Tomorrow….

Hope

Hope is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird –
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,

It asked a crumb  – of me.

– Emily Dickinson

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Tomorrow begins National Poetry Month and NaPoWriMo!

Come back each day to see my poem a day!

If you are in the Continental U.S. there will be three opportunities for you to win a free copy of my book of poetry, Filters, here, on my FaceBook page or if you sign-up for my weekly meditation, JOURNEY/lex.

And you can download a free copy of an e-book published by Tweetspeak Poetry!

Let the poetry begin!

Extinction

I heard that poetry is going extinct,napofeature3
government data shows, a Friday
afternoon tweet to end the week.

But I wonder if they heard
the darling little bird outside my
window before dawn,
it’s featherweight held bravely
by budding branch, itself
tweeting an arrival that returns
without fail in creamsicle
goodness each day.

I wonder if they heard
my first graders who listen to
Dickinson and Guthrie,
Williams and Hughes
as they place their chewed pencils,
erasers gone for the use,
on lined paper almost too
narrow to hold their words.

            I have made a erath
            today. It looks pride qute.
            I wote wrds.

 I know what he means.

            I have made an earth
            today. It looks pretty quiet.
            I wrote words.

Or, I wonder if they heard her,

            owl owl come
            I love you you love
            me hoooooo said
            owl I am a girl said
            the owl I follow the
            forest I love the hooooo
            I follow the village and
            I follow my self I love
            the forest forest and
            I love my self the
            people say I am a
            gorgeous white owl
            I love when people
            say I am a gorgeous
            white owl I just follow
            my heart people follow my
            heart I say to the people
            hooooo they say
            I love owls they say
            I will follow your heart

I heard someone tweet today
that poetry is going extinct.

I wonder where they heard that.

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Author’s Note:

NaPoWriMo Day 24. I did not use the prompt today. A tweet at the end of the school day caught my attention instead.

According to government data, as reported by the Washington Post, poetry is going extinct.

Not in my life. Sorry. Data, whether in standardized assessment in the schools or studies funded by who knows what, only tells a tip of a story.

There is more. There is always so much more.

Tay’s Wings

While her brother, the good son, the proper child, was studying arithmetic, she gently placed her wings by the kitchen door. She didn’t want them to get in the way. They never did, however. No one ever really noticed them. The others were too busy admiring Eric’s halo to notice Tay’s wings.

Tay loved this time of night after dinner, especially in mid-October when it was getting darker earlier. Eric was, as usual, self-absorbed. And Mother and Father were always absorbed with Eric.

So when the rain began and Mother pulled the drapes so the cold wouldn’t bother her precious son, Tay slipped down the hall to the kitchen, onto the enclosed back porch, and stepped into the wet autumn night.

She raised her face to the sky letting the rain fall across her face like tears. Only these tears weren’t the hot salty ones that carried grief from her soul to water the soil with the hope of growing something beautiful. No these cold tears rained down her face, cooling her fire. She could feel their journey down her neck and between her breasts stopping just short of her naval.

Tay walked towards the little white gate that led to the forest. When Eric was born, Mother insisted Father build a white picket fence so Eric wouldn’t wander into the forest behind their house. Father did everything Mother wanted. Tay decided it wasn’t because Father loved Mother. She knew that wasn’t true. Father spent too much time away from Mother to love her. Father did everything Mother demanded, not because of the money they would inherit someday when Grandmother finally passed, but Tay knew it had to be because the family name was to be passed on by Eric. Tay never understood why this was so important. But it was. And life in the household bowed to Eric.

The little gate to the white picket fence that was only high enough to keep out uninterested wildlife never interested Eric. He never left for the forest. As a matter of fact, he never went further than the back porch with its windows looking out over the green grass and dark forest beyond. He always sat in the same place staring, never moving. He would get his notebook and write equations for hours on end, occasionally looking out the windows.

However, the little gate always fascinated Tay. Rather, the forest beyond called her from the first time Mother set her in the grass and returned to the porch to sit with Eric. Tay learned quickly how to work the gate clasp.

The first time she got out, she was about two years old. She remembered hearing Mother call to her, but no one ever came to get her. Tay wandered for hours in the field between the house and the forest, afraid to venture into the dark.

Later, when Father returned home, Tay was retrieved and spanked for being a bad girl. It was then Tay decided she would someday leave for the forest.

But it wasn’t as big a deal as she thought it might be. Soon her parents were totally ignoring her and she was free to explore as far and as long as she wished. As the years passed she would bring trinkets and blankets and extra clothes to leave behind.

She found a perfect cove where she placed some books and a few snacks she kept in Tupperware bowls with lids so the animals couldn’t get into them. Leaves and ferns decorated her forest room. Animals would pass by as she read or recited poetry or painted. They would pause and she would welcome them and they would go on their way.

Tonight the rain was falling with a fury she didn’t understand. As she walked, she kept her face to the sky. She didn’t need to see the path. She knew the way by heart. The rain left a sheen flowing down her body. Her clothes became heavy, soaked with tears from the sky.

Tay knew there was going to be sadness soon, a deep sadness that would engulf her. She could feel it. But she wasn’t afraid. She knew she had a safe place to ride out the storm. Her cove would be almost free from tears falling from the grey autumn sky. She would wait and listen. She would know what to do. Something would tell her.

After she changed into dry clothes, she settled into the cove lighting a lantern she stole from the garden house. Father looked for it for weeks after she took it and Mother laughed at his forgetfulness. Mother was sure he had thrown it away or left it at some campground hoping for an excuse to get a new one.

Tay loved the lantern because it belonged to her Gramps. It was rusty, just like he was. But it gave beautiful light, just like he did. She missed him, especially on rainy nights like this one when he would make her hot chocolate and read her poems from Whitman and Dickinson and stories from the bible.

Tay was a bit cold and wrapped herself in one of the blankets. She was opening her book of Emily Dickinson poems in honor of her Gramps when she heard it.

First, two quick pops. A pause. Then one more.

It was unmistakable. Father practiced every week and she would hide in her cove with earplugs not to hear the crisp fire-cracker snaps of his pistol. He was an expert shot and he never missed.

 

 

 

 

Nicodemus

Raindrops quiver along
arms of budded limbs
risking a fall in spring’s
gentle breath

Pregnant bellies
bulge and fashion
each reflection into
a new truth

If I could step inside
an aqueous pouch
I’d see the world
with new eyes

Like being born once and
once again I’d see it slant,
find new meaning
expunge the old

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Author’s Note:

Powerful storm today. Rain. Hail. Tornados.  Emily Dickinson and the Gospel of John while waiting in the basement.

Ideas meld in such odd ways. Playing with this one. I will keep working.

Tell all the truth but tell it slant — (1263)
By Emily Dickinson / The Poetry Foundation

Tell all the truth but tell it slant –
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —

John 3 (NIV) / The Bible Gateway
Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.