A Haven for Vee

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Poetry in April

Thanks to Pat at Mille Fiori Favoriti, I know that April is National Poetry month. Did she tell you, too? I think that every month is poetry month at MFF because Pat is so good with sharing poetry and photographs that each post is like poetry. True. I try not to flatter preferring praise instead. Pat's blog is praise-worthy. Did you see yesterday's post?

According to Poets dot org, there are thirty things one can do to honor poetry this month. You can find those suggestions *here*, if you are interested. Some are intriguing.


It was some time ago now that Leslie Land recommended a book of poetry and memoirs to me: The Wild Braid by Stanley Kunitz with Genine Lentine. The subtitle is "A Poet Reflects on A Century in the Garden." Leslie was encouraging me to think of those centenarians who've arrived at their 100th year with their minds intact, unravaged by bitterness or disease. Mr. Kunitz was such a man and his book is a delightful read; anyone who enjoys a garden or gardening would appreciate his reflections.

Now I wrote the editors of the book a long time ago requesting permission to share this snatch of his poetry. I received no response. Editors are busy. Now I'll just fall back on the old adage: It's easier to do what you want and beg forgiveness later than to request permission.

The city squats on my back.
I am heart-sore, stiff-necked,
exasperated. That's why
I slammed the door,
that's why I tell you now,
In every house of marriage
there's room for an interpreter.

~from Route Six by Stanley Kunitz

Do you want to share your favorite poem with me? Mine is The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, though I certainly enjoy Edna St. Vincent Millay, Jane Kenyon, Emily Dickinson, even Longfellow. How about you?

A delightful day to you...


  1. The fog comes
    on little cat feet.
    It sits looking
    over harbor and city
    on silent haunches
    and then moves on.

    Carl Sandburg....

    I love poetry. I enjoyed your choice. You are right Pat's blog is always poetry....

  2. Thank you for noticing that one of the ladies-in-paintings, whom I posted yesterday, was not young. :-) Yes, thank you.

    When I came across her painting, I thought.... "Hmmmmmm, why not someone older, instead of just, just, just lovely, younger women?" :-)

    There are a lot of "older" in the world. How nice that some painter chose one, as his model. I'd like to post her, also. :-)

  3. Your poem... I understand, through "slammed the door." Then I lost him. I lost where he was *going* with the analogy.

    What am I missing? How does the 2nd part flow, from the first part?

    -sigh- And here I go again! Probably the only commenter, who doesn't simply say "Lovely choice." -sigh-

    I always have a question... -sigh-

  4. I like this poem and had never heard of the author. I love poetry and read a lot of it, but some of the older ones that I've known a long time are the ones that stay in my heart. I love Emily Dickenson's, "The Pedigree of honey" and "Hope is the thing with feathers" and many more. My husband loved The Road Not Taken and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" and had all our children and some cousins memorize it along with some Hungarian poems he love. There was one about a very young soldier walking home from war on rutted dirt roads(probably in the 1840s") and trying to plan what he would say to his mother when he walked in the door. And then when the door opened they rushed to embrace one another and he clung to her wordlessly "like fruit from the branch." That is by Sandor Petofi, really the National poet of Hungary.

    I love many of Longfellow's poems too, especially The Children's Hour. That phrase of "you blue eyed banditti" and also "such an old mustache as I am" are wonderful. Edna St. Vincent Millay is someone else I discovered in high scool and found very dramatic. But I still don't really agree with her poem about April.
    BTW, after my blog post about my garden I woke up to snow and more snow. It looks stranger than strange on the dark red leaves of my crab apple.

  5. Pick one favorite poem? Just one? Impossible!!! For I love them all, the old Masters who crafted words so well, the silly rhymes remembered from childhood, the sage wisdom of the Psalmist.

    Instead I will list a few of my favorite volumes of poetry:
    *Psalms from the Bible
    *Poetry for a Lifetime selected by Samuel Norfleet Etheredge
    *Sitting by my Laughing Fire by Ruth Bell Graham
    *A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (a childhood favorite that I now share with my grands)
    *Rhymes of Childhood by Edgar A. Guest (an antique volume I also share with my grands)
    These are just to name a few, I have a lot of poetry books.

    Favorite poet? Could not choose there either but it would have to be one of the greats. Maybe I am a poetry snob but I have rarely found newer poetry as moving.

    Now you have made me want to sit down to a good cup of tea and poem!

  6. "The Road Less Taken" is my favorite also and I have had it posted on the bathroom mirror for my kids through the years.

    Benjamin has been trying to write poems...interesting to read a six year old...and thinks he will write them when he is older.

    I need to read more poems...so thanks for sharing this today

  7. John Donn and William Blake's poems delight me. I read Donn's " The Anniversary" each year on ours...so romantic! He was a bold sinner before God "ravished" his heart. Awesome Passion show in both his pre and post saved poetry.

    Blake's Tyger tyger burning bright, in the forest of the night, what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symetry?" ...the whole poem is awesome and everyone in our house has it memorized as I randomly recite it because it just sounds so fantastic when spoken aloud.

    Jean Kerr (author most noted for writing "Please don't eat the daisies) wrote a hilarious chapter about how she and her husband instigated a weekly Poetry Night with their four sons. The boys were required to memorize a poem each week...for years. The result of that project was four boys with apt and hilarious quotes at the ready at all times.

