Spring Buds Poets

Poetry month continues, and definitions and the understanding of poetry can take hours, or days, to read, digest, and filter through until you can finally, and simply, pluck the style you enjoy reading. Our history is loaded with poets, poets of charm, anger, lust, dreams, and so on. It is a reading of time, slow time. It is a form of literature that evokes a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience or a specific emotional response through language chosen and arranged for its meaning, sound, and rhythm.

In our book, Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets, we have various poetry sprinkled throughout. We share our inspiration, either from a class, workshop, gazing out a window, or walking in the elements of the state we live in.

One of my favorites in the book is what we call ‘Five Poems by Five Women’. There were five of us present at this meeting. We gathered a list of words, each of us chose five words. One began with writing a sentence/line from one of their chosen words, then passed to the right. The next person read that line, then wrote one line using one of their words and passed to the right until we had completed five lines. We continued the same pattern with our next word and so on until we had five poems. I would like to share Poem One:

The flaming liquid sun

Stared down the lonely man

As he drew a breath of life no more

And melted into shimmering sand

His bone became grains and destiny was left at someone else’s hand.

Several years later Jackie was living in Colorado. On an early light breezy, spring morning, we did a Facetime from Diana’s dining table with warm croissants, jams, fresh kiwi, and strawberries. She also endorses one of the biggest selections of international teas I have ever seen. “Let’s do a poem.” Jackie whines through the small iPhone screen, “You know I can’t do poetry!”  Diana throws out the word letters. I was still focused on how much butter I wanted on my flakey croissant and spooning a coral shade of prickly pear jelly. As I munched, I felt I couldn’t find any poignant words.  

Letters, like our windy spring

Could not rest, find a place

To settle and form a thought.

Words fluttered like a bees nest

not still, nor formidable but buzzed

and made no sense.

A line with no beginning, caught in

a breeze, turned upside down, back

around, and scuttled in leafy piles.

A poem waits, on sharp edges, in empty

spouts, under a crack, on the back of a lizard,

in the flurry of the hummingbird.

Today might be the moment life and nature

anchor, the external slides inward, the internal

to bear witness, to snare the notes in my head. 

Early on, it took years for me to come back to poetry as a reader. What poets do you recall from high school that may have resonated? Do you have a book of poetry stuck deep in one of your bookshelves? Three of my favorites are Mary Oliver, Blue Pastures where she writes with her face close to nature; Sheila Bender, Since Then, transforming mortal heartbreak into a sustaining love of the world; and Carolyn Forché, Blue Hour, whose imagery captures the edgy sensations and atmosphere of the world that surrounds us. These women write with distinct personal passion and power.

Be creative in your reading and writing!

This Kiss, This Kiss

Spring is a season of cliches and love — bees snuggle into flower pollen, birds open their breasts wide for a song, rabbits rub noses like tiny pink erasers across a sheet of paper, a pair of hawks wing and dance across the sky over our neighborhood, weddings are being planned, and the light livens and lifts winter blues. It is a fetching time of year of new beginnings and an urgency for love.

If you’re a scientist though, the lovesickness can be blamed on one very real thing. “It’s dopamine,” says Helen Fischer, a neuroscientist, professor at Rutgers University, and author of five books on the science of love. Fisher says dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical your brain uses to make you want things. There are other systems involved in love, but when it comes to new love, dopamine is the main culprit. And with enough of it swirling around your system, you’re prone to fall in love — and fall hard.

Spring unpacks color, fresh smells from bursting flowers and foliage, and people shed layers of their clothes wearing brighter fabrics, exposing more of themselves. They unknowingly embrace this season of renewal.

Every April your brain unwittingly becomes a dopamine factory, turning you into a love junkie. Brain scans of people flooded with the stuff look a lot like brain scans of drug addicts. This makes sense, since being high on dopamine feels, as many lovers would put it, euphoric.

Then there is Molly Shannon’s character in Superstar obsessing for her first kiss; endless songs and poems have been written of spring, longing, desire, and recognition through a first kiss. Here is a simple stanza from Wadsworth Lines Written in Early Spring –

The birds around me hopped and played:
Their thoughts I cannot measure,
But the least motion which they made,
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

What is your pleasure of spring and a memory of your first kiss? Was it in this month of April, which symbolizes ‘to open’? Spring is abundant in its offerings, a delight to the senses, a gift to move forward and renovate our awareness and mental balance…a time to feel love.