A Spring Kiss of Poetry
I flirt with poetry. I dabble in it like lowering my toe into pond kissed by the morning sun to see if it's to my liking. It provides a level of fantasy and flow I cannot achieve on a daily basis in writing. This is why it's hard to believe I didn't recognize National Poetry Month last April! I blame nausea dominating my first trimester of pregnancy and the extended winter season, which thankfully has passed (my productivity thanks you). Good news, poetry will happily accept appreciation outside its assigned awareness month.
One of my favorite anthology of poems is One Hundred and One Famous Poems, complied by Roy J. Cook. It has a stamped copyright of 1929 and does not leave my desk. It was given to my husband's grandfather, Oliver D. Gibboney, from his aunt, as noted on the inside cover.
I am not sure how it fell into my hands, but I'm grateful it did. When I am dormant in work, I turn to its crinkled cream pages and smell the typed words. The ideas behind the poems are uncluttered. The way the words are pieced together bring their songlike beauty forth. They remind me to write straightforward. The most mundane moments of life are worth portraying in the eloquence of poetry, even if only for a single stanza. Enjoy a kiss of my poetry as well as some of my favorite poems from my desk mate.
I carry a mirror with me at all times.
She has smudges and scratches, exposed in the light,
She wears them proudly, wears them kind,
They are scars of a life lived with might.
I look to her in times of laughter and times of greed,
in times of success, in times of strife, in times of sadness,
She seeks, she absorbs only what she needs,
Her intentions only for the best, even though sometimes I contest.
She displays the truth even among the lies,
She shows the raw no matter how bad the reflection,
I learn by muting my mind and opening my eyes,
She is steady and forthcoming until the truth told is done.
With each moment faced, she brings the parts to the whole,
This is why I refuse to leave her reflection, her side,
She is my sister, my friend, the interrupter of my soul.
I carry my mirrors with me at all times.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 - 1861)
"She was not pretty as women I know,
And yet all your best made of sunshine and snow
Drop to shade, melt to nought in the long-trodden ways,
While she's still remembered on warm and cold days -
Her air had a meaning, her moments a grace;
You turned from the fairest to gaze her face;
And when you had once seen her forehead and mouth,
You saw as distinctly her soul and her truth -
Such a blue inner light from her eyelids out broke,
You looked at her silence and fancied she spoke;
When she did, so peculiar yet soft was the tone,
Though the loudest spoke also, you heard her alone -
I doubt if she said to you much that could act
As a thought or suggestion; she did not attract
In the sense of the brilliant or wise; I infer
'Twas her thinking of others made you think of her -
She never found fault with you, never implied
Your wrong by her right; and yet men at her side
Grew nobler, girls purer, as through the whole town
The children were gladder that pulled her gown -
None knelt at her feet confessed lovers in thrall;
They knelt more to God than they used-that was all:
If you praised her as charming, some asked what you meant,
But the charm of her presence was felt when she went -
The weak and the gentle, the ribald and rude,
She took as she found them, and did them all good;
It always was so with her - see what you have!
She made the grass greener even here with her grave -
We walk, we skip,
My heart follows.
There is no fear of tomorrow.
But your skip was quick,
Your heart hollows.
Is it only there for borrow?
We walk, we skip,
My heart questions:
When is tomorrow, when are we no longer a fad?
Your skip less quick,
Your hard now mad,
For I did not embrace the moment we had.
Not in Vain
Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)
"If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain."
Soak it in,
Right now, this now
For as one settles
The now is already gone
And you’re left saying
Somehow this now
Is no longer around.