Poetry Slam Party

Poetry is an old friend of mine. April happens to be its special month.

poetry commentary, poetry

Thank you, Corey of I Like My Bike and Beth Webb Hart of Southern Belle View, for bringing National Poetry Month to my attention. Thank you also, Geetanjali of Open a Book, for inspiring me with Rhyme Time on your blog.

In celebration, everyday epistle is hosting a Poetry Slam Party.

best remembered poems

This is not your ordinary poetry slam. You don’t have to write the poem you share or read it on an open mic in front of strangers. There are no hidden judges in the audience. We’re just here to enjoy reading and remembering the selections you choose.

All you have to do is share the title and author of a favorite poem.

If the mood strikes, tell why you like it, dazzle us with its best lines, or be my guest and share the whole enchilada.


Because Poetry is the shock of cool water on the tenth day of triple digits. Bonfire smoke and goose bumps in October. A wool coat wrapped in the silence of the first snow. A nest of newborn robins in the regal holly tree.

the poems of emily dickinson

Who couldn’t use more of that?

I’ll get us started with Emily Dickinson’s My life closed twice before its close:

My life closed twice before its close—
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me

So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.

Let the Poetry Slam Party begin, good readers. The floor is yours.

poetry blooms

I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
Song of Solomon 2:1 NIV

Need help? Go to www.poets.org to find a poem.

Please share a selection with us.
Ready, set, SLAM! 

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46 Responses to Poetry Slam Party

  1. Poetry = Awesome. There’s nothing I love more than some good Cowboy poetry. Whether it be humorous tales from Baxter Black in his late night farm veterinary calls or serious reminiscing from the mountains of Wyoming, you have to appreciate Cowboy Poets.

    There’s no close call on my favorite. ‘Cowboy Is His Name’ from Baxter Black was featured in the movie ‘8 Seconds’ (1994) and every time I hear it, I go back to some special memories associated with that film. Here it is. Enjoy. And if you haven’t read Baxter Black, I highly recommend his take on ranch life.

    There’s a hundred years of history
    and a hundred before that
    All gathered in the thinkin’
    Goin’ on beneath this hat.

    The cold flame burns within him
    ‘Til his skin’s as cold as ice
    And the dues he paid to get here
    Are worth every sacrifice.

    All the miles spend sleepy drivin’
    All the money down the drain,
    All the ‘if I’s’ and ‘nearly’s,’
    All the bandages and pain,

    All the female tears left dryin’,
    All the fever and the fight
    Are just a small down payment
    On the ride he makes tonight.

    It’s guts and love and glory,
    One mortal’s chance at fame.
    His legacy is rodeo
    And cowboy is his name.

  2. roy

    the one I can read over and over and always love,

    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
    On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming,
    And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor,
    And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
    Shall be lifted — nevermore!

    but #2 would likely be,


    by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

    HE jester walked in the garden:
    The garden had fallen still;
    He bade his soul rise upward
    And stand on her window-sill.

    It rose in a straight blue garment,
    When owls began to call:
    It had grown wise-tongued by thinking
    Of a quiet and light footfall;

    But the young queen would not listen;
    She rose in her pale night-gown;
    She drew in the heavy casement
    And pushed the latches down.

    He bade his heart go to her,
    When the owls called out no more;
    In a red and quivering garment
    It sang to her through the door.

    It had grown sweet-tongued by dreaming
    Of a flutter of flower-like hair;
    But she took up her fan from the table
    And waved it off on the air.

    ‘I have cap and bells,’ he pondered,
    ‘I will send them to her and die’;
    And when the morning whitened
    He left them where she went by.

    She laid them upon her bosom,
    Under a cloud of her hair,
    And her red lips sang them a love-song
    Till stars grew out of the air.

    She opened her door and her window,
    And the heart and the soul came through,
    To her right hand came the red one,
    To her left hand came the blue.

    They set up a noise like crickets,
    A chattering wise and sweet,
    And her hair was a folded flower
    And the quiet of love in her feet.

