April is National Poetry Month
In April we celebrate National Poetry Month. Poetry is an entirely different art form than the writing of novels. But poetry and songs are the medium that I first used many years ago as a creative expression. Although there are many devoted fans of poetry, it is safe to surmise that it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Songs, however, are universally enjoyed and regardless of our singing voice, our age, or most anything else, people like singing and songs. I suspect that the addition of music makes that form of poetry more appealing to the masses. For this blog however, I’ll stick with the spoken verse.
” ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers–
That perches in the soul —
And sings the tune without the words —
And never stops–at all –.”
Poems may Uplift, Haunt, or Baffle Us
A written form of communication that can uplift, haunt, baffle, or surprise us. I’m not sure if there was a poem that caught my attention prior to my reading of The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe but it has remained a lifelong favorite of mine and it is certainly in that ‘haunting’ category.
When I think of poems to uplift the heart, it is two women who spring to mind. Maya and Emily. Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” is beloved by many. I’m so grateful she chose to share her voice with the world. Emily Dickenson lived quietly, her work barely read (a handful of poems were published before her death in 1886). No other poet acquired such a high degree of acclaim after their death as she. Above is an excerpt from “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers”:
Poetry invites the reader to interpret
All literature is subject to the reader’s handling of it. But every poem is a surprise or full of hidden meaning because it invites the reader to participate in the interpretation. Some can often be taken in a literal sense of the word meanings. Others are not about the words they use at all. For example, William Blake’s “A Poison Tree” is not about a tree. The poison described is within, not without.
And humor too!
I can’t leave out humor in poetry. The Scottish poet, Robert Louis Stevenson, may be best known for his titles, “Treasure Island” and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” but he also published poetry. One I love for its playful humor is “My Shadow”.
“I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.”
–Robert Louis Stevenson
There are no published forms of my poems. Honestly, I do not expect to ever publish them for sale, but I’ve learned to never say never. For now, I’ll leave you a sample of two I dug up from old journals. Although the subject matter is quite different, I found them both humorous. Let us finish our celebration of National Poetry Month with these two.
Obsession and Complaint The Toddler
by Karen Lopez by Karen Lopez
Here are two sisters, twins they be. Showering,
One named Obsession, her hands she wrings, Under a garden hose.
Worried for the future, what lack it brings. Squishing,
A voice of displeasure of all she can see, Mud between pink toes.
Next comes the one, we’d call Complaint, Smiling,
Who bellows loudly or whispers faint. A silly, toothless grin.
These sisters come calling, Squealing,
At breakfast or tea, For more at day’s end.
even at times you’d rather sleep.
Lock your heart’s door. Keep stalling.
They’ll plunder your trust and gratitude.
If ever they knock, be rude!
How will you celebrate National Poetry Month?
Maybe poetry is new to you. Maybe you find yourself oblivious to the world around you as you immerse yourself in verse. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. If you’ve not explored poems much in the past, let me encourage you to do that this April. There are so many forms of poetry. How many in this list are you familiar with?
- Narrative Poetry
- Ballad (not just for music!)
- Free verse