Sunday, February 3, 2013

February, Poetry Style

T. S. Eliot, in The Wasteland, wrote that "April is the cruelest month . . . ."  Perhaps that is part of why April is designated as poetry month.  

Still, I can't help but think of poetry in February.  Is it because of romance?  Of course.  But it also because of suffering, which is more easily dealt with by poetry.  In Texas, February is either attempting to bring us the first days of spring or reminding us of the dark days of winter; it is the month that those close to the land used to call the starving month.  Now days, when we make it through February those of us with SADD know that we have made it through.  So I dedicate much of my blogging to poetry this month.  

And in doing so, I will let you in on one of the best kept secrets of Paris.  

That would be The Paris Poet Society.

This is a group of poets that come together once a month and read their poetry, thanks to the vision and organization of Sherry Scott, who wrote The Year My Mother Died, which I wrote a column/blogged about in September ( View Post Here ). [--  If you haven't read this book,  you should, by the way.   It is not like any book out there on the passing of a parent and every person I have talked to that read it has loved it].  

I don't get to participate in The Paris Poet Society like I wish I could, but one day I will be able to, and, more importantly, I love what they write and I think you will, too.  So in order for you to get to experience the voice of our authentic poets in this off-the-beaten-path city in Texas, I have asked them to guest blog with either a writing of their own or perhaps a favorite or recently loved piece of poetry.  I think they will make you laugh and cry, smile and pause.  They will make you think.  I simply can't wait for you to meet these poets and writers. 

I am going to kick it off with a heart stopping poem by Alice Walker.  I have loved the venerable Walker since The Color Purple, but had completely missed her as a poet until recently (forgive me please, I tend to stay in novel world).
Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth: New Poems 
During our trip to Austin last month, we got to catch up on more movies and added Zero Dark Thirty  and The Impossible to our list of recently viewed excellent movies.  One can't help but think about September 11th, hardship, and the resilience of the human spirit when seeing those movies.  I couldn't help but have mixed up feelings and hope at the same time.  Then right after seeing Zero Dark Thirty, I was listening to a "To The Best of Our Knowledge" (a literary audio series) and I got to hear Alice Walker and the interviewer discuss her first book of poetry after September 11th, titled: "Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth: New Poems."    

Walker says that the difficult times are the times for which the poet is born, with their internal spirit of interpretation.    Poetry is as necessary as bread in times like these.   If February is the starving month for you, then I offer you poetry as bread for your soul.  Yes, let us eat bread, sad bread, funny bread, crusty bread, hot bread, love bread, soul bread.

I offer you Alice Walker's poetry, for your first piece of February bread.  

Falling Bodies, a poem in Absolute Trust  blew me away, especially after seeing Zero Dark Thirty.  I know I won't get everything right in this life, but I hope I get this right, I hope I never stop learning how to love better.  I would say "Enjoy"  but I am not sure that is the correct response to this poem.  So instead, I will just say that I wish you love, peace and soul

Falling Bodies

He told me
Some of them were holding hands
Leaping from 
The flaming
Windows.

To these ones
Leaping, holding hands
Holding
Their own
 I open 
My arms.

Everything
It is
Necessary
To understand
They mastered
In the last
Rich
Moments  
 That
They owned.

There is no more
To learn
In life
Than this:
How to 
Love and
How not to miss
To waste
The moment
Our understanding
Of this
Is clear.

We are
Each other's 
Own
Near and far
Far and wide
(Even if we leap
Into loving
In such haste
It is certain
There will remain
Nothing of us
Left.)

Consider: The pilot
& the 
Hijacker
Might 
Have been 
Holding
Hands.

Those who wish
To make
A war
Of this
Will never believe
It possible.

But How enlightenment
Comes
To others
We may never
Know
Or even
How Someday
It may come
To us.

And
If it does not come
In this lifetime
We may be hopeful
For the next.

When he tells me
This story
I look
Deep
Into my beloved's 
Ear.

It is finely
Curved
Surprisingly
Small
Fleshy-on-the-
Lower-outside
Miracle.

On the inside
Hair, growing its own
Wax
It can hear!

A love of bodies
Sweeps
Over me.

And of
Soul. 
           

 




2 comments:

Dee Martin said...

so humbling....

Sydney Young said...

The imagery she captures just stops me in my tracts.