    • Roy, those are both beautiful. I was amazed with what EAPoe could do with words from the first time I read him way back in high school. “And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming…” Doesn’t get much better than that. And Yeats…exceptional. Thank you so much for your comment!

  3. It’s very nice of you to mention me in your post! Thank you! I have begun appreciating poetry more since I began blogging. It really helps knowing other people who love, enjoy and share poetry!

    I’ve chosen to share a passage from the book Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore. The entire book is poetry and it’s also my namesake! Gitanjali means ‘Song Offering to God’.

    (32) By all means they try to hold me secure who love me in this world. But it is otherwise with thy love which is greater than theirs and thou keepest me free.
    Lest I forget them they never venture to leave me alone. But day passes by after day and thou art not seen.
    If I call not thee in my prayers, if I keep not thee in my heart, thy love for me still waits for my love.

    • Oh, wow. Geetanjali, I’ve never read that before. It’s truly lovely. “By all means they try to hold me secure who love me in this world.”
      I Googled the poet and discovered he won the Nobel Prize for literature. The Nobel Foundation described Gitanjali as “profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse.” Thank you for introducing me to Rabindranath Tagore. And please keep posting poems on Wednesdays!

  4. Laura Singleton

    1. “Though they go mad, they shall be sane
    Though they sink through the sea, they shall rise again
    Though lovers be lost, love shall not
    And death shall have no dominion.” — Dylan Thomas
    *** I first learned this poem in the 90s when Beauty & the Beast was on tv. (Ron Perlman, Linda Hamilton, anyone remember?). My basis for romance, the best love story ever told, the words he spoke to her as she died in his arms. I cannot speak, or even read, these words without a hushed voice filled with gravitas.
    2. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29: also learned on Beauty & the Beast. I was the only 14-yr-old I knew who had a sonnet memorized. I’ve used it at auditions, in love notes, recited it in poetry class in college (terribly impressing the prof who said, “Does anyone happen to know a sonnet they could recite for us?” HAH!!!), & recited it for a couple ladies when I worked at Waldenbooks, thus selling them a book of Will’s sonnets for a bridal shower gift.
    “When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
    I all alone beweep my outcast state,
    And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
    And look upon myself, and curse my fate.
    Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
    Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
    Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
    With what I most enjoy contented least.
    Yet in these thoughts, myself almost despising,
    Haply I think on thee, and then my state
    Like to the lark at break of day arising
    From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate.
    For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
    That then I scorn to change my state with kings.”
    ::deep sigh:: Ohh!! Is there anything sweeter than the delight of words??!

    • I remember that show, faithfully watched and loved it. The story of Beauty and the Beast, before Disney, captured my heart when I read Beauty: The Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley. It’s a young adult book, sort of a coming of age story. Still a favorite of mine.

      And no, I’m not sure there is anything sweeter than the delight of words. “For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings/ That then I scorn to change my state with kings.” Perfection.

  5. OK, my turn to throw “exotic” stuff out there… One of my favorite poets of all time is Endre Ady, an early 20th century Hungarian poet. His life story alone is interesting to read, and his poetry reflects it. My favorite of his is “Guarding Your Eyes” (Õrizem a szemed). I’ll post both a translation and the Hungarian here – even an artistic translation doesn’t give it fully back in my opinion.

    With my old man’s wrinkled hand,
    with my old man’s squinting eyes,
    let me hold your lovely hand,
    let me guard your lovely eyes.

    Worlds have tumbled, through their fall
    like a wild beast chased by fright
    I came, and I on you did call
    scared, I wait with you inside.

    With my old man’s wrinkled hand,
    with my old man’s squinting eyes,
    let me hold your lovely hand,
    let me guard your lovely eyes.

    I do not know why, how long
    can I thus remain for you –
    but I hold your lovely hand
    and I guard your lovely eyes.

    Már vénülõ kezemmel
    Fogom meg a kezedet,
    Már vénülõ szememmel
    Õrizem a szemedet.
    Világok pusztulásán
    Õsi vad, kit rettenet
    Ûz, érkeztem meg hozzád
    S várok riadtan veled.

