Friday, April 13, 2012

April - National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month and I always look forward to the celebration.  Words inspire nations to move mountains, souls to rejoice in the world's beauty, hearts to find humility and people to be the chronicler's of time's passing.  These are our passions, our hopes, our heartaches, and our dreams.  Share them often and frequently for they are a gift that touches everyone.

Proclamation at a Birth
by Linda Pastan

for Anna

 Let every tree
 burst into blossom
 whatever the season.
 Let the snow melt
 mild as milk
 and the new rain wash
 the gutters clean
 of last year's
 Let the guns sweep out
 their chambers
 and the criminals doze
 dreaming themselves
 back to infancy.
 Let the sailors throw
 their crisp white caps
 as high as they can
 which like so many doves
 will return to the ark
 with lilacs.
 Let the frogs turn
 into princes,
 the princes to frogs.
 Let the madrigals,
 let the musical croakings

"Proclamation at a Birth" by Linda Pastan, from Carnival Evening. ©
W.W. Norton & Company, 1998.

On Turning Ten by Billy Collins

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

Walter De Maria – The Lightning Field

In the heat of late Gary Young

In the heat of late afternoon, lightning
streaks from a nearly cloudless sky
to the top of the far mesa.
At dusk, the whole south end of the valley blazes
as the clouds turn incandescent with
some distant strike.
There is a constant congress here
between the earth and the sky.
This afternoon a thunderstorm crossed the
valley. One moment the ground was dry,
and the next there were
torrents running down the hillsides and arroyos.
A quarter-mile off
I could see a downpour bouncing
off the sage and the fine clay
soil. I could see the rain approach,
and then it hit, drenching me,
and moved on.
Ten minutes later I was dry.
The rain comes from
heaven, and we are cleansed by it.
Suddenly the meaning of baptism
is clear to me: you can begin again,
and we are saved every day.

"In the heat of late afternoon..." by Gary Young, from Even So: New & Selected Poems. © White Pine Press, 2012.