National Poetry Month

I know they say the first day of spring is in March, but really, if you’re from Michigan, you know that spring doesn’t really begin until April, and so for me, I think of the first day of April as the herald that spring is around the corner. Lilac bushes are bursting into bloom all over the place, and I hope you are somewhere you can enjoy their fragrance. I have another story to tell you about lilac bushes, but that will be for another blog post.

April is National Poetry Month or NaPoMo as some people call it, which sounds like a word from another language to me, so very appropriate. I promise only to inflict one of my old poems on you today, in tribute to National Poetry Month, but I would encourage you to read some poetry this month. A poem is often just a snippet of loveliness and beauty that makes you see the world a little differently for a little while. Since my blog is named after a line from one of Emily Dickinson’s poems, I’m sure it is no surprise to you that I love poetry. Haiku is one of my favorite forms of poetry, as it embodies a lot of what I love about it: structure (5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables), a theme from nature or the natural world, and because of its structure, an emphasis on making every word count. If you are a poet, try a new form, such as an elegy or a sestina. It will stretch your writing muscles to try something different. Even if you’re not a poet, it’s fun to wrestle words into these shapes, and see if they will do your bidding.

My kids love poetry. I started them with the inimitable Shel Silverstein, and they quote funny lines from his books all the time. I wonder when we lose our love of funny-sounding words or lines, and begin to think of poetry as something for aesthetes or someone else. For those of us that love music, I think that love of poetry has just become subversive, hidden in the lines of song lyrics. Poetry itself does not and should not take itself too seriously. How could it, with wonderful words like abecedarian?

I found my favorite new word for today on this great site with definitions and examples of poetic forms: abecedarian, or a form of poem in which the first line or stanza begins with A, the second B, etc.: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/learning/glossary-terms

And here is the only poem of mine that I have memorized and readily available for human consumption. I hope you like it.

Longing

Tiny, perfect stars
Drift over a void of black
A wish falls to earth

And just in case you start to take poetry a little too seriously, here are the poems my little ones were inspired to write with much silliness and giggling, when I told them it was National Poetry Month. Enjoy!

From my little guy (please keep in mind he is only 8, and scatalogical humor still reigns supreme in his mind):

Violets are red,
Roses are blue,
My dog and me ate my sister’s homework,
BUURP!

And from my animal-loving 10 yr old about our sister-dog: “It’s a cinquain! Well, my version of one.” Yep, schooled by an 11-year old.
Mocha
lazy, silly
dozing, stretching, snoring
laying, sniffing
Sloth

Today I am thankful for poetry, for Shel Silverstein, and for the start of spring.

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