Habitual Poetry

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
Joelles canyon 300x190
L.L. here, with Random Acts of Poetry-- remembering an exchange I had with Glynn. He's a businessman developing a habit. A poetry habit. I know this because he told me he wrote two poems during a meeting (hey, I bet it helped him stay awake). He also said this poetry thing was starting to feel serious. To which I said, "Serious is when you start reading a poem for morning devotions." This was my way of rephrasing former poet laureate Ted Kooser's advice, "It takes only a little time to read a few poems each day... It just takes a little initiative to develop a daily reading habit. I make a practice of reading some poetry before I sit down to write. It helps me to get my mind tilted in the right direction." Who knows. Maybe if you start a poetry reading habit, you might start a poetry writing habit. Says Kooser, "Considering the ways in which so many of us waste our time, what would be wrong with a world in which everybody were writing poems?" Joelle seems to approach life exactly this way. She reads poetry. She finds that almost any occasion is reason to write poetry. Here's a poem I liked-- her contemplation of Needles Overlook... Joelle’s Needles Overlook hot sandstone—my palms, undersides of hands and feet—know you intimately, though I would lay my whole body, naked, against your smooth heat and rise red—underside and back—as your skin; I walk, heels weighty, circumambulating like the pilgrims at Ka’ba in Mecca, clockwise ‘round, like the march at Jericho, marching until I fall down and there is no space between me and thee, no space between you and the layer lower—Navajo, Kayenta, touching Wingate next to Chinle sandwiching Moenkopi with Cutler; and above me and around sky cuts through my soul in blue curves, lines, jags, this way and that, no particular order, dismembering me with only glances from every direction; the sky, yes, cuts me low so I am just one more layer upon Earth; maybe some day geologists will come here and add my name to the list: Joelle, Navajo, Kayenta … and the wind will carve me up more and the rain will run me down into the Colorado and my red blood will course as a river between solid canyons endlessly wearing thin. ---- Now, here I am talking habit, and I want to interrupt myself to talk about breaking habit. Just occasionally. RAP has been a popular Friday offering, but we want to mix things up a little and talk about other "Culture" stuff from time to time. So, stay tuned. Next Friday, Sam Van Eman will write his first "Culture" column for us. RAP will reappear the following Friday. In the meantime, you might try writing a brief poem based on the lines of a poet you try reading. (See LL's Almonds for an example.) ALL RAP PARTICIPANTS nAncY’s Holy Glynn’s Who Were You in My Dream, and Early Fall Leaves Lorrie’s Fear Monica’s Dream Girl Kelly’s After Egypt Jim's Thirty-Five LL's Almonds and How Long 'Canyon' photo from Joelle. Used with permission. Post written by L.L. Barkat.