Acceptance. I think that is the gift that I give myself when there are a multitude of things that are out of my control on both a personal and global level. My small hands, my curious mind cannot solve any of it. I can accept and move forward. I can accept and be content that I am whole; I am safe in my own small space.
Poetry has always given me that small space to crawl into – to journey down into a deep, welcoming hole and find myself in an open field at the other end, a field of possibility. It is a place to try out new combinations of words to express what is in my inside because my inside is the only thing I can control. How will I approach this situation? How will to react to that setback? What can I do to right myself again?
Words help me know what I’m feeling. Words record where I have been, who I was at that moment of time. They are a snapshot of myself. They help me reflect and grow. They allow me to navigate the world and keep me on a steady course.
Every morning I remind myself why I am here. Mary Oliver’s wise words whisper in my ear: Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? I am here to write.
Winter’s Coming Softly lace crystals dance On the chill wind whispering Winter’s coming Three deer play hide and seek With the trees– leaping Winter’s coming Rabbit in her brown-fur burrow Safe and warm dreaming Winter’s coming Alder trees arch with the weight Of new fallen snow creaking Winter’s coming Squirrels frolic in the snow Fluff their silver tails chattering Winter’s coming A flock of Canada geese glide Across the frigid sky honking Winter’s coming Meanwhile beneath the deep white The steadfast garden lies silent Till spring – Hush now Winter’s coming Swamp Oak in Winter Silver-white swamp oak Stands alone in the clearing Branching up and up Gracefully curving While each slender stem embraces Curled copper leaves Like snow-capped cocoons Silently contemplating Silver-white swamp oak Hibernation I Following the path Through the woods Walking in other’s footprints In the shallow snow, I feel the tug from the earth, A call from the bare branches To come rest in the soft snow, Sleep till spring. II The woods are silent, The sun is iced-over, Each branch, each leaf Is frozen in space and time, A lone woodpecker lands Rendering a hollow sound. III The elm stands bare-boned, I rest my cool cheek Against its smooth trunk, Take comfort from its Immense strength, Sturdy persistence, Acknowledging the life within.
If you are not yet a writer of poetry, I urge you to try. Observe what’s around you, calm your mind, and narrow your focus. Settle down and relax. You can start small. If I haven’t convinced you to write, then read poetry. Fill your mind with its music. Fill your heart with its knowledge. Begin.
Poetry for Adults
- Aimless Love by Billy Collins
- A Thousand Morning by Mary Oliver
- Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay
- Devotions by Mary Oliver
- Nine Horses by Billy Collins
- Selected Poems by E.E. Cummings
- Twenty Love Poems by Pablo Neruda
- The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
- The Undressing: Poems by Li-Young Lee
- The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck
Poetry for Children
- All the Small Poems and Fourteen More by Valerie Worth
- A Pocketful of Poems by Nikki Grimes
- Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan
- Bookjoy, Wordjoy by Pat Mora
- Creature of Earth, Sea, And Sky by Georgia Heard
- Everything Comes Next by Naomi Shihab Nye
- I am Loved by Nikki Giovanni
- Let it Shine by Ashley Bryan
- One Last Word by Nikki Grimes
- Twist: Yoga Poems by Janet Wong