The One About Poetry

In other news – Writing Day 19 – I wrote this tribute years ago, but I felt I couldn’t really improve upon it.  I did not even want to attempt.  I sat in my feelings so comfortably at that moment. I was not interested in disturbing anything.


Hope Bleeds Slowly from My mouth*

I remember the first time I read poetry in HS and felt it – Mrs. Micheals’ – 1st period, English.
Poetry Unit was before Shakespeare, so even though I was not a huge fan, I felt it had to beat reading Julius Caesar – so I coped. I don’t really remember any of the poems that I read in depth (more of a short story girl), except for one. I liked that the title was lower cased – I felt perhaps the poet was a bit rebellious, I remember reading that poem over and over, and feeling, not just hearing the melody of it, I remember feeling, not just mentioning the gravity of it, and it was strange but somehow comforting to me, and I thought this, this is something I could get used to…eventually…perhaps.

miss rosie
by Lucille Clifton

when I watch you
wrapped up like garbage
sitting, surrounded by the smell
of too old potato peels
when I watch you
in your old man’s shoes
with the little toe cut out
sitting, waiting for your mind
like next week’s grocery
I say
when I watch you
you wet brown bag of a woman
who used to be the best looking gal in Georgia
used to be called the Georgia Rose
I stand up
through your destruction
I stand up

Later on, I came across every curvy girl’s battle cry, when my mother died, a reminder that even though she wasn’t here, she would always be my mother, and when I started going through all of my health issues, another gem, a poem which likens living life to an act of defiance. It’s not that I didn’t read all of these poems at the same time, perhaps I did, I’m sure I did – more than once. It’s just that as times and seasons change, so do the ways in which something whispers to our hearts. I will continue to read Lucille Clifton’s work, and depending on what I have been taught or what I am eager to learn, I will continue to be embraced by a different poem, each time. I can’t wait for the next hug.
Thank you ms lucille for the company. It is because of writers like you that hope does not bleed slowly for me, or from me.

Lucille Clifton died yesterday.

* Taken from Lucille Clifton’s Poem Jasper Texas, 1998


There is something intoxicating about poetry.  It is Mary Poppins’ carpet bag* in text.  Not a word is wasted.  You have to read poetry with different eyes to see its purpose, with an open heart to feel its meaning, and finely tuned ears to hear its music. Sometimes all of those things do not unite, but when they do.
It’s Magic!

Do you read Poetry?  What’s your favorite poem?

* as in packing a lot into a little space – Well begun is half done

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