Saturday, April 3, 2010

late for poetry month

April 1 is a very important day for me and it has nothing to do with National Poetry Month--or it has everything to do with National Poetry Month! Back in 1999 I was faced with the fact that while I seemed to be very good at growing a baby, I was not going to be good at pushing a baby out. It was disappointing to think that I had been carrying around those child-bearing hips since age 12 for nothing; on the other hand, it was fun to choose my daughter's birthday, and if you can choose April Fool's Day, whyever would you pick March 31 or April 2?

Thus arrived our little April Fool, two weeks late and by appointment--and shortly thereafter, following a hiatus of 15 years, I felt the urge to write poems again. (More on this funny twist to my writing life in my interview later this month with Tricia Stohr-Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect). This year, on April 1, when I might have been posting for Poetry Friday, we were with our shiny new 11-year-old in Charlottesville, touring Monticello, eating outrageous desserts and swimming in the hotel pool.

Today I post the next two poems included in the public charter school application--the ones about reading and writing. Just see who authored the poem I chose to open the section on the place of writing in our school's curriculum...

The First Book

Open it.

Go ahead, it won't bite.
Well...maybe a little.

More a nip, like. A tingle.
It's pleasurable, really.

You see, it keeps on opening.
You may fall in.

Sure, it's hard to get started;
remember learning to use

knife and fork? Dig in;
you'll never reach the bottom.

It's not like it's the end of the world--
just the world as you think

you know it.

~Rita Dove (who, in a superb coincidence, is a professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville)

While Writing

Let the words come to you
Let the words escape you; flowing through your body to your pen
Let the words lead you through your whole life.

Let the words seize you
Let the words rip you from your world and take you to theirs
Let the words uncover your deepest thoughts

The words make feelings express themselves
The words make real life seem like fantasy
The words make us feel like nothing will ever be bad

And I love the words

~Daisy, age 10 (after Langston Hughes's "April Rain Song" )

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