April is National Poetry Month and singers are invited to share poems they love during class. Following are poems shared in April 2018. Would you like to add one of your own? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Singing clears the mind-
Rejuvenates the soul.
Makes one kind-
Makes one whole.
Marilyn C. Ramirez,
Lynnwood Singing Friend
Eat Your Broccoli or Else ~Maria Veres
you'll get scurvy and your teeth will fall out
all over the floor with an enormous clatter
which will terrify the cat, who will leap into the chandelier,
short out a wire, and blow every fuse in the house
the dog will sneak through the dark and scarf down
every last pearly tooth (that dog eats anything)
the tooth fairy won't ever come again
you'll have to go to the dentist for new teeth
she'll make you cut her five-acre lawn with manicure scissors
every Monday and Thursday for three years
to work off your bill, because you won't have any money
because the tooth fairy couldn't come
because of the dog, who will develop chronic indigestion
from crunching too many teeth and chandelier pieces
all because you wouldn't take one teensy-weensy
bite of vegetable. Rebecca Crichton
Prayer in Gratitude for the RIght Song Arriving at the Right Time, for Example Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" or Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising", or Chet Baker's "She Was Too Good to Me"~Brian Doyle~
Because you know and I know that a song can save your life. We know that and we don't say it much, but it's true. When you are dark and despairing a song comes and makes you weep as you think yes yes yes. When you are joyous a song comes to top off the moment and make you think the top of your head will fly off from sheer fizzing happy. A song makes you sob with sadness for such pain and loss as throbs inside the bars of the song. A song roars that we will not be defeated by murder but we will stand together and rise again, brothers and sisters! A song makes your heart stagger that you found someone to love with such an ache and a pang. A song comes-- how amazing and sweet and glorious that is. And this is not even to get into how amazing and miraculous music itself is, the greatest of all arts. But this evening, haunted by a song that slid out of the radio and lit up your heart, we pray in thanks that there are such fraught wild holy moments as this one. And so: amen.
Change of Life~ Judith Collas
Her life was ok
Sometimes she wished she
were sleeping with the right man instead of her dog,
but she never felt she was sleeping with the wrong dog.
The Summer Day ~ Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a 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?
I met the Buddha on the road.
I knew him by the light; it played
like music at his lips and eyes.
"Awakened one!" I cried.
"I do desire to be desireless."
"You'll get over it," he said.
I said, "I seek a quiet mind."
He said, "Shut up."
"No, really," I rejoined.
"I'll follow you wherever you may go."
He said, "I'm
going to go to sleep." And did.
He snored. I grew bored.
Persistent flies buzzed at my lips and
At last I cried,
Enlighten my sweet ass!"
"Now you're talkin'."
Diane Shiner encouraged by Denise Levertov's The Fountain
Don't say, don't say there is no hope
to cling to. Just this morning a murder o
of crows met in protest, croaking at cars
on my road. Two cars, twenty crows.
Don't say, don't say there is no hope.
Don't say, don't say there is no joy
to nourish. Blackberries stain the shirts
of my grinning grandchildren; smoke-filtered
sunsets are spectacular. Lemonade quenches.
Don't say, don't say there is no joy.
Don't say, don't say there is no will
for change. A carbon-dioxide capture plant
just opened, honeybees are recovering,
Hanford Reach is saved, my nasty neighbors
conserve water. Don't say there is no will.
Don't say, don't say there is no future
to protect. Too late, too much, too hard.
Everyday I see someone toss a starfish
tin the sea, paddling, planning, planting
trees and ideas. Don't say there is no future.
Don't say, don't say there is no work
to do. Or undo. There's the shovel,
here's the phone, we're the relay team
for Earth. Say there is no finish line, but
don't say, don't say there is no hope.
LET US GIVE THANKS FOR A BOUNTY OF PEOPLE
Let us give thanks.....
For children who are our second planting, and, though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may they forgive us our cultivation and fondly remember where their roots are.
For generous friends with hearts and smiles as bright as their blossoms.
For feisty friends as tart as apples.
For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us that we've had them.
For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible.
For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn, and the others, as plain as potatoes and as good for you.
For funny friends, who are as silly as Brussels sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes, and serious friends, as complex as cauliflowers and as intricate as onions.
For friends as unpretentious as cabbages, as subtle as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as delightful as dill, as endless as zucchini, and who, like parsnips, can be counted on to see you throughout the winter.
For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time, and young friends coming on as fast as radishes.
For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold us, despite our blights, wilts and witherings.
And finally, for those friends now gone, like gardens past that have been harvested, and who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter.
For all these we give thanks. Amen.
SWEET INSANITY Claire Braz-Valentine
My mother looks at me,
the way only my mother can look.
I have just purchased a bright red jacket
to wear with my bright pink dress.
how old are you now she asks?
She is testing me.
45 I say....
She shakes her head. "That's right.
And when the women in our family go crazy,
and the women in our family do, you know,
they do it at 46," she says.
"Be careful," she says as she stares at the jacket.
One year to the big ticket,
then I wouldn't have to explain red jackets anymore.
One more year to pay the bills on time,
and take showers every morning,
to stand in line at Safeway.
one more year to figure out the phone bill,
to have two checking accounts because one has to rest
while I use the other so they balance themselves.
One more year of going to bed at a sensible hour
so I can wake up at unreasonable ones.
To get to a job that was crazy before I was.
Twelve more months to have good manners,
to keep secrets,
to comb hair that doesn't want to be combed,
to keep a spread on my bed,
and to feel guilty because I read junk novels,
and don't clip coupons from the newspaper.
52 short weeks
to believe one oven cleaner is better than most,
to think I have to cook hot dogs before I eat them.
Oh madness, sweet insanity,
smoking cigars and eating chocolates,
pinching men's asses,
setting fire to my desk,
peeing on it first,
learning at last how to spit.
Pink plaid jackets over red polka dot dresses,
lounging in bed
watching Godzilla movies on a VCR for five days in a row
because I'm too damn crazy to go anywhere,
telling people who want to help me for my own good
to just fuck off,
letting the cats sleep on the kitchen table
for the rest of their lives
the way they've always wanted,
not planning to wash my car next week
when I know I'll never wash it,
never being called reliable again.
Madness, my sweet heritage,
you sure as hell owe me,
and if you don't arrive on time,
I'll just go crazy without you.
Lord God, how I pity
those families of sound mind. ~ Meredith Regal
BEANNACHT~ FOR JOSIE John O'Donohue
On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
May the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets into you,
May a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green
and azure blue,
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life. ~ Diane Gillespie
FORGETFULNESS Billy Collins
The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.
Long ago you kissed the names of the nine muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,
something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.
Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue
or even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.
It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.
No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.