    Már vénülõ kezemmel
    Fogom meg a kezedet,
    Már vénülõ szememmel
    Õrizem a szemedet.

    Nem tudom, miért, meddig
    Maradok meg még neked,
    De a kezedet fogom
    S õrizem a szemedet.

    • Be still my heart. CN, I love this! It exudes depth and emotion, even if the translation doesn’t do the original justice. I wish I knew how it reads in Hungarian. The idea of “guarding” another’s eyes is so sweet and tender and touching. Thank you for sharing Endre Ady’s work here. He’s another poet I wouldn’t have known of otherwise.

      • I’m so glad you liked it, Aimee! He’s one of my favorite Hungarian poets… An interesting bit – his titles were always 3 words, no more no less. The other great 20th century poet I absolutely adore is Miklos Radnoti – a Jewish poet who spent most of his adulthood in different forced-labor camps, and was executed during a forced march to Germany in 1945. Most of his poems – usually written in classical Greek formats like eclogas or idylls with strict hexametric or pentametric rhythms that’s super hard to achieve with the Hungarian language – were found in his pocketbook on his body some years after his death. As to not take up way too much space from him, I’ll just share the last (and most chilling) verse of the Seventh Ecloga:

        Alszik a tábor, látod-e drága, suhognak az álmok,
        horkan a felriadó, megfordul a szűk helyen és már
        ujra elalszik s fénylik az arca. Csak én ülök ébren,
        féligszítt cigarettát érzek a számban a csókod
        íze helyett és nem jön az álom, az enyhetadó, mert
        nem tudok én meghalni se, élni se nélküled immár.

        The lager sleeps, you see, my dear, dreams are swooshing,
        The waking snorts, rolls in the tight spot and
        Falls back asleep, his face aglow. Just I alone sit awake,
        Half-smoked cigarettes I taste in my mouth instead of
        the taste of your kisses, and the sleep, it won’t come, that comfort-giver,
        as I can’t die, nor can I live without you anymore.

  6. Catherine

    What a wonderful idea, Aimee!
    I’ve been re-reading Adrienne Rich in the wake of her death last month. This is a gorgeous poem from a lovely series…

    Twenty-One Love Poems
    Adrienne Rich

    No one’s fated or doomed to love anyone.
    The accidents happen, we’re not heroines,
    they happen in our lives like car crashes,
    books that change us, neighborhoods
    we move into and come to love.
    Tristan und Isolde is scarcely the story,
    women at least should know the difference
    between love and death. No poison cup,
    no penance. Merely a notion that the tape-recorder
    should have caught some ghost of us: that tape-recorder
    not merely played but should have listened to us,
    and could instruct those after us:
    this we were, this is how we tried to love,
    and these are the forces they had ranged against us,
    and theses are the forces we had ranged within us,
    within us and against us, against us and within us.

    • Catherine, I’m honored by your comment. Your choice from Adrienne Rich is a “gorgeous poem” indeed. I appreciate her practical, almost common language and use of images. They lure you in and too late you realize you’re caught as she turns to higher themes: “love and death,” “some ghost of us,” “this we were…” Excellent. Thank you for gracing us with this selection!

    • Ginger Price

      Adrienne Rich is one of my favorites. I wrote my Senior Thesis about Diving into the Wreck in my university days.

  7. Poetry! You are speaking my love language! I cannot read anything by Tennyson without getting cold chills. I mean, just READ this…

    Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
    Little breezes dusk and shiver
    Through the wave that runs for ever
    By the island in the river
    Flowing down to Camelot.
    Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
    Overlook a space of flowers,
    And the silent isle imbowers
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Also, I love the poetry of George Herbert, such as:

    Arise, arise,
    And with His burial-linen dry thine eyes.
    Christ left His grave-clothes, that we might, when grief
    Draws tears or blood, not want a handkerchief.

    Have you ever read Madeleine L’Engle’s poetry? Really, she’s one of my favorites, and I never even thought of her as a poet until I found this book: http://tinyurl.com/7rzxeg8.

    • Poetry as a love language…what a great way to describe it. I think it’s mine, too!

