Friday, May 30, 2014

Poetry Friday: Cleaning Up

My son remarked the other day, "You know what I hate about the beginning of summer?  Mom always wants everything to be clean."

It's true.  After nine months of constant focus on school, suddenly all my grading is done and I look around my house and see it a little more clearly.  Of course, there's all the cleaning to be done in my classroom, too.  And the metaphorical cleaning up as I reflect on the past year and all the messes I made, and wonder how I can do better next year.

I found this poem that expresses a bit of what I feel about the clutter taking over, and also the questioning about what stays and what goes, literally and figuratively.

Mother's Closet
by Maxine Scates

This is everything she ever closed a door
on, the broom closet of childhood
where no one could ever find a broom.
Here, layer upon layer, nothing breathes:
photo albