sowing poems

since April, National Poetry Month, and a flurry of commemorative throughout poems, one at least a day sent out by a dutiful and diligent moderator, I’ve carried in my pocket at her inspired, I think, suggestion not one but two poems, one per side per page, to scatter indiscriminately as raindrops, it was recommended, anywhere

I cannot help but think that these inadvertent seeds will somehow somewhere flower

they needed to be accessible, I thought, not trite, distinct enough as well to be quickly unforgettable, by definition nearly therefore profound

one described a poet finding intimations of perfection in the song of a nearby thrush, thereby inspiration and an instant recuperative salve

the other takes you into the heart of any poem

both to my mind are brilliant

I’ve been leaving them in restaurants beside my less august of course tip 




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   The Poet with His Face in His Hands

You want to cry aloud for your
mistakes. But to tell the truth the world
doesn’t need any more of that sound.

So if you’re going to do it and can’t
stop yourself, if your pretty mouth can’t
hold it in, at least go by yourself across

the forty fields and the forty dark inclines
of rocks and water to the place where
the falls are flinging out their white sheets

like crazy, and there is a cave behind all that
jubilation and water fun and you can
stand there, under it, and roar all you

want and nothing will be disturbed; you can
drip with despair all afternoon and still,
on a green branch, its wings just lightly touched

by the passing foil of the water, the thrush,
puffing out its spotted breast, will sing
of the perfect, stone-hard beauty of everything.

                                     Mary Oliver



How to Read a Poem: Beginner’s Manual

First, forget everything you have learned,
that poetry is difficult,
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you,
with your high school equivalency diploma,
your steel-tipped boots,
or your white-collar misunderstandings.

Do not assume meanings hidden from you:
the best poems mean what they say and say it.

To read poetry requires only courage
enough to leap from the edge
and trust.

Treat a poem like dirt,
humus rich and heavy from the garden.
Later it will become the fat tomatoes
and golden squash piled high upon your kitchen table.

Poetry demands surrender,
language saying what is true,
doing holy things to the ordinary.

Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun.

When you can name five poets
without including Bob Dylan,
when you exceed your quota
      and don’t even notice,
      close this manual.

                      Pamela Spiro Wagner