April is special for many reasons – a bird nest in every one of the nestboxes painted by our daughter, four in bushes, roses filling the trellises and blowing petals everywhere, Easter eggs still in the fridge, extra reading and exploring time during Spring Break, and it’s National Poetry Month!
Poetry, like music and art, speaks to the soul. We identify, smile, feel comforted by various forms of word patterns. Whether realistic, abstract, colorful, inspiring, funny, solemn, reverent or irreverent, there are poems for every time in life. For me, it isn’t always necessary for a poem to provide an answer or a definite conclusion. Sometimes I’d rather interpret the words my own way. The main joy in discovering a poem is that it evokes emotion.
I have far too many favorites to list. Some follow strict literary form, some are free verse; I love haiku and tanka, and limericks. My journal is full of all kinds of poetry, and our fridge sports poems which change from time to time.
Here are a couple that I have written for children’s magazines and for the children in my life. I get grins and lots of funny comments which makes writing worthwhile. Sometimes the words come first, and other times I capture a photo which gives me the words. I’m rarely without my camera, paper, and pen. Here they are:
I love her very much.
She rolls with tummy uppy
when she first feels my touch.
I scratch her chin to belly
and hold her in my lap.
Her legs go soft as jelly
and she stays to take a nap.
I see my best friend’s sleeping head
resting on my knee.
What does she see with her eyes
when she looks at me?
I sat on the porch by a plant in a pot
Watching an ant cross a big waterspot.
Then out of the leaves popped a sleepy-eyed head
Like the color of clay or a strange rusty-red.
It turned this way and that and looked sort of mean While I watched it turn into a bright shade of green!
I wanted to ask how the heck it did that, but
Before I could speak it leaped onto my hat.
I waved my hands wildly all over the top
But the thing disappeared in the leaves with a PLOP!
Here’s one by Wendell Berry for the adults in our children’s lives:
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Happy reading and writing during Poetry Month, and every month of the year.