      I agree about Tennyson. The language rolls and hurries you, building excitement. I got that feeling when I read The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; may I suggest trying one of the illustrated children’s book versions. Great to read with kids, but I enjoyed it as much as my son.

      I am not familiar with George Herbert, but the verse you included makes me curious to know more. And of course Madeleine L’Engle is best known for her novels by young adults. What a great find, this cache of her poetry. Thank you for including the link to The Ordering of Love. Another book and poet to add to my reading list…

  8. John Donne… I’m astounded every time I read this:

    Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you
    As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
    That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
    Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
    I, like an usurped town, to another due,
    Labor to admit you, but oh to no end,
    Reason your viceroy in me, me should defend,
    But is captivated and proves weak or untrue,
    Yet dearly I love you and would be loved fain,
    But am betrothed unto your enemy,
    Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
    Take me to you, imprison me, for I
    Except you enthrall me shall never be free,
    Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

    But when I’m feeling a little more mischievous, “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning is quite amusing. Thanks for hosting this!

  9. Fran Cook

    I appreciate being asked, personally, to participate in this Poetry Slam. I must admit that I am not a poetry aficionado. I’ve studied poetry as a student and I’ve taught it as a teacher. When it came time every year to teach “the Poetry Unit” I tried to share my empathy with students who might have found studying poetry difficult. However, I think there is a poem somewhere that can touch every person’s heart somehow, someway. When I was a teen-ager, I found a poem in a Reader’s Digest written by a woman that spoke of what finding the man who would fulfill all your dreams would be like. It was actually a humorous poem. But it spoke directly to me and I could understand it in a way that I knew what that feeling would be like someday. I cut that poem out of the Reader’s Digest and kept it in my Bible. I read it alot. Later, I even laminated it as it had become worn and frazzled. Years later when the man who was fulfilling all of my dreams decided he didn’t want me anymore, I threw that often-read and age-worn poem away. I couldn’t read it anymore. It hurt too much. I say all of this to testify that poetry does indeed have a way to make an imprint on our lives.

    For the purpose of this Poetry Slam, I wish I still had that poem. I wish I had not let its words leave my mind and my heart. I would love to share that poem with everyone here sharing in this blog.

    However, because I have been asked to share in this blog today by someone very special to my memories, I will share that one of my all-time favorite poems is “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. Another is “When We Two Parted” by George Byron.

    Thanks for asking me for my thoughts.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, dear teacher, and your story. Poetry does imprint on one’s heart and mind. Gets us through the long days and nights sometimes.

      I’m so glad you mentioned Robert Frost. He’s a favorite of mine. The poem by Lord Byron is sad, but beautiful as well. I’ve taken the liberty of posting them both here:

      The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

      Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
      And sorry I could not travel both
      And be one traveler, long I stood
      And looked down one as far as I could
      To where it bent in the undergrowth;

      Then took the other, as just as fair,
      And having perhaps the better claim
      Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
      Though as for that the passing there
      Had worn them really about the same,

      And both that morning equally lay
      In leaves no step had trodden black.
      Oh, I marked the first for another day!
      Yet knowing how way leads on to way
      I doubted if I should ever come back.

      I shall be telling this with a sigh
      Somewhere ages and ages hence:
      Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
      I took the one less traveled by,
      And that has made all the difference.

      When We Two Parted by Lord George Gordon Byron

      When we two parted
      In silence and tears,
      Half broken-hearted
      To sever for years,
      Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
      Colder thy kiss;
      Truly that hour foretold
      Sorrow to this.

      The dew of the morning
      Sunk chill on my brow–
      It felt like the warning
      Of what I feel now.
      Thy vows are all broken,
      And light is thy fame;
      I hear thy name spoken,
      And share in its shame.

      They name thee before me,
      A knell to mine ear;
      A shrudder comes o’er me–
      Why wert thou so dear?
      They know not I knew thee,
      Who knew thee so well–
      Long, long I shall rue thee,
      Too deeply to tell.

      In secret we met—
      In silence I grieve,
      That thy heart could forget,
      Thy spirit deceive
      If I should meet thee
      After long years,
      How should I greet thee?–
      With silence and tears.