    Broke a window playing baseball after dark? "Come to the window Maud, for the black bat, night, has flown" one young son quoted to his frowning parents.
    Of course. . that is exactly why memorizing poetry is such fun.

  8. Thank you, Vee! I learned to love poetry from my Mother. She had a poem for almost every occasion and holiday. She always recited "In Flander's Field" on Memorial Day, and recited "Invictus" to us whenever we were troubled by bullies in school. "If" was her favorite poem and she recited it often.

    It is very hard to chose one favorite poem but "Barter" by Sara Teasdale is one of my favorites. I've heard it set to music and it is so beautiful.


    Sara Teasdale

    "Life has loveliness to sell,
    All beautiful and splendid things;
    Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
    Soaring fire that sways and sings,
    And children’s faces looking up,
    Holding wonder like a cup.

    Life has loveliness to sell;
    Music like a curve of gold,
    Scent of pine trees in the rain,
    Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
    And, for the Spirit’s still delight,
    Holy thoughts that star the night.

    Give all you have for loveliness;
    Buy it, and never count the cost!
    For one white, singing hour of peace
    Count many a year of strife well lost;
    And for a breath of ecstasy,
    Give all you have been, or could be."

  9. Thanks for the reminder that April is poetry month. My daughter, too, really enjoys Sara Teasdale. I wonder if I have a favorite poem??

  10. I used to love reading poetry. Then I married a man who loves NASCAR. The two really don't jive so it's not a topic of discussion here at home. I like to discuss poetry when it's read, that man-o-mine, does not! =)

    But, I love poetry filled with imagery and that tells a story like Poe's The Raven, Alfred Noyes "The Highwayman", Longfellow"s "Paul Revere's Ride", or my most favorite, Clement Moore's "The Night Before Christmas."

    It always excites me when the kids go through poetry units at school!

  11. Well, I did not know that it was national poetry month until I visited your blog. But that's probably because the national refers to the USA and I'm in Canada. However, we borrow much from you, so I thought I could share, too. I put up a post with one of my favourite poems. It's so hard to choose, isn't it?

    Teasdale's poem listed by Pat above is another of my favourites, along with poems by Mary Oliver, Emily Dickinson, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Oh, and Frost and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

    I have never heard of Jane Kenyon and will have to look her up.

  12. I like Robert Frost...

    I haven't read a lot of poetry....

    I am going to check out Pat's blog!


  13. I'm not much into poetry Vee. I quoted a verse from William Wordsworth's "The Daffodils" in a recent post as that one always stuck with me since elementary school. Also Bliss Carmen, a Fredericton native, wrote some nice poems, one being "Trees". So you see a theme here? Nature. Hmmm. Enjoy the day. Pamela

  14. I've always wished that I could enjoy poetry, but I guess that I took a different road. Sometimes I read one that speaks to me. I like the one you posted above. It speaks!

    I'm off to check MFF. I need help!

  15. Oh my, Pat brings poetry to life. She's amazing!

  16. I did know it was National Poetry Month...our local homeschool group has a recitation night in April each year.

    Sharing a favorite poem is like sharing a favorite hymn or a favorite book or a favorite child? (Okay, that's stretching it a bit...) How does one narrow the choices?

    "A Child's Garden of Verses" must be on my favorites list. I adored my Little Golden Book version illustrated by Eloise Wilkin that my mother read to me when I was a very little girl. I also love lots of A. A. Milne's children's poems. Or how about Morely's "Animal Crackers and Cocoa to Drink"?

    Oh, and I love Longfellow and Blake and Kipling and Dickinson and Frost and on and on and on. So many of Amy Carmichael's poems are wonderful! And then there's Christina Rosetti...she wrote lovely children's poems, but she also wrote many that were for adults, including my current (long term) memorization project "Who Shall Deliver Me?"

    The world of poetry is rich!

  17. I could once recite so many poems...and most of them are 'partially missing' these days. But one that come to mind is "The day is done, and the darkness falls from the wings of night...as a feather is wafted downward from an eagle in it's flight."...by Longfellow. That first verse is followed by ten more. The message of the poem is that poetry is music to brighten the night!

    How fun to feature poems in April.

  18. I'm not sure I have time to type in one of my favorite poems, the one we read every Christmas. Maybe I could find it online though it is quite old. "Jest fer Christmas by Robert Louis Stevenson ... I think ....

  19. oops...Eugene Field. Jest FORE Christmas. Our kids acted it out at Christmas programs in knickers and old caps.


  20. Yes, I also love poetry. I usually celebrate poem in your Pocket day. it's hard to chose a favorite because there are so many. I wanted to mention how much I liked your idea of asked package banner. what a neat idea. I hope you are having a good week.

  21. Vee
    I raised my children on Robert Louis Stevenson.
    The Land of Counterpane-from memory
    When I was sick and lay abed. I had 2 pillows at my head and all my toys beside me lay, to keep me happy all the day.
    I sometimes sent my ships in fleets all up and down among the sheet. And brought my trees and houses out and planted cities all
    I was the giant great and still that lives(sits?) among the pillow hill.
    Who sees before him dale and plain,
    the pleasant land of counterpane.
    I think that's all. It's been a while since I've recited it, so I'm not sure!


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