I am a bit of a proselytizer when it comes to poetry. I don't think enough people read poetry while I think poetry is the finest mode of express that exists. So when National Poetry month rolls around, I become a nudge and foist poetry on all the people I come across, a poem-in-the-pocket gesture as I carry short ones on little squares of paper and pass them out like advertisements, and longer poems that I read to classes and groups I'm in. My daughter even suggested we challenge one another and write a poem a day to send each other. I just sent her a poem -- a bit of a cheat as I wrote it for yesterday's poetry class. But I will not cheat and send old poems for the rest of the month. I think it was seven years ago she and I and her husband -- at his suggestion -- tried writing a poem a day in November when many people were doing NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month). I did write one a day and Rachel wrote several but not every day. Patrick wrote one! One of Rachel's was very fine and second was quite good. The others are forgotten. One of mine still pleases me and I've forgotten all the others. Such are the percentages when writing every day. Nothing to be ashamed of, really not bad at all. A good poem usually takes a lot of time.
Here is a part of a poem that deserve to be totally quoted but I will just quote a bit less than the last half, it is the best known, I think, of Mary Oliver's many wonderful nature poems, and it is often quoted. I know people who use the last line as a reminder or a meditation prompt.
from "The Summer Day"
I don't know exactly what prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
Into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
How to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
Which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
ELDER MUSIC: Classical - Various 5 - This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge an...
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