If you’ve never read any Yusef Komunyakaa (1947-) , reconsider and find your way to his work if you can. You will not regret it.
from “Love in a Time of War”
Tonight, the old hard work of love
has given up. I can’t unbutton promises
or sing secrets into your left ear
tuned to quivering plucked strings.
No, please. I can’t face the reflection
of metal on your skin & in your eyes,
can’t risk weaving new breath into war fog.
The anger of the trees is rooted in the soil.
Let me drink in your newly found river
of sighs, your way with incantations.
Let me see if I can’t string this guitar
& take down your effigy of moonlight
from the cross, the dogwood in bloom
printed on memory’s see-through cloth.
To all my lovely readers, friends, and random stumblers-upon,
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? Please join me tomorrow, Thursday April 30th, in celebrating one of my favorite not-actual-but-should-be-official holidays, Poem in Your Pocket Day.
The “rules” of celebrating this day, which falls on the last day of National Poetry Month this year, are pretty simple. Put a poem in your pocket. You got that part already. Now you can’t just let it fester there all day. 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 many years ago, and plaster them all over your dorm walls. Disrupt the ritual of people’s days with beautiful words.
And, if you are so inclined, please comment with the poems you decide to share. My pockets are ready to be filled.*
(* This is the same text I’ve used the past few years. Apologies for taking this blogging shortcut, but I figured there was no point reinventing the wheel on this!)
The great Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali (1949-2001) gifted this paper-filled world with beautiful, crushing words.
The moon did not become the sun.
It just fell on the desert
in great sheets, reams
of silver handmade by you.
The night is your cottage industry now,
the day is your brisk emporium.
The world is full of paper.
Write to me.