Sunday, March 28, 2010

Suggestion for a sleepless night

Cant' sleep? Do what a friend of mine does. Read poetry. I am not implying that poetry is so boring that it will put you to sleep. But it can be soothing, especially if read aloud---which may mean moving to another room. But the sounds and rhythms can be as calming as deep breathing. Keep an anthology by the bedside. I recommend "Americans' Favorite Poems" edited by Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz.

Beautiful images can quiet a busy mind. Haiku is a garden of beautiful images. One that I re-read often is "The Essential Haiku" edited by Robert Hass.

Of course, there are also many poems that can sprout in your ear buds and are the next best thing to having someone read to you. And we all love being read to sleep.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

We are just plain folks that love words, language, reading poetry...

Anne Bradstreet (America's first woman poet)

"These are not the poets you remember from high school who sit in lonely rooms writing maudlin words that few might hear and fewer comprehend."

Willliam Shakespeare

This is the opening paragraph of an article about protest poetry that appeared in the Style Section of "The Washington Post" on March 12th.

Geoffrey Chaucer

It may be the poets the author of this article remembers, but it is certainly not the poets that I remember that were introduced to me in high school. I am sorry that the author had such bad luck.

Emily Dickinson

The depth and power of the poetry of Shakespeare, Chaucer, Thomas, Yeats, Keats, Milton, Hopkins were not maudlin to me. The poetry of Longfellow, Frost, Browning, Emerson, Dickinson, Crane, Coleridge, Carroll to name a few, were very understandable, even to a teenager.

W.B. Yeats

The author goes on to say..."Poets you say...Aren't they those solitary creatures, slaves to pen and paper, pulling out strands of hair, beating on unforgiving keys of typewriters and computers, always reaching for the more perfect word."
John Keats

I suppose this is written so as to contrast dramatically with the protest poets reading an antiwar poem near the Capitol.
John Milton

I cheer them on. But please dear Post writer, we are among you in other guises---not solitary, slaves, or hair pullers.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

We are just plain folks that love words, language, reading poetry and sometimes taking a stab at writing a poem.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thoughts of and hopes for spring

It's hard not to have thoughts of and hopes for spring, even though the winds are chilly and there are blobs of dirty snow looming around us.

To bolster that hope, I bought a small bouquet of tightly closed daffodils, my favorite flower.

True to form, they opened their sunny faces and brightened my life with their utter simplicity.

Here's a poem about daffodils that is in my newly published book "At The Turquoise Table"
Photo by Russell J Smith (flickr)

Late Storm

Longing for an early spring

I sloshed through the slush

to buy

a fistful of bright, yellow


who sit defiantly

on my table

nodding in my direction.