Last week I wrote about March, specifically the Ides of March. It wasn’t my happiest blog on record. This week of March has been much more enjoyable, including the First Day of Spring and that magical point in time, the Vernal Equinox (2:38 PM Pacific) on Wednesday, March 20. Ah, the poetry of the seasons.
In April, there will be even more. Not seasons, but poetry. April is National Poetry Month.
Though I’ve written some poetry and have even had some of my work published, I’ve never considered myself a poet. That title is for those who incessantly sweat it out with words and rhythms and beats. These folks deserve our admiration and thanks. Poetry is a distillation of observations and experiences that are difficult to convey in prose. And there are so many forms to choose from! When I write a poem I view it as a puzzle that needs the pieces to fit just so. A true poet can do that and also make their images fly.
What can an admirer of poetry do to celebrate National Poetry Month? Lots of things. Start with taking a poet out for coffee. I’m serious! There will doubtless be local celebrations in your community- -special readings, slams and contests, to name a few. If you’re like me and read to your pets every night, you can sneak in a poem between chapters of Captains Courageous or Wuthering Heights or Walter the Farting Dog Goes on a Cruise. Okay, I don’t really read Walter the Farting Dog books to Doc and the cats because they’re too old for that. But if you have puppies and kittens. . .
Where was I. Oh. Right. A great place to look for National Poetry Month activities is at the poets.org website https://www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/home. Here you’ll find ideas for communities, classrooms and the digital world. I’ve signed up for the “Poem-a-Day” posts. You don’t have to wait until April for poems to start arriving. Today I pondered “Poof” by poet Amy Gerstler, her response to receiving a small portion of a dear, departed friend’s ashes. These three months since Bruce’s death, I’ve often suspected the best way to express the loss of a loved one in words is through poetry. Gerstler’s poem beautifully confirms my suspicion. “Poem-a-Day” is free for the asking. I hope you’ll give it a try.
I’ve often promoted and participated in Cowboy Poetry Week. This is a celebration within the larger celebration, April 21-27 for 2019, with events in many states. You can learn more about what’s happening on the poetry range here: https://blog.cowboypoetry.com/2019/02/16/cpw2019/
In 2018, we lost the brilliant writer of both poetry and prose, Ursula K. Le Guin. Her book So Far So Good (Final Poems: 2014-2018) was published by Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend, WA. Le Guin’s distillations of life and what might lie beyond are captivating, to say the least. Maybe I’ll hunt up her Earthsea series for April reading to my four-legged kids and sneak in some of her poems between chapters. I’m sure Ged, aka Sparrowhawk, won’t mind.
Speaking of four-legged kids, my eldest, Grizelda, had an impromptu veterinary visit this week. As she’s a cat of a certain age (thirteen or fourteen), I’d been advised to watch for signs of hyperactive thyroid. She looked as if she’d lost weight this past month; Wednesday morning, she was charging around from cat box to cat box (we have three of them in the house), straining to eliminate, without success. After blood and urine tests, it was confirmed that she has not only hyperthyroidism, but a urinary tract infection as well. Thankfully, I’m able to treat her for both conditions at home, though anyone who’s given a cat medicine understands how much excitement this can cause in feline hearts and minds (not to mention claws and teeth).
In keeping with the advent of National Poetry Month, Grizelda’s plight has inspired the following Haiku*:
One syringe filled pink
One syringe filled clear
With luck, both go down the cat
*A traditional Japanese poem of three lines. Formulas for Haiku vary. I was taught to use five syllables in the first and second lines and seven in the last. Thanks to Ms. Timmie Kries, student teacher for Chuck McClurken’s 1972-73 eighth grade English class, Port Townsend Junior High.