From my first college creative writing teacher, the incredible Maria Hummel. For another heartbreaking piece of hers, check out the poem I posted last year. Heimweh, by the way, is the German word for homesickness.
I used to think if I overcame this sadness
I would have nothing left
but particulars, a way of saying
the word mountain, a habit
of carting sweaters everywhere,
and memories of the last day
of winter, its bareness on the wind
and white snow sailing
over the green grass,
burying it with such delicacy
the field will never look
alive again, even when the poppies
and asters, even when the daisies
and cornflowers, even when
the birds of fall
hunt for seeds in the damp
earth, under the shadowed stems.
That kind of nothing
deserves a parade, a marching
band slapping an old bass drum,
trumpets and flutes, and when
I have overcome this sadness
will fit into the long brass neck of the tuba,
which is always played
simply and badly
to punctuate the passing
of a song.
Have you mostly been sitting behind a screen this month, scrolling through poems in isolation and then moving on with your day? Do your friends not know you actually like poetry? Has one line of verse been haunting, confusing, or delighting you for weeks?
How about you invite others to share in that experience with you for a day?
Tomorrow, April 26, marks what I suppose could be called the climax of National Poetry Month: Poem In Your Pocket Day. The name itself is self-explanatory, so I won’t belabor the point. But I do want to encourage you to unleash a poem from a book–or a blog–and carry it into the world. Read it to a friend over lunch, startle your coworkers at a meeting, recite one to somebody before bed. Or if you’d rather share quietly, slip some verse into the pocket of a loved one, leave one at a cafe table, or print out dozens of poems, as I did years ago, and plaster them all over your dorm walls. Disrupt the ritual of their days with beautiful words.
And, if you are so inclined, please comment with the poem you decide to share. My pockets are ready to be filled.