National Poetry Month
April is National Poetry Month. It's also the month for Reading Without Walls, as I posted at the beginning of the month. So, in honor of National Poetry Month, I'm posting a poem that I wrote that inspired me (along with the RWW logo) to write a new picture book. I debated writing on here with a disclaimer that I'm not a poet. But I think that's not fair--as I always say I'm a writer. And I have intermittently written poetry or verse since I was a child. So I'll just disclaim that this was written in one sitting without editing, and that I'm not an accomplished poet. I'm sharing because I want to inspire myself to edit the picture book.
Someday we will stand hand in hand
Face the sun
Someday, Someday we will have strands of hair
In every rainbow color
Someday our sea shells will mark milestones
Someday our sea shells will climb out of ocean waters,
Dripping honeysuckle and sweets
The waves will wash our beauty ashore
And our voices will be heard.
Someday the ocean will tell me your story.
The day you clung to the rafts.
Dreaming of another land
As you approached a new one
That turned you away
Someday there will be no walls
No deserts to cross
No green, yellow, purple, orange cards
Someday our books will rise
Like steps of the Aztec temples
And we’ll join hand in hand,
And sit right on top and read until
There are no more words to read.
This poem and the picture book I'm working on were inspired by the graphic for Reading Without Walls, and inspired by the Japanese-American people who were interned in the United States during WW II, as well as inspired by these books and stories: Someday by Allison McGhee, Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne, Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers, Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, and Still I Rise by Maya Angelou.
I haven't decided yet if I'll post the picture book manuscript. I'll likely not try to publish it anyway, so I can publish it here, but I'm still revising it.
In honor of National Poetry Month, I'll include links to some of my favorite poems. The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot always speaks to me in so many levels. I love the rhythms and combination of words and imagery so much. In fact, it inspired my own riff on yellow ether as I was crying and mourning the children (and adults) who were killed in Syria last week via chemical weapons.
Smoke-like tendrils, like arms
Tempting breath, life,
Until all is still
Sarin Sauron Sarita Sarah
Are these killers? Or children…
“Do I dare disturb the universe?”
I always come back to e.e. cummings. Several years ago I was working on a YA novel and it is named after somewhere i have never traveled.
And, my current favorite poem is Maya Angelou's Still I Rise because I feel it speaks so clearly to the strength of all the peaceful marchers and demonstrators speaking out for what they believe in. Coincidentally, one of Mini Me's current favorite poems is Sympathy by Paul Laurence Dunbar, which Angelou quoted for the title of her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
What's your favorite poem? Who is your favorite poet?