Original Post Date April 17, 2013 at 04:26 PM
The author celebrates National Poetry Month. This week’s post is part two of a three part installment. This week, how poems can influence and inspire everyday experiences.
The Academy of American Poets recognizes April as National Poetry Month. Thursday, April 18 is National Poem In Your Pocket Day.
I qualify as perpetual carrier of poems in my pocket, be they in my Notepad app on my smartphone or my mini-journal in my junk bag. With Internet search engine at the ready, a random poem can be presented for review. Useful tools, saving me the numbing task of trying to remember a poem I’d recited a looooong time ago.
Remember that? Remember having to memorize and recite poems for a grade? You couldn’t get away with a haiku either, oh no.Shakespeare’s sonnets, any of them, incited hemorrhaging. I had the (cough, cough) joy of tackling Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock for a project. Thankfully, The Dragon (yes, she wanted us to call her that) only required Canto I of the five. Do the kids do this in school anymore? Is it another assignment they can file a legal injunction against?
This is why I respect poets. They can stand in front of an audience and spin a tale with grace and excitement and without needing to reference notes. Me? I tried it a couple of times with my own poetry. I can’t even memorize my own poetry! Perhaps I blew out that particular section of my brain during my recitation of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.
Poems can amplify your life experiences. One example is Stopping by Woods On A Snowy Evening. “Of easy wind and downy flake” is a beautiful line, full of imagery. I’ve enjoyed Robert Frost’s work since my childhood, but this poem literally came alive for me one winter driving in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Whenever I come across it now, I remember me and my dog Bear driving from Altoona to State College, stopping on a peak to admire the downy flake of an Appalachian winter.
Poetry can pronounce your experiences when your own words can’t do it justice. A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes did that for me three years ago. I remember reciting it for a stage production and for junior year English but thought nothing of it then. Seventeen years later I was fumbling over my state of being, crippled by uncertainty, and then happened upon this poem (courtesy of cswnet.com):What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load. Or does it explode?
And with that, I said, it’s time to become a writer. Novelist, poet, blogger three years later. Thank you Langston Hughes.
Remember to put a poem in your pocket tomorrow. Share it with everyone in listening range; posting on social media I deem cheating! I close with two of my own works for you to enjoy. One light, one dark, depending on how you prefer your poetic coffee.
Ode to Three Birds Tavern
(Composed 5.31.12)Once upon a day dreary wind choppy, sky bleary I wandered into tavern here soaking wet, ordered a beer Soon it amounted to more than one and out peak’ed the afternoon sun Kristen sparked the music box right with rockabilly to delight the boys in the back pushed the cue the bartender kept pouring brew the winds calmed down the sky did clear and all of this cause I stopped for a beer.
Stopping By The Master’s Grave
(Composed 4.4.13)youandI have been here before youandI youandI have spoken in cold air and youandI were youandI despite the chill youandI have much in common youandI darkness we wear like a furry cloak in the air of despair will me towards the black trust me to honor your way your words your fundamental melancholy youandI have much in common youandI I will see you brother it will not be too soon.