Over the flowing sea?
And one white tree.
“As all must be,” I said within my heart,
“Whether they work together or apart.”
But as I said it, swift there passed me by
On noiseless wing a ’wildered butterfly.
~ lines from “The Tuft of Flowers” by Robert Frost
A bit on Illinois Public Radio this morning reminded me April is National Poetry Month. I haven’t written much poetry in decades, but I have a manila file of brilliance from my formative years that I somehow believed was worth lugging around from place to place. Your first clue as to its contents is its location in my file drawer: Between “drama” and “reports.”
I dipped into the narrow-margined-three-hole-punched loose leaf papers to find it filled with poetry about homework, breakups and suicide (I never was, for the record, suicidal but you’d be surprised to hear that after finding all the F-word-filled pieces among my writings).
I also found a story that made me laugh ’til I cried; it began like this:
[If that’s not an epic literary beginning, I don’t know what is.]
“My name is Negative Images. Really — Negative Margaret Images. People call me Neggy for short. My father calls my Maggy. It was my mother’s idea to call me Negative. Her name is Mary so she wanted her only daughter to have an interesting name. She didn’t name me Positive Images because … well, I guess she’s crazy.”
Crazy. Indeed. But I digress. I was rooting around for poetry, not weird teenage stories. So I shall celebrate National Poetry Month with this piece that is not suicidal or weird but appropriate for a Minnesota native who mowed the lawn yesterday for the first time this season to share at the end of April:
I hate winter:
The air drains my lungs.
The temperature thickens my blood.
The snow blinds my eyes.
The wind bites my cheeks.
The ice greases my shoes.
The fog steps on my hair.
The puddles give me a bath.
It’s almost spring.
Had nature any outcast face,
Could she a son contemn,
Had nature an Iscariot,
That mushroom, — it is him.
~ Emily Dickinson
Digging through some papers today, I found this gem, written in circa 1982 in my rebellious limerick phase:
The Movie Show
My friend says, “Come along with us,
To the movie, “Let’s Bust It or Cuss.'”
It’s about a czar,
And it’s rated R.
I know my mom will put up a fuss.
I ask my mommy, and she says, “No.”
I ask my daddy, and he says, “NO!”
It’s only a movie
That I want to see.
I pleaded, I cried, “I want to go!”
But no amount of begging and stuff
Will make my parents any less tough.
They’re just mean, I guess.
I can’t leave the nest.
So I walk out on them in a huff.
I’ll go to the movie anyway,
And I won’t speak to them all day.
I know I’ll have fun.
I’ve won! I’ve won!
And I hope they won’t find out, I pray.
I tell my friend that I can go
To that super great movie show.
But she’s gonna bawl.
Her face tells it all:
“My parents said that I can’t go.”
So now I don’t feel so very bad.
I guess it was only a passing fad.
I love my parents
And my cat, Clarence.
Though they wouldn’t let me go, I’m glad.
“Keep your faith in all beautiful things;
in the sun when it is hidden,
in the Spring when it is gone.”
~ Roy R. Gilson
Snow was falling softly yesterday morning, and a couple of deer nibbled on whatever edibles they found in the wooded area behind my backyard fence.
The scene prompted me to dig up a bit of winter poetry. I found this bit from Gary E. McCormick, and I changed his word “evening” to “morning”:
It comes very quickly
This winter vision
In the wink of a swift instant
On this will-o’-the-wisp morning.