This is how bored I was in high school algebra

As I was recently cleaning my bookshelves in preparation for moving, I came across an Algebra II notebook from high school.  Leafing through it, I discovered why I had saved it for all these years.  It was not for the details of matrix multiplication.  It was for my doodles in the margins that I did when I was bored in class.

Among other things, I apparently spent the better part of my sophomore year writing out the Longfellow poem “Paul Revere’s Ride,” which I had memorized and can still recite the majority of.

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You can read the full poem here.  While it certainly a white man’s version of history, and not an entirely accurate one at that, it is a lovely poem that is such fun to recite.

I did throw away the algebra notebook after I took these pictures.  I don’t think I need to know about the Binomial Theorem anymore.

National Poetry Month: Easter in Quarantine

I am never going to hold still for your Instagram pictures;

it will take me ‘til 4pm to find all the eggs you’ve hidden.

Maybe someday I will understand how this time 

has shaped the world we live in.

It will always have been part of my reality.

Right now I just want to run up and down

       up and down

              into the bushes.

We will all get haircuts eventually.

 

Where you want to put a period, God and I put a comma.

This is not the end.

He is risen, indeed, and so have the hyacinths.

Up and down; world without end, amen.

National Poetry Month: My Fellow Goose

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My Fellow Goose

for Jolee

With thanks to Mary Oliver

 

A lone goose is flying

across the sky.

He honks and honks and

then again,

calling to his family, somewhere.

I have seen no other geese.

 

I could honk, too, but

you are forever beyond hearing.

You will never again greet me

at the door

or sleep by my side.

 

Now, I am left to pray

for a goose

in the chill morning.

National Poetry Month: Dog Songs by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver, who passed away this January, remains one of this country’s most popular poets.  She won both the National Book Award for Poetry and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  On a more personal level, I feel a connection to her work because she was born in northeast Ohio, near where I live.

20190405_224303Oliver frequently uses themes of nature in her work, so it is not really a surprise that she has an entire book of poems about dogs.  Published in 2013, Dog Songs contains many poems about canines in general as well as some specific dogs in Oliver’s life.  There are also beautiful sketches of dogs throughout the book.

Her simple, unadorned structures and word choice fit the topic very well.  You can easily see her familiarity with and love for dogs coming through. From the very first poem I could see how she uses the motif of dogs to discuss issues of identity, love, living well, and even what it means to be human.  

One of the poems that spoke to me immediately was “Her Grave,” as I am also dealing with a recent loss of a pet.  The lines that really struck me:

She roved ahead of me through the fields, yet would come back,

or wait for me, or be somewhere.

 

Now she is buried under the pines.

Specifically, it’s that “be somewhere” that got me.  It seems to me that the essence of grief is distilled into those two little words.  Jolee, my cat, used to be somewhere. He existed. And now he is not, does not. As simple as that.

I may have cried a bit while reading some of these poems.  But that’s good. I think poetry is one of the most powerful tools for processing emotions, both reading and writing it.  I’m happy that reading this book made me get up out of bed in the night and find pen and paper to write a poem myself before it slipped out of my head.  (You’ll be reading that one a little later this month.)

If you are not familiar with Oliver’s work, now is a great time to check it out since April is National Poetry Month.  Let me know which poem of hers is your favorite!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved

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From Dublin.

The National Library in Dublin has a wonderful exhibit on the Irish poet W.B. Yeats that is definitely worth taking a look at.  At the entrance, visitors are invited to list their favorite poem.  I’m sure some people wrote the name of one of Yeats’ poems, as he and his poems are much loved in Ireland and across the world.

I wrote “This Is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams, which has long been my favorite poem.

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved