I celebrate National Poetry Month with the wind.

Poetry has gained a lot of ground in my life this April. When my wonderful little niece died earlier this month, emotions poured from my mind in broken verse. I must organize these tatters of thoughts and reinvigorate my poetic self.

Yesterday I went on a bike ride and listened to The Writer's Almanac for nearly two hours. Garrison Keillor talked about a poet who said that poetry helps us to slow life down and take in the details that we overlook each day. My life has been full of death and suffering already this year. I have also enjoyed a few conversations about being mindful and grateful of life's beauty. These two things helped me realize that poetry is critical to experiencing life to the fullest. To slowing us down, showing us what we are missing.

Since I completed my taxes yesterday (late, but better than never), a huge burden was lifted from me, giving me time to relax. Today I spent my time writing in my journal because I felt a poetic burst and I wanted to at least capture a few of the topics floating in my mind. My writing was fueled by an early morning dream and bad news just after waking. Now I'm writing this as I try to piece all my abstractions together. I guess I better keep pen and paper handy today.

Adrienne Rich 1929-2012
After my afternoon journal writing spurt, I continued to read from Adrienne Rich's An Atlas of the Difficult World. I came upon Ms. Rich's poetry because of a great quote of hers: "You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it." I love her. Reading it today made me realize how much I love the reference of wind in poetry. Here is a taste and I've put emphasis on my favorite part (p. 10-11):

Stepped out onto the night-porch.   That wind has changed,
                      though still from the south
it's blowing up hard now, no longer close to earth but driving
into the crowns of the maples, into my face
almost slamming the stormdoor into me.   But it's warm, warm,
pneumonia wind, death of innocence wind, unwinding wind,
time-hurtling wind.    And it has a voice in the house.   I hear
conversations that can't be happening, overhead in the bedrooms
and I'm not talking of ghosts.    The ghosts are here of course but
                      they speak plainly
---haven't I offered food and wine, listened well for them all
                      these years,
not only those known in life but those before our time
of self-deception, our intricate losing game of innocence long
Winds bring change. Winds can be gentle or destructive, warm or cold. It's the change that is the wind's most important function and I really think Ms. Rich captured that here. While my favorite part of the passage doesn't address change directly, it does lead into it. I knew I had to include all the verses because they speak to the relationship between the past and present, how we lose our innocence and often deny it. Nobody likes change, but the wind blows on.

Another wind-inspired treat I was reminded of yesterday whilst on my bike ride was this advice from poet Paul Verlaine:
You must let your poems ride their luck
On the back of the sharp morning air
Touched with the fragrance of mint and thyme ...
And everything else is Literature.

No, wind is not mentioned outright, but "sharp morning air" becomes wind to me when I ride early, hence why I thought of it. I heard this on the March 30, 2009 Writer's Almanac podcast, which is all archived online and a MUST if you are into poetry and literature.

Along with that very same podcast, the website reminded me of this great poem by Bruce Dethlefsen called "When Somebody Calls after Ten P.M."
The oldest monthly in the English speaking world turns 100.
When Somebody Calls after Ten P.M.

when somebody calls after ten p.m.
and you live in wisconsin
and you're snug in your bed

then all's I can tell you
somebody better be missing
somebody better had a baby
or somebody better be dead


Paulina said...

I really enjoy your posts. Another great one.

I'm so sorry to hear about your niece. My condolences to you and your family.

Laneie Shorts said...

so much love for Rich, poetry and wise m'effers like yourself! xo