  10. Bethany

    You fit into me like a hook into an eye.

    A fish hook.
    An open eye.

    Margaret Atwood

  11. Laura Singleton

    The Lady of Shallot always makes me think of Anne of Green Gables, reading it mournfully in the rowboat!

  12. Ginger Price

    Diving Into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich is one of, if not my absolute favorite poem. I wrote my thesis paper for university on this poem from the perspective of the diver being Adrienne writing her works in the sea of poetry both written and critiqued by men. Enjoy!

    First having read the book of myths,
    and loaded the camera,
    and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
    I put on
    the body-armor of black rubber
    the absurd flippers
    the grave and awkward mask.
    I am having to do this
    not like Cousteau with his
    assiduous team
    aboard the sun-flooded schooner
    but here alone.

    There is a ladder.
    The ladder is always there
    hanging innocently
    close to the side of the schooner.
    We know what it is for,
    we who have used it.
    it is a piece of maritime floss
    some sundry equipment.

    I go down.
    Rung after rung and still
    the oxygen immerses me
    the blue light
    the clear atoms
    of our human air.
    I go down.
    My flippers cripple me,
    I crawl like an insect down the ladder
    and there is no one
    to tell me when the ocean
    will begin.

    First the air is blue and then
    it is bluer and then green and then
    black I am blacking out and yet
    my mask is powerful
    it pumps my blood with power
    the sea is another story
    the sea is not a question of power
    I have to learn alone
    to turn my body without force
    in the deep element.

    And now: it is easy to forget
    what I came for
    among so many who have always
    lived here
    swaying their crenellated fans
    between the reefs
    and besides
    you breathe differently down here.

    I came to explore the wreck.
    The words are purposes.
    The words are maps.
    I came to see the damage that was done
    and the treasures that prevail.
    I stroke the beam of my lamp
    slowly along the flank
    of something more permanent
    than fish or weed

    the thing I came for:
    the wreck and not the story of the wreck
    the thing itself and not the myth
    the drowned face always staring
    toward the sun
    the evidence of damage
    worn by salt and sway into this threadbare beauty
    the ribs of the disaster
    curving their assertion
    among the tentative haunters.

    This is the place.
    And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
    streams black, the merman in his armored body.
    We circle silently
    about the wreck
    we dive into the hold.
    I am she: I am he

    whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
    whose breasts still bear the stress
    whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
    obscurely inside barrels
    half-wedged and left to rot
    we are the half-destroyed instruments
    that once held to a course
    the water-eaten log
    the fouled compass

    We are, I am, you are
    by cowardice or courage
    the one who find our way
    back to this scene
    carrying a knife, a camera
    a book of myths
    in which
    our names do not appear.

    • Rich was genius. It must have been fun to write your thesis on this work. I like so much of this poem, especially the lines “and there is no one/ to tell me when the ocean/ will begin.” Speaks to the female experience, but also to the human experience. Wonderful. Thank you kindly, Ginger!

  13. Thanks, Aimee. It’s fun to see, both the familiar and the unfamiliar, what has spoken to your visitors here. I have to confess, though: I have a hard time with the notion of a favorite. I overthink it, certainly.

    Once there was a time when the ready answer would have been Dylan Thomas. I’d have left you Fern Hill, Poem in October, or maybe something a bit more obscure: The Force that Through the Green Fuse Drives The Flower, or maybe even Over Sir John’s Hill. And those are all fine poems, which I know very well, and which mean a great deal to me.

    But lately Thomas is seeming more and more dated, in the textures of his language. And more and more overwrought, in the the focus of his obsession. Perhaps it is that I’ve outlived him now – he drank himself to death just before his 40th birthday. Maybe, despite that vow to live as if I’m half my age, I’ve outgrown some small portion of whatever Dylan never quite got the chance to. Or something like that, anyway.

