Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Gift of a Poem

This week I received an envelope filled with poems from my friend, Mary, in Idaho.

Her yoga teacher shares a poem at each class, and Mary thoughtfully passed on a few of them to me.  I have savored them, reading one each day, writing down lines in my Quote Book that I want to remember.  Lines like. . .

. . .So I've thought about it tonight,
With the new moon dark
and double draped in cloud cover.
I will live.
I will live now.
I'll try to do better than I did yesterday.
I'll love better, cleaner, kinder, easier.
I'll give away little things.
Things I love.
I'll talk to strangers. . .
~Jan Sarchio from her poem, "Dire Predictions"

When I visited Mary and her husband, Doug, at their home in September, they turned on the radio each morning to listen to "The Writer's Almanac" with Garrison Keillor.

Warmed by the wood stove, we sipped tea at their kitchen table, while Keillor's distinctive voice kept us company for five minutes. On each program, he recounts highlights of significance, mostly literary, that occurred on that day in history, then reads a poem.

I've adopted my own version of Mary and Doug's morning ritual, not at the kitchen table but in the bathroom, while putting on my make-up. I place my laptop on the counter, download the day's program and listen. When Keillor begins reading the poem, I always pause, whether in the middle of mascara or blush, to be fully present to the poet's words. I bookmark my favorites and return to listen.

Many of the poets are unfamiliar to me, and I'm eager to read more of their work. Where could I possibly go to find collections by all of these poets, under one roof? Where else? New York City.

I can actually see Poets House across the Hudson River from our apartment. I can hop on a ferry and be there in 15 minutes, which is what I did yesterday.

I sat in a comfortable cushioned chair, facing the windows, with a book of poetry in hand and read. It felt like meditation.

Poets House contains 60,000 volumes of poetry. It is free and open to the public. Its collection "is among the most comprehensive, open-stacks of poetry in the United States."

Poems for adults                                                               Poems for children


                              Mary has inspired me to pass along favorite poems to others.
                          In the mail, with a handwritten note - just as I received hers. 
                                           After all, I have the perfect place to find them!

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