A Little Sustenance–Poems for the Weekend

I can’t remember not loving poems.

A little girl, I loved reciting rhymes, delighted with the rhythm and cadence and sheer joy in taking words in, memorizing them, and speaking them back into the world.

Poems have a shape, a form, even when they don’t follow any formal scheme. They are containers for memory, experience, grief, joy, story, or the lack of story.

Poems can thrum with electricity, crackle with surprise, or list with unease. Poems do everything prose does in a modicum of the space.

Poems meet you where you are. That’s what I love about them. Most folks believe that a poem must mean what the poet meant when she wrote it.

I don’t.

I believe the poet releases the poem to the world and it begins to breathe on its own. It finds a reader where she lives and it weaves its magic into her experience.

National Poetry Month will be over this weekend, so I thought I would link here to a few more of my favorite poems. I hope they feed you the way they feed me.

The Envoy by Jane Hirshfield

One day in that room, a small rat.
Two days later, a snake.
Who, seeing me enter,
whipped the long stripe of his
body under the bed,
then curled like a docile house-pet.
************************************
I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise.
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Listen to Mary Oliver read Wild Geese
“You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.”
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Each of these links will take you to a treasure trough of poetry.
I’d love it if you shared the names of or links to poems you find, poems that move you to read them over and over again.
Happy Poetry weekend!!!

Briefly it enters . . . Jane Kenyon

It’s Friday. Much cooler today than it was yesterday. I’m inside, but my feet are cool in my flip-flop slippers. Does anyone use the word thongs anymore for flip-flops? I first typed “my feet are cool in my thongs” and realized that folks would wonder why my feet were slipped into my underpants. Does anyone ever say underpants? Is a thong considered underpants?

Even if the above questions are appropriate for a woman my age–born after the underwear/thong revolution, I’m getting off track here. Another time, perhaps.

***

With Easter only a few days in the past, I’ve been thinking a lot about love and church and religion and spirituality. There is so much I do not like about organized religion/Catholicism, and yet in church on Sunday morning all the perceived separation I feel on a regular basis (perhaps more regular after the November election) slipped away. It dissolved in the choir’s one-voice. I don’t always feel that way in church. Sometimes I feel it when I’m out walking–suddenly I am the birds singing, or the tree budding out, or the dandelions growing up between the sidewalk cracks.

Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks, a poem by the late Jane Kenyon reminds me that the heart of love is this very oneness. I am sharing a couple of lines here, and  hope you will follow this link to read the rest of the poem:

I am the blossom pressed in a book,
found again after two hundred years. . . .
I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper….
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