Tuesday, November 18, 2008
A Pause for Poetry
Don't know why. I guess thinking about Maya Angelou did it. Got me thinking about poetry again. I have a poem framed, on my bedroom wall. My youngest, Kitty, wrote it for me in 2003.
How to Write a Poem for Your Mother
First, create many unsuccessful drafts.
follow ideas into oblivion,
metaphors into cliche hums and mumbles.
Next, check your email.
Read your new messages but don't answer any.
Sing rainy day songs she taught you.
Wish in passing that you could whistle.
Wonder if it's her fault you can't.
Plant marigold seeds in the rain like she would.
Bring the open seed packet close to your face and sniff.
Know it smells like her.
Open and close your journal several times.
Write the date on a page then decide to change pens.
Look at a calendar to find out exactly when Mother's Day is this year.
Re-read all the starts to poems you've begun for her in the past -
they talk about fireflies and butterflies, Tagore and Milne.
Find potential in wings and words and light and flight.
Decide having potential is like being told you are "nice".
Convince yourself you're washed up as a poet.
Spend time wallowing in this thought.
Pull the covers over your head and sleep.
Dream you are with her
walking arm in arm
through beautiful grey Budapest.
I love my poem.
I guess it sort of explains the marigolds I have started to use as my profile picture when I got tired of looking at my own face. We did spend some time together in beautiful Budapest in the spring of 1995. I have no picture of us together there. I do not look particularly happy in this one. Maybe the sun was in my eyes.
Kitty was teaching English as a second language to students at a gymnasium in a little town called Veszprem, near Budapest. The girl has always amazed me. She arrived there not knowing a word of Hungarian.
Learned it fairly rapidly. (Well, she had to know how to ask for potatoes in the market, and how to ask for ice cream. And only a couple of the teachers on the staff had any English at all.)
She learned to love the kids she was teaching that year, and I'm sure they loved her too. She also battled the local folks at city hall until she got to help the kids in cleaning up the graffiti and painting a mural in a pedestrian tunnel in town. That took some doing! Fighting city hall is the same world over I guess.
She isn't in the pictures. she was behind the camera.
I hope she didn't waste too much time with the covers pulled over her head. I do think she is a wonderful poet. And a prolific one.I wish that I could publish more of her work here, but that could compromise her chances of publishing elsewhere.
Well, enough of this for today.