    So I was thinking along other lines entirely, and having a hard time thinking of something I’d want to say was a favorite. Except for a certain Charles Simic poem which is probably a little too scandalous for your blog. And then I remembered this one this afternoon. It isn’t very serious. It’s a poem about writing poetry, which is an animal unto itself. It certainly isn’t some grand epiphany of insight into the inner workings of the universe. But it is fun, and it is accessible, and it reads very well aloud. And I have always liked it, since the first time I heard it read, by the poet himself, on videotape, in one of our classrooms long ago.

    Blackberry Eating

    I love to go out in late September
    among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
    to eat blackberries for breakfast,
    the stalks very prickly, a penalty
    they earn for knowing the black art
    of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them
    lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
    fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
    as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
    like strengths or squinched,
    many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
    which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
    in the silent, startled, icy, black language
    of blackberry — eating in late September.

    –Galway Kinnell

    But that aside, I drove past B&N this afternoon and decided, on a whim, to stop. I picked up three new anthologies of poetry, the first time I’ve done that in years. That’s got me a very much excited, actually. I can’t wait to read them.

    Maybe, that’s the best possible thing that could happen during a National Poetry Month. Maybe, I might have some new friends to share with you in the next few days.

    We will see.

    • I hope so, Corey. It’s nearly impossible for me to name a single favorite poem. Dickinson is comfortable to me; I am at home with anything she’s written. I’ve mentioned the dangerous Erica Jong here before, as a poet, not a novelist. And what a pleasure it’s been today reading Adrienne Rich and the others, many of whom are new to me.

      Having been blackberry picking-eating in the late summer in Illinois just a few years back, your selection holds more meaning for me now. There is a streak in me that stays young, maybe naive. Then I see places I’ve “outgrown,” as you described, simply by living. That realization can be sad, or as it is with this poem, it can bring a certain fullness I didn’t know before. At least I like to think so.

      Now I know you’ve moved past Dylan, but I must share the Poem in October. It’s just too good, though the spacing in the lines may be lost when I copy it here. Thank you so much for your contribution to this conversation. I’m honored that you weighed in!

      Poem in October by Dylan Thomas

      It was my thirtieth year to heaven
      Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
      And the mussel pooled and the heron
      Priested shore
      The morning beckon
      With water praying and call of seagull and rook
      And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
      Myself to set foot
      That second
      In the still sleeping town and set forth.

      My birthday began with the water-
      Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
      Above the farms and the white horses
      And I rose
      In rainy autumn
      And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
      High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
      Over the border
      And the gates
      Of the town closed as the town awoke.

      A springful of larks in a rolling
      Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
      Blackbirds and the sun of October
      On the hill’s shoulder,
      Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
      Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
      To the rain wringing
      Wind blow cold
      In the wood faraway under me.

      Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
      And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
      With its horns through mist and the castle
      Brown as owls
      But all the gardens
      Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
      Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
      There could I marvel
      My birthday
      Away but the weather turned around.

      It turned away from the blithe country
      And down the other air and the blue altered sky
      Streamed again a wonder of summer
      With apples
      Pears and red currants
      And I saw in the turning so clearly a child’s
      Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
      Through the parables
      Of sun light
      And the legends of the green chapels

      And the twice told fields of infancy
      That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
      These were the woods the river and sea
      Where a boy
      In the listening
      Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
      To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
      And the mystery
      Sang alive
      Still in the water and singingbirds.

      And there could I marvel my birthday
      Away but the weather turned around. And the true
      Joy of the long dead child sang burning
      In the sun.
      It was my thirtieth
      Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
      Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
      O may my heart’s truth
      Still be sung
      On this high hill in a year’s turning.

      • Thanks for posting it for me. I have it already posted as a note myself, not for this years Poetry month, but last year on my birthday. For years now, I’ve been reading it every birthday. And most of Karen’s too. It is a very, very good poem for that. Perhaps the best one out there.

        I rethought my comments on Thomas a bit – a lot of that is in the context of me working out what I perhaps would like to do in the event that I start earnestly trying to write something. And to be clear – I don’t think that is necessarily writing poetry again. But prose or poetry, fiction or non: That sense for the texture of the language is always involved.

        Reading the words aloud is when you really start to get a feel for how your sentences are flowing.

