Whose Song Is It?

microphone“It is dangerous to sing other people’s songs.”

-Native American saying

My friend and fellow poet, Lindsay Ahl, told me this quote. Lindsay and I meet about once a month to discuss 5-6 of another poet’s poems. The other day we focused on Czeslaw Milosz, the masterful Polish poet and Nobel Prize winner. We explore what makes the poems ‘work.’

I told her I had memorized three of Milosz’s poems and then she told me the quote. I have memorized approximately 50 poems that I love. Sometimes I recite them at tough times or to set myself on a better path during a day. Continue Reading »

Dwelling in Possibility

windowsI Dwell in Possibility

I dwell in Possibility —
A fairer house than Prose —
More numerous of Windows —
Superior — for Doors —

Of Chambers as the Cedars —
Impregnable of eye —
And for an everlasting Roof —
The Gambrels of the Sky —

Of Visitors — the fairest —
For Occupation – This —
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –

-Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson never mentions the word “poetry” in the first stanza but clearly she alludes that it is a “fairer house” than “Prose.”

As a poet, she dwells in metaphor. The house with its many windows and doors and “everlasting roof” is a metaphor for poetry. Thinking about metaphor and living in it open her up to creative possibilities, even paradise.

I love poetry because of its endless possibilities. A poem can contain anything. Its subject matter is open to everything. A poem can take me places I had not imagined or foreseen. Continue Reading »

The Beauty We Love

bronze instrumentQuatrain #82

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the earth.

–Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273)
Translated by Coleman Barks

Two months ago I re-committed to poetry and decided that if I was going to be a serious poet and write at my best in the time I have left, I would need to wake up at 5:00 a.m. before my family woke up around 7:00, and before the busyness of the day impeded.

I am not a nighttime writer. My creativity is shot by the time the sun goes down. My creativity is at its peak in the morning and wanes throughout the day. Maybe it is the long ancestral line of farmers that makes me a ‘morning person.’

Before my oldest son was born in 2000, I woke at 5:00 to write. That practice had to be shelved with a newborn in my life. My writing since 2000 has been inconsistent. A second son was born in 2005. Over the last 11 years, I’ve written when and where I could.

Only recently have I come to the definitive conclusion that I HAVE to get up early in the morning. Poetry is my passion. It is the “beauty” I love. Making it a priority to read and write poetry is my way of being true to myself and loving my life on this earth. Continue Reading »