April – National Poetry Month
Today National Poetry Month officially begins and I invite you to celebrate it with me! Now before you roll your eyes and say, “Gah! I picked poems apart in Mrs. Stepro’s or Mr. Spraw’s classes and I still don’t get poetry.” I promise there will be no counting of meter, or quiz on sonnet structure. What I do promise for the next 30 days is some interesting, diverse poetry from thirty different voices. You’re bound to get at least one of them.
Choosing my guest poets was easy. Choosing their poems was a challenge. I went through three packets of sticky tabs marking books until I whittled them down, asked the poets their opinions, and finally decided. Rereading these fine books was an inspiration for me not only as a writer, but as a person.
I’ll start the month off with two poems of my own. One is the first poem I ever wrote. It was the summer between 4th and 5th grade and I always use this as a tribute to National Poetry Month, because we all have to start somewhere.
Bunnies are so very little, they are also very brittle.
So when you pick one up, be sure your hands are in a cup.
And don’t pick one up too often, or you’ll be putting it in a coffin.
This second is from my collection, In the Garden of Life and Death ~ A Mother and Daughter Walk, published by Main Street Rag.
We leave doctors, nurses and navigate
city streets of Columbia to Finlay Park,
seek relief from monotony of clinic days
and release energy for a long ride home.
Our lunches eaten on porch swings that rim
the upper level, we stir up soft breezes
in the slow back and forth. A waterfalls’ gurgle
splashing over rocks is music washing away fatigue.
The play equipment lures my three on this school day
when no one else is around and they have carte blanche
over swings and roller slides. We follow winding paths,
descend into the hollow carved below noise and fumes.
The air is cooler, lighter, we breathe easier. We whisper
messages across the playground through hidden tubes.
Zachary, Gabrielle and Nicholas race
from structure to structure, the rubber padding thuds
with each footfall as adventures of pirates and police
play out. They laugh and tease. I don’t watch the clock.
Until Gabrielle’s hat flies off and her baldness shines
in the sun, I can forget why we’re here.
In addition to poems, I asked each poet a couple of questions:
- How old were you when you wrote your first poem? What was the topic?
- If you could sip a cup of coffee, raise a glass of wine or a glass of Guinness with any poet, living or deceased, whom would it be?
Their answers were as interesting and diverse as their poetry. I hope you’ll enjoy the next 30 days of reading as much as I’ve enjoyed the past 30 days quilting together these beautiful, colorful voices.