April is Poetry Month
Let the fun begin! Poetry, poetry, poetry and interacting with others who love words.
Always, I tear up when I hear a poem that touches my heart. No shame in my tears. It’s a way to praise the poet. The woman reading touches my heart with her honest words.
I’m holding all my logic and practicality for when I drive home in three days. Meanwhile, when I feel a poem, I’m letting myself crumble a bit, letting the emotion come. These are poets, people who understand and get triggered by words.
It takes some human planning to come to the conference, but it’s God’s touch that makes me tear up over a poem.
At night, I’m usually back in the motel room around 9:30. The second night I’m there, I check email and learn about the sudden death of a poet friend in Oregon. Feelings come quickly. It’s after midnight before I fall asleep.
I awaken early the next morning. Headache and a little emotional debris. But I walk toward the conference center. A rainbow in the clean sky.
I take it as a sign that all is well.
I am safe, though sorrow fills my heart. I ask God to give me the belief and strength to keep moving forward.
At the conference center, my critique group is ready to read poems, to dice one another’s poems. After some chopping, we then help the lucky poet put his poem back together a new way. It’s the poet’s poem, of course. He or she can take it or leave the changes. Fun process and helps me to think and see things a new way.
A special thank you to poets for voting for one of my poems (unpublished) as the Critic’s Choice poem at the conference. I so value your vote of confidence. I thank you, Jesus, for helping me with that poem!
After a session, I find another poet who knows the poet I’d just lost. Shock, understanding, empathy. Sharing the loss with someone helps to believe everything will somehow be okay.
As always, grief will take its slow time.
Then a leader begins to talk about Mary Oliver’s poetry. Oliver, too, died this year. Wouldn’t you know, loss was one of her topics. Yes, better to talk, write, share my brokenness than to bury it.
Now, one of my poems for you, dear reader. A taste of how we live our lives.
You and I sit hip-to-hip
on steps of a porch, intending
to keep company with a river
from blue mountains.
The Old West swallows me.
Soundless sky blushes,
making the river
as it prances past
like a filly on parade,
as it waves flying hooves,
turns a plump rump,
and lopes along.
How well we know the trail
of the runaway sun
and a young moon—
waiting in the wings,
ready to go on stage
and graze dark skies.
The tiger-lily light
makes us pause,
but the night river,
You blow out a sigh,
and I wait for a nicker.
An owl in a dead tree
calls out applause.
~ by Pat Durmon, published in Encore, 2018