Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Reluctant Homeowner, 4Amys and two haiku—#NationalPoetryMonth

 Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day!  (Yep, it's a "thing." Click on the link for more official details.) Judi Korpi Webb and I have some sweet little pocket-sized haikus just for you. Or if they're not your style, I suggest you write your own and carry them around in your pocket. Better yet, write a bunch of your own haiku on different scraps of paper and #poetrybomb the pants pockets of clothing at your favorite retail outlet. (You did not hear this from me.)

 For now, we'll round out this experiment with Judi's reflections on friendship and mine on the month of April. This time, let's start with Judi's poems for a change. Judi's first is a haiku which she wrote for her friend who always requests haiku for his birthday. She wrote this one and sent it to me to post presumably on his birthday, April 21st.  I've stockpiled Judi's poems and am only getting around to this now. (Shout out to Judi's friend! Happy belated! Keep aging!)

On sun-warmed cement
Walking barefoot in the dark
I think I'll join you

-Judi Korpi Webb

Here's one of the haiku I wrote this month. I have a bone to pick with spring and the way the sun shines into tricking me that it's warm outside when it's really not.

Beauty in the Dogwood. Her toes are not cold because she is not sedentary like I am.
sun seeps through windows
dogwood blossoms beckoning
still, my toes feel cold

-Amy Baskin

 I love haiku. Most people think it's just a 17-syllable verse consisting of three syllabic lines of 5-7-5. But haiku is much more than that. True haiku must symbolize or imply the season in which the poem is grounded. It has to be anchored in a season. In Japanese haiku, there are other rules which do not clearly transfer into the developed English form, but the essence of haiku is that there are two images or ideas juxtaposed together, and a "cutting word" or "kireiji" that draws attention to the two ideas and sometimes serves to draw a parallel between them. English poets often, but not always, use ellipses or dashes to separate and/or unite these two images.

Now, Judi has overwhelmed me with a tribute poem to me and three other friends of hers, all named Amy! Judi, you've definitely turned up the fireworks for the finale today. This poem, while larger than her haiku, could still fit in a pocket if you're crafty and not opposed to folding.

4 Amy

Of all the Amy’s, you were the first
We’ve supported each other through our worst
Your enduring friendship is always true
Vast is the love I have for you

Our first meeting was a jolt out of the blue
Heartbroken when I had to bid you adieu
So luminous, curious, full of cheer
Delightful contentment when you are near

Unbelievable the life you have lived
Too many years where joy was elusive
To see you becoming, a delight it has been
Coming out of the shell you didn't know you were in

Throughout this month you have bared your soul
Some poems chilling, some quite droll
So many ideas and forms to explore
I was thrilled to answer when you knocked on the door
-Judi Korpi Webb 

The last poem I'll post this month reveals just how much I am given to remaining an object at rest, and how much I have to force myself to enjoy the gifts that spring has to offer. I've written this exposé in blank verse, which in this case means no rhyme, but in iambic pentameter. I wrote it while watching a landscaper renovate and enliven our neighbor's garden across the street. I enjoyed it all from a distance, under my blanket on the couch, with a cup of coffee. I'd carry this poem around in my pocket if it weren't already stuck in my noodle.

The Reluctant Homeowner

How good it feels to watch the gardener work!
He looks so happy plowing up the sod.
And bending over holes between his feet
while dirtying his fingers in the sun.
How wonderful a life of handy labor!
How grand it seems from windows in my house.
One day I, too, will plant a flat of starters—
learn satisfaction from a job well done.

-Amy Baskin

Yeah, right!

This whole #NationalPoetryMonth thing really got my brain percolating. I would have trudged on solo for 30 days straight, bearing the burden alone, had it not been for my steady poet companion, Judi Korpi Webb. Judi, you've played Sam to my Frodo for all of April! (Sam is my favorite character, by the way. Please don't take that as a slight. A slight would be to call you my Ed McMahon or something. You are no sidekick. Unless you're thinking Andy Richter. Then I'd be your Conan. But I digress.) The long and short of it is this: I've been so grateful for such good company. Judi, I've enjoyed all of the poems you've contributed this month and I hope that you keep sharing your work with me. Could we turn this gig into #NationalPoetryYear?

If you have any poems—any poems at all— you'd like to share with me before this month wraps up, then by all means, please do! You can even share new work with me when the clock strikes 12 and it is no longer #NationalPoetryMonth. I just like poetry. That's all!  Thanks for reading.

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