Just The Thing

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

January 2, 2016

I've mentioned my (not so) new found love of poetry before...After taking two rounds of Modern and Contemporary Poetry with Al Filreis' crew, it is safe to say that poetry has become a part of my life. I was the kid in jr. high who LOATHED poetry. When a poetry unit came up, my argument against poetry was ready, "Why can't they just SAY what they mean?!?!?" 

It took one fall under Filreis for me to realize that they ARE saying exactly what they mean and then a second fall under him again to get me to see that the meaning IS worth digging for. Poetry is about giving answers and it's also about asking questions. This last fall I learned that sometimes you DON'T understand what they mean and a lot of times, you're not supposed to and THAT is the point. 

I spent the fall reading assigned poetry and choosing one volume of an author's poetry each time I went to the library. I flew through several volumes of Billy Collins' poetry (his pieces are either really good or really, really strange). William Carlos Williams' work had me eager to read more. After taking one volume of Mary Oliver back, I'm ready to give her a second chance (I've got a poem from her new collection titled "Felicity" to share with you soon). The little book of Eugene Fields' poetry that my Mom convinced me to pick up has been really interesting too. What makes it most interesting is that I know NOTHING about him. 

Here I am, in the middle of winter with a poetry routine and a heart full of gratitude...I want to share more poetry here, so you can watch for it a once a month or so. I'm currently plodding through some Dickinson (who happens to be one of my favorites - cliche, I know). The other morning, I came across a poem so good that I HAD to read it out loud to my Mom. It's been on my mind ever since. Fun fact: when my Mom was in jr. high, she discovered Dickinson and pretty much became obsessed with her. Knowing that may have influenced my own favoritism. Who knows.

My little poetry routine isn't fancy. I choose a volume and then I make my way through it. I love reading it in the quiet morning hours, but sometimes, I read it at night instead. Sometimes I read 50 pages and other times I can barely make it through one poem before I'm ready to sit and stew on it for a while. I enrolled in the first class because I wanted to GET poetry. By the third week of my second class, I was surprised to find that I not only got it, but that I was ENJOYING it. 

Here's the poem I came here to share today...Enjoy!

"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me." - Emily Dickinson

You guys...Hope offers soooo much and costs nothing. And that's a pretty good lesson to carry us through the rest of winter.

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