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Entries in poetry (76)

Wednesday
Sep052007

spending time with poetry

this week, the community formed at Poetry Thursday is leaving links to their thursday poetry posts at delia's blog...go visit her to find out next week's prompt and who will be hosting the next week of, in her words, the traveling poetry show. love that. at some point tomorrow (thursday), i plan to share some more personal thoughts about what's happening (a bit more than what i shared on the most recent post at poetry thursday) and why the community is going to "jump from blog to blog" for the next couple of weeks.

*****

sept 5
september 5, a moment tucked in bed with the words of sharon olds.

to read the words of sharon olds in her collection of poetry in the book "the gold cell" is to repeatedly breathe in the knowledge that my story, although it is my story, is a story, a song, a path that is known by others.

feelings long pushed deeply into a little pocket inside me burst out of me each time i visit with this poet.

but i come back often because i am face to face with the knowledge that to examine the bits in the internal pocket is to examine the quietest, most truthful pieces of me. it is a raw, breath-catching experience that somehow makes me feel more whole instead of sad.

the gift of poetry.

(tonight's experience was with the poem "late poem to my father," which you can find here if you scroll down a bit)

Friday
Aug312007

a poetry thursday favorite poem

The Sunday before the Wednesday I was to see you
the conversation played
on a stage in my mind.
Knowing you would pretend to be irritated that
I had flown across the country unannounced
because you did not
want me to see you like this,
I would pull the chair next to your bed,
see your emaciated body,
and my hand would brush
away the hair around your face
like I did twenty-five years ago
right before I would smear Pond’s cold cream
across your nose, cheeks, and forehead.
I would tell you that I finally understood.

But then you died on Tuesday.

In their need for reason,
people said you chose to die
the Tuesday before the Wednesday I was to see you
because you knew I was coming and
you wouldn’t have
wanted me to see you like that.
Infuriated, I turned my back
on the words that meant nothing
to the open wound you left behind
that people saw as me, and
I sat in the darkness,
my throat choked with silence,
my fingertips filled with regret that I
did not brush your hair
away from your face
when I saw you on
the morning of the Thursday after the Wednesday I was to see you,
when I heard your voice say,
It isn’t me.

****

I originally shared this poem in the summer of 2006 and again here as part of Poetry Thursday, which was an online community I co-hosted. It poured out of me one day when I was processing the grief surrounding my grandmother's death and my anger at the platitudes people say. Of all the poems I wrote during my experience of Poetry Thursday, this was my favorite.

Thursday
Aug302007

the last poetry thursday

I cried last night as I wrote my last post for Poetry Thursday. I surprised myself a bit by how deeply sad I felt as I saved and published it. This project has been more important to me than I think I even realized. Part of the reason is how connected it is to my own discovery of how much I love poetry and how I believe poetry can change a person…and the world. I know it is also connected to finding light in darkness as poets (the ones I discovered on bookstore shelves and the ones I connected with in blog world) were some of the first people to say to me, "You are not alone in the deep well of grief." So, this gift is also connected to Poetry Thursday.

I realize that I don't have to return these gifts because the project is ending. It isn't as though I will suddenly stop reading poetry or stop writing it. Of course not. I am not leaving blog world, and I will continue to connect with other bloggers who love poetry. I will continue to share my own poetry, links to other poets/poems/blogs, and thoughts about poetry here. And, I imagine I will probably find myself sharing them on Thursdays the way many of us still share Self-Portrait Challenge photos on Tuesdays. I suppose I must admit that I will have more time for my own love affair with poetry as cohosting a site does take up quite a bit of time. But, to me, it is sad all the same.

To all of you who have participated in Poetry Thursday: Thank you for all you have shared and taught and the community you created. Please keep changing the world one poem at a time.

*****

A short poem note (or maybe it is indeed simply a short poem) on this last Poetry Thursday…

We stood until the drum of your heart, the water rolling down my back, and your hands cradling my head were all we were.

Wednesday
Aug012007

i took {poetry thursday}

Tonight, as my "to do" list fights with my "people I seem to be letting down lately" list for the top spot on my inbox and the television speaks only sadness, I took a break. From all of it. I took a break holding a Spire cider in one hand and Billy Collins or rather the poetry of Billy Collins in the other. I took a break sitting on my front step as day turned into dusk pulling on the hem of evening's skirt. I took a break from all of it. I took a break with a cider and Billy Collins. I took a break from grief as I skipped over poems that called to me with titles like "The Dead" and "The Afterlife."

I allowed laughter in.

I took a break from it all and spent time with laughter as I read "The Hunt" four times to paint the described landscape in my mind. I let this landscape where Noah Webster and his assistants hunt a new word become, for a moment, my landscape. I took a break with laughter. I took a break. From all of it. I took a break from fixing when I turned to "Going Out for Cigarettes" and nestled inside these words:

Let us say this is the place where the man who goes out
for cigarettes finally comes to rest: on a riverbank
above the long, inquisitive wriggling of that line,

sitting content in the quiet picnic of consciousness

I took a break and let Billy Collins remind me.

I took a break sitting on the front step as dusk settled over the stretching northwest skyline. I took a break. From all of it. I took a break to breathe in nature and words. I began to breathe in every word and then found myself suddenly chewing. As I reread "Metamorphosis" I was suddenly chewing as though if eating "If Kafka could turn a man into an insect in one sentence perhaps he could turn me into something new" and "Not that I am miserable, but I could use a change" would cause the page to turn and I would find myself away. From all of it. From the fighting, stretching lists. I even contemplated consuming the ant that crawled across the words as though his ability to walk on the actual letters would make the words grow inside me and root.

I took a break. From all of it. I took a break and watched the ant crawl across page 70 then 71 and toward the back cover. I took a drink then gave the ant freedom with the understanding of safety from me and Kafka and Collins.

I took a break. From all of it. I took a break with cider and Collins and dusk turning into a warm breezy August nightfall. I took a break to remind myself. I took a break to let poetry remind me of myself.

I took a break. From all of it. I took a break until I could no longer read the words in the dimming light.

I took a break to remember.
I took a break to remember me.

*****

Poems mentioned are from Questions About Angels by Billy Collins. To read "Metamorphosis" in its entirety, click over to this Washington Post article. Note that the poem ends right before the last paragraph (the last word of the poem is face); this isn't clear in the online layout.

Go on over and visit Poetry Thursday to link to more participant posts...

Wednesday
Jul182007

my heart carries {poetry thursday}

cannon beach sunset

sunset at cannon beach, taken by jonny

my heart carries:

the sound of the birds chirping me awake
the first time i held my baby brother in my arms
the time my baby brother held me in his arms after our grandmother's funeral
the smell of hot apple cider with cinnamon
my mother's voice saying, "i am on my way"
the way our dog millie snores asleep next to me on the couch
the first time my husband said, "can i hold your hand?"
the feel of my childhood pink blanket against my face before i would fall asleep
the way a friend laughs until tears stream down her face
a moment witnessing my father's vulnerability
the smells of game day
the crocus as it peeks into spring
the first time eating corn on the cob after my braces were removed
the rhythm of my grandmother's voice saying "hello" when she knew it was me
moments spent watching the sky become a watercolor streaked sunset

***

letting go of the need for a genre (and thanking dana for that invitation), i am going to just keep writing poem notes. little pieces that appear in my mind that i want to grab before they slip away. i will keep them here so that i can turn to them as needed.

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