        And Dylan is very much about sound, to the extent that it sometimes can almost make his language all but impenetrable. I love what he is doing, but I wish he wasn’t so damn difficult about it, sometimes.

        I’ve got a little more thinking on the page I could do about his work, but maybe that’s something to save for one of my own posts.

        Thanks again, Aimee.

        • Oh, I hope you will begin to earnestly write again, Corey! I’ve been reading Ariel Gore. She writes about the frustrations and elations of writing. Says you write when you can. When there’s a spare moment, when the rest of the family is asleep, when you stop at a light… It’s how you get it done.

          And I hope I’m not reading too much into your last line when I say I’ll save a place for you on my bookshelf maybe? Or my blogroll?

      • Thanks for the encouragement, Aimee. You are very kind. I do have some ideas about a few things, here and there.

        As far as finding the time – i started using email filter so that i can email myself lines from my phone using a given subject. Anything with that subject gets automagically filed into a separate folder for later review. It’s helped enormously, to preserve lines and thoughts that come to me in otherwise inopportune moments. Still hard to manage while driving, but speech recognition in the phone can get some rudiments even then.

  14. Kim

    It’s good to think of poetry and its importance to life, our souls. Thank you, Aimee, for the great nudge!

    The thing about poetry, for me, is that there’s a poet for each of my many facets. The silly loves haiku. The romantic, something by Dickinson or Neruda. And when I want to be rooted within my own self and the world around me, one of the best poets to guide me is David Whyte. Below is a portion of “What I Must Tell Myself.”

    Above the water
    and against the mountain
    the geese fly through the
    brushed darkness
    of the early morning
    and out into the light,

    they travel over
    my immovable house
    with such unison
    of faith
    and with such
    toward the south

    cresting the mountains
    and the long
    coast of a continent

    as they move
    each year
    toward a horizon
    they have learned
    to call their own.

    I know this house,
    and this horizon,
    and this world I have made.
    I know this silence
    and the particular treasures
    and terrors
    of this belonging
    but I cannot know the world
    to which I am going. ….

    • Boom. Powerful, Kim.Yet another poet I’m pleased to meet here that I hadn’t known before. “…and the particular treasures/and terrors/of this belonging…” I’m in awe. Thank you so much for sharing!

  15. Catherine

    Too Late by Catherine B.

    I feel like it’s too late
    to apologize for everything
    that I’ve ever done wrong

    I feel like it’s too late
    to change who I’ve become
    back to what I was

    I feel like it’s too late
    because I’ve probably given up
    and “I don’t care”

    I feel like it’s too late;
    Too many tears have already been shed
    and the past can’t change

    They say it’s never too late…
    but then why does time exist?

    • Catherine, thank you for what I believe is an original poem. You honor us by sharing and making this a true poetry slam! Your vulnerability in grappling with these huge themes is very relatable. The frustration, wondering, and longing resonates. Thank you so much for sharing…

  16. Mickey "Coach A" Atkinson

    Aimee, I busied myself out of this yesterday, so I’m going to let my day wait until I can make my submission. In my efforts to make poetry relevant to even the least interested students through the final years of my teaching, I chose the most didacic of poems. There were dozens and dozens of them, such as Holmes’ “The Chambered Nautilus”, Lanier’s “Song of the Chattahoochee”, Robinson’s “Richard Cory” and countless others. I also enjoyed the “fun” poetry of Silverstein, and yes, Weird Al, and I even quoted Eminem if it would cause my students to engage. Of course, for the students who thought Eminem was a genius, I’d quote “Annabel Lee” by Poe. Perhaps my favorite poem to discuss was the simple poem by Langston Hughes entitled “Dreams”.

    Hold fast to dreams
    For if dreams die
    Life is a broken-winged bird
    That cannot fly.
    Hold fast to dreams
    For when dreams go
    Life is a barren field
    Frozen with snow.

    • I can imagine you quoting Eminem in class :)
      Dreams by Langston Hughes is a favorite of mine, too. It’s simple, yes. But memorable and profound as well. Thank you so much for your comment here, Coach A, and for your years of teaching all of us from “even the least interested students” to those who caught the bug for the magic of words.

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