Sleeping with Poetry

I give my students packets of poems

With the publication data: cover pages, copyright, pages with the

Poems themselves;

Poems printed off the Internet too,

With URLs and website info and even where

They were first printed.

And they studiously flip the pages, scouring them

For every tidbit of information they need to create

A Works Cited page–properly formatted and informationally complete.

And when they finish, they put their heads down

On the desks, exhausted, and bored.  Some

Stare off into space; others twiddle their thumbs, waiting

For the packets to be collected. So they can do something else:

Read a book, doodle a drawing, study for the next final exam.

What they do not do,

What they do not even think to do,

Is read the poems.

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Of One Accord

–With Apologies to Walt Whitman, on this,  the anniversary of his birth —

 

Out of the classroom,  endlessly grading, essays, quizzes, tests, projects,

Students querying, teachers conferring, adminstrators requesting,

My world seems harried with

Deadlines, disagreements, discernment, and classroom dissonance, but

I go forth once more into the dusk, the light of the day having passed me by, yet

The twilight is enchanting as I enter the park in search of

Leaves of grass and blooms on the trees to turn this urban jungle

Into nature’s bounty.  And the park is crowded, I am not alone, now

That the sun has been shining and the skies turned blue.

The runners in their teams,  stretching before the race,  gathering in their teal t-shirts,

The casual joggers getting their exercise glance lightly as they saunter by,

The tourists with their cameras capturing Bethesda fountain, the buskers singing

Lennon around the Imagine mosaic adorned with flowers,

The artists, masseuses, and psychics hawking their wares,

The policemen watching it all, hearing the buskers’ songs

And the people talking in English, French, Spanish, German, Hindi, Farsi, Mandarin,

And so many more, melding into one giant song,  a harmony of humanity,

One day, one moment, when the mass of man – and woman – kind

Coexists, lives side by side, enjoying the evening and

The leaves of  grass.

And these days, these moments,  quietly stack themselves

One after another in peaceful concord without

Notice,  until order is broken and dissonance

Reigns, convincing us all that strife and discord are

The Way of the World and the Solution to whatever

Problem arises.  Return, oh friends, to Strawberry Fields,

Hear the songs of peace,  feel the sun on your face,

Lie in the grass, listen to the gurgle of the fountain, hold

Hands with your neighbor and form a bond that

Knows no bounds and admits no disorder.

Pad 30: The Red

The Red.

What I see is red. 

But why do you wear

Red?

For blood perhaps.

But then which blood?

That which you don’t

Want to see,  menstrual?

Which means that you’ve

Failed. 

Or that which you do,  

Childbirth?

Do you really

Want that child though, 

Who is not yours

Though you gave birth to

Her? Him?

And what if she’s a she?

What of this world you’ve

Birthed her into?

Where will she fit?

How will she be used?

And if a he? 

What,  how will he

Grow up to be?

An oppressor? A user? A savior? 

But not an equal.

Not in this world. 
And in our world?

What then?

(PAD 30 prompt: The _____. Fill in the blank, make that your title,  and go.  I wrote this poem in response to seeing an art installation on The Handmaid’s Tale. )

PAD 28

How can a smell be warm?

Or welcoming? or comforting?

Or loving?

But on a rainy Saturday morning,

When you are snuggled up

Under the covers

Stretching awake, yet

Reluctant to get out of bed,

That first cup of coffee

Brought to you in bed

By your sweetheart

Smells like love.

 

(PAD 28 prompt: write a smell poem. Help me title this one!)

PAD 27: A Ramble Through the Park

A cool spring evening–

The trees festooned with buds–

A new season beginning–

New life, new hope, new love–

Off you go, to ramble

Through the park

Amid the green and pink and purple and yellow

The white and red–

The cracks in the pavement

Showing signs of winter’s stress

Are but a small hiccup to the

Peace of the day, of the season–

Don’t let the pests of spring blind you

And cause you to wince

And miss the beauty of the world

Waking up to a new day.

 

PAD prompt for April 27, 2017: use at least three of these six words in your poem:

  • pest
  • crack
  • ramble
  • hiccup
  • wince
  • festoon

 

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PAD 14: Quality Time

The implication is that quality

Transcends quantity.

Why go for a lot

When you can go for the best?

But when, really,

Did quality and quantity

Become enemies?

I want a quantity of

Quality time

With you.

 

(PAD prompt for April 14, 2017: Pick a popular saying, make it the title of your poem, and go.)

PAD 24: As Seasons Roll

From winter to spring, the seasons roll

Every year it has been so,

Every year it will be.

When snow tarries into March or April,

Still we know that spring is coming soon,

The snow won’t last, the days do lengthen,

Bright, breezy days will follow.

We do not question it even though

We cannot see the grass or feel the warmth,

We have faith that Nature will not let us down.

So when we fear and feel afraid of death’s dark door

And what is to come, have faith that

God will not abandon us, and just as surely

As spring follows winter, so too does

Light follow darkness.

 

 

(PAD prompt April 24, 2017: Write a faith poem.)

PAD 25: Love in the Doldrums 

Love’s first flush

Excites the spirit,

And passion ignited

Burns bright and hot;

Reignited, rekindled it

Stirs old blood to 

New or forgotten desire. 

But love in the doldrums

Is sweetest. 

A hand held 

Sitting on a couch

Watching dumb TV

Together, 

A kind word

An open ear,

Comfort, safety,

Home. 

Certain too that

The fever will return, 

But in between is 

Not absence, but 

Fullness.