that such is the case.

Pass it on.

 

empty piazza san marco

Not Quite Spring in Maine

It’s still in the 30s here and we had snow showers last night.  I do see tiny buds on my forsythia, and a few brave crocuses have appeared.  April is National Poetry Month;  readings and celebrations are in bloom. Here is a  spring poem by Philip Larkin.

THE TREES

The trees are coming into leaf

Like something almost being said;

The recent buds relax and spread,

Their greenness is a kind of grief.

 

Is it that they are born again

And we grow old? No, they die too,

Their yearly trick of looking new

Is written down in rings of grain.

 

Yet still the unresting castles thresh

In fullgrown thickness every May.

Last year is dead, they seem to say,

Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

forsythia 5-1-11

Finally – spring in New England, and National Poetry Month

daffodils_04

April is always full of poetry events. This year is no exception. I try to list all the ones involving Moon Pie Press poets on the website at http://www.moonpiepress.com. Here is a lovely poem about what sustains some of us through a long winter. It is by former Portland Poet Laureate Bruce Spang, whose latest book from Moon Pie Press is BOY AT THE SCREEN DOOR.

THE COLOR OF FAITH

Minus fifteen degrees, even the thermometer on the deck
recoils under its lid. Like a man with a Bible in a bombed out building,

I unearth a Johnny’s Selected Seed catalog
in the mail. Fields of Allstar Gourmet Lettuce,

mottled rows of purple and green, spread
beneath bare feet of a girl who slices one head

after another like the Queen in Wonderland.
I twist the space heater dial to high and flip

to Amaranthus, with its ropes of deep red,
fold the page; find a new Echinacea, Pallida

with long slender purple petals, fold it.
Colors splash on my lap, yellow tomatoes,

blue aster, pink poppies, and on page
sixty-eight, skins of peppers glistening

as brightly as the snow did this afternoon,
yet sliced open like hearts. Look, there is

Joe Pye Weed that releases a vanilla scent.
Smell it. Write it. Fill in the order form.

Celebrate National Poetry Month!

calm poems

poetry month

April is National Poetry Month, and for poets, it is an unusually busy time with many readings and events on the schedule. Sometimes we feel that the other eleven months of the year, poetry is “chopped liver”, but then, let’s be real – for many people, poetry is never on their radar. I always hope that during April, people who are hostile or indifferent to poetry will attend a poetry reading or pick up a book of poems and be converted. I’ve seen it happen with reactions to the ferocious energy of slam poets, at open readings, to poetry on the radio, in buses, in classrooms, and on the page. Discard your ideas about poems based on whatever poetry was forced on you in school. Poetry doesn’t have to be puzzling, rhyming, abstract, ancient or dull. There is poetry out there to move anyone – funny, touching, revolutionary, classic, hiphop, ballads, sonnets, haiku, free verse – so many kinds of wonderful poems.