Earlier this month, I offered 30 ways to celebrate national poetry month. In that post, I forgot to mention that this year’s official National Poetry Month poster features artwork by a high school student (a first), tenth-grader Julia Wang from San Jose, California. Julia’s artwork was selected by contest judges Naomi Shihab Nye and Debbie Millman from more than 450 student submissions. It incorporates lines from the poem “An Old Story,” in the collection Wade in the Water by current U. S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith.
Since any month—and every month—is a good one to enjoy poetry, I’ve expanded the list of suggestions to extend the celebration of poetry month into May.
31. Buy a copy of Peg Edera’s new poetry collection, Love Is Deeper Than Distance: Poems of love, death, a little sex, ALS, dementia and the widow’s life thereafter, which I reviewed on April 29.
32. Listen to Peg read her poem, “How A Fig Brings Me To Faith,” not included in her new anthology. The recording is courtesy of “Quaker Poets Read,” a program created because “…poetry often stands in that revered ground between listening and responding.”
33. Read “The Outlier” by Peg Edera. I’m guessing you’ll enjoy Peg’s poetry, so here’s another one of hers. I think it’s a good one to keep handy for days when you question your value.
It doesn’t matter
when your skin seems to belong
your tongue thick and dry,
when your feet feel brittle,
long bones frail,
like a room unopened for years.
This is when to simply stop.
This is when to shun the urge
to fill the emptiness.
If you remember
to let the stopping fill you,
to let silence broaden
and remember to sink
into the Outlier
you have become,
you begin to make friends again
with someone you’d like to forget.
She is not so different
from the one you want
Trust the Outlier to lead you.
There are so many ways to come home.
*Afterthoughts are my blog version of a practice followed in some Quaker meetings. After meeting for worship ends, people continue in silence for a few more minutes during which they’re invited to share thoughts or reflect on the morning’s worship. I’ve adopted the form here for last-day-of-the-month brief reflections on headlines, quotes, books, previous posts, maybe even bumper stickers and refrigerator magnets.