Monday, April 4, 2011

April, National Poetry Month

I love April for many reasons. It brings a lightness and cheer after heavy, dark winter days. It also brings National Poetry Month which I really enjoy because I have fond memories of celebrating poetry with my students. It was a time that learning was truly fun, and I was always finding ways to make poetry in new ways.

I never was good at doing the measured beats of a poem and I just didn’t “get” free verse. Now, however, I love free verse, and it is a popular way to use poetic devices. I love metaphor and similes best in the way of imagery. My dad spoke often in figurative (and sometimes inappropriate) language. With relatives that came straight from Ireland to Kansas, there surely must have been a seanachie (skan a kee) or storyteller on the family tree somewhere. I know that my great-grandfather used his fiddle to play for dances and that his son, my grandfather, also played with him. How I wish I could step back and hear their music just once for myself. I think that there is music in poetry too.

Growing up, Robert Frost was my favorite poet. I loved his lines, felt the rhythm even if I couldn’t always decode it. His poems were mini stories packed with emotions and tales. Who can not love his lines about blueberries?

And after all they are ebony skinned;
The blue’s but a mist from the breath of the wind.

In the last few years I have named Ted Kooser, Mary Oliver and Jane Kenyon as favorites. Mary Oliver writes about berries, too in her book American Primitive. “Off the road in the hacked tangles blackberries as big as thumbs hang shining in the shade.” Can’t you almost taste ‘em?

Jane Kenyon’s "Let Evening Come", you MUST read this one in its entirety. It is one of my all time favorites and as much a meditation as a poem. Go to this link to read Jane’s lines. You won’t be disappointed.

During one rainy season, I wrote a rather sensuous poem which is not my forte, but it sold to New Love Stories magazine first time out. It is copied below.

Rainy Saturday

I wake to hear steady rain
Tumbling through swelling gutters.
This day is muddy dark like a drainpipe.
A damp breeze stirs satiny curtains of an open window
While I lie here coming to my morning senses.
Soon your tapping fingers touch me,
Playing imaginary piano keys on my thigh.
I smile; I hear your song.
I know that our bodies will strike out a symphony
Beginning adagio, moving to a rousing finale.
Since I don’t want to miss a morsel of the melody.
I roll over and let the music begin.



Susan said...

Hi Claudia...I always liked Robert Frost's poetry, too. Loved your poem! Such clear and sensuous images! WOWSERS. Great job. Susan

irishoma said...

Hi Claudia,
Congratulations on selling your poem! It is wonderful! Wow. You are right--it is sensuous.

One of my favorite poems is "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke.

I read it in an English Lit course in college and the images and rhyme have stuck with me all these years.