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April is Poetry Month

I love poetry but I love it in my own time; I want it to kind of flit across my field of vision

and catch me by surprise, Like Walt Whitman's Spider, from my blog two weeks ago.

I like the way Billy Collins puts it in his poem, "Introduction to Poetry."

"Take a poem and hold it up to the light, like a slide, or hold your ear to its hive."

Some words stay in my mind and I keep them like treasures, to bring out when I need comfort or delight.

Like Louis Armstrong--"The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night."

And Dylan, "O to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free."

And, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it."

And, from a hymn, that inspired the title of my blog, "Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime."

A friend once me that when she was little her teacher told her,

"We must memorize poetry so that when the Communists come and imprison us, we will have beautiful thoughts to sustain us until we are rescued."

That's a little apocalyptic for me.


William Wordsworth said it in a less threatening way with Daffodils.

I wandered lonely as a Cloud That floats on high o'er Vales and Hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden Daffodils; Beside the Lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the Milky Way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. The waves beside them danced, but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:— A Poet could not but be gay In such a jocund company: I gazed—and gazed—but little thought What wealth the shew to me had brought: For oft when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude, And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the Daffodils. What do you keep in your heart to bring out in vacant or pensive mood?

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem

and hold it up to the light

like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem

and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room

and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski

across the surface of a poem

waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do

is tie the poem to a chair with rope

and torture a confession out of it.

The St Agnes branch of the NY Public Library with literary characters

this is the Saint Agnes Branch of the NY Public Library. the caption says, "See who you can meet at the Library."

April 07, 2022

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