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a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “National Poetry Month”

POM: End of April


And so, a month of poetry has come and gone just that quickly. I thought it appropriate to end out this month of celebrating with verse with a poem by Ellis Levin’s “End of April.”

Enjoy. Thanks for another wonderful National Poetry Month

image: morguefile.com/pippalou “I found a robin’s egg…”

POM: April 29


Emily. Emily. How amazing is the ability to capture a moment for all of us to wonder and appreciate centuries later. And to think your poems lay hidden, languishing until a sister realized they needed freedom not a burial.

A lane of Yellow led the eye (1650)

Emily Dickinson
A lane of Yellow led the eye
Unto a Purple Wood
Whose soft inhabitants to be
Surpasses solitude
If Bird the silence contradict
Or flower presume to show
In that low summer of the West
Impossible to know—

POM: April 28


One of the lovelier aspects of spring returning is the flurry, fluttery returning of birds. I especially like the robins cheerup salutes of this season as they parade on the lawn feasting on worms. No robin poems of notice yet, so this dandy tribute to blue birds will suffice:

Advice to a Blue Bird
by Maxwell Bodenheim
Who can make a delicate adventure
Of walking on the ground?
Who can make grass-blades
Arcades for pertly careless straying?
You alone, who skim against these leaves,
Turning all desire into light whips
Moulded by your deep blue wing-tips,
You who shrill your unconcern
Into the sternly antique sky.
You to whom all things
Hold an equal kiss of touch.

Mincing, wanton blue-bird,
Grimace at the hoofs of passing men.
You alone can lose yourself
Within a sky, and rob it of its blue!

POM: April 27


I live in an area that definitely provides all four seasons–five, if mud, the one between winter and spring, counts. I couldn’t imagine living in an area where reading about snow through a Robert Frost poems is the closest a student would get to experiencing it. Although I am definitely not a fan of snow, it’s tedious place in our seasonal line up reminds me how much I appreciate the wondrous, warm, sunny days once they again make their appearance.

To days and lives spent in the false days of winter provided by glimpses of bad weather here is a poem that explores snow from a different perspective:

The Poetry of Bad Weather

POM: April 1


April is all about poetry,being it’s National Poetry Month. In anticipation of this wonderful joyous month of celebrating verse I’ve been busy collecting poems about poets. Here is the first postcelebrating poets and their contribution:

The Poet by Tom Wayman

NPM: #29–morning has broken


I am a definite morning person. This trait, along with being a “tidee” versus being a “messee”, did not follow genetic pathways to my kinder. No one in my family can understand my bounciness in the early a.m. When “Morning” by Mary Oliver dropped into my mailbox, I read it, related to it, and couldn’t wait to share it. It reminded me ever so much of the Cat Stevens song as well.

Morning by Mary Oliver

NPM: #28–a classroom poem


This poem is for all you teachers out there, and yes, to you students as well. We ask a question, and know our students know the answer, but there is such a reluctance to share the knowledge, unless you are the student who always has the willingness. What about the others? This poem helps to unravel the mystery of the reluctant hand.

The Hand

“Take a chance…” image: galleryhip.com

 

NPM: #26–a gift


A Gift

Leonora Speyer

I Woke: —
Night, lingering, poured upon the world
Of drowsy hill and wood and lake
Her moon-song,
And the breeze accompanied with hushed fingers
On the birches.

Gently the dawn held out to me
A golden handful of bird’s-notes.

I hand out over 200 literary terms to my AP students to learn prior to their May exam. They manage to do so for the most part. Admittedly, some of the terms I keep having to remind myself of what they are, others stick in the brain and I delight when I recognize them. One such term is “polysyndenton” which is when the writer strings a series of words, usually nouns or verbs, together with a conjunction such as “and.” At first glance the reader might think, “combine that, if you please–a bit wordy and redundant, don’t you think?” Once understanding the use of polysyndenton, the reader gets that second understanding that there is a purpose to the stringing together of words. Why say you of Speyer’s writing of “hill and wood and lake”–is it superflous or meaningful?

NPM: #25–the Poe in poetry


Most of Poe is a favorite. I don’t care for the macabre aspect, the chop-him-up-cause-I-loved-him-so stuff. Makes me nervous walking across floorboards when he does that kind of writing. My students like Poe because they like the scary aspect of his writing, although they don’t always understand his diction, they get his intent of setting people offside with mixing real with horror. So, it is with surprise that I’ve come across a Poe poem that is actually upbeat. Which Poe are you most familiar with–the scary guy or the dreamer?

Dreams

Edgar Allan Poe, 18091849
Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!
My spirit not awakening, till the beam
Of an Eternity should bring the morrow.
Yes! tho’ that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,
’Twere better than the cold reality
Of waking life, to him whose heart must be,
And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,
A chaos of deep passion, from his birth.
But should it be—that dream eternally
Continuing—as dreams have been to me
In my young boyhood—should it thus be given,
’Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven.
For I have revell’d when the sun was bright
I’ the summer sky, in dreams of living light,
And loveliness,—have left my very heart
In climes of mine imagining, apart
From mine own home, with beings that have been
Of mine own thought—what more could I have seen?
’Twas once—and only once—and the wild hour
From my remembrance shall not pass—some power
Or spell had bound me—’twas the chilly wind
Came o’er me in the night, and left behind
Its image on my spirit—or the moon
Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon
Too coldly—or the stars—howe’er it was
That dream was as that night-wind—let it pass.
I have been happy, tho’ [but] in a dream.
I have been happy—and I love the theme:
Dreams! in their vivid colouring of life
As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife
Of semblance with reality which brings
To the delirious eye, more lovely things
Of Paradise and Love—and all our own!
Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.
Edgar Allan Poe

Eddie, do you need a hug?

image: Academy of American Poets

NPM: #24: into the woods–the original?


Although it’s been out for a bit now, the fairy tale musical extravanga Into the Woods takes on new meaning in James Weldon Johnson’s poem. Meryl Streep beckoning folks to find answers in the woods is a bit creepy for my tastes, especially since I favor the serenity felt in the woods. This is one reason I am so drawn to this particular rendering of the peace, the reverance found within the forest. Are the woodlands scary or a refuge for you?

Deep in the Quiet Wood

James Weldon Johnson, 18711928

Are you bowed down in heart?
Do you but hear the clashing discords and the din of life?
Then come away, come to the peaceful wood,
Here bathe your soul in silence. Listen! Now,
From out the palpitating solitude
Do you not catch, yet faint, elusive strains?
They are above, around, within you, everywhere.
Silently listen! Clear, and still more clear, they come.
They bubble up in rippling notes, and swell in singing tones.
Now let your soul run the whole gamut of the wondrous scale
Until, responsive to the tonic chord,
It touches the diapason of God’s grand cathedral organ,
Filling earth for you with heavenly peace
And holy harmonies.

image: morguefile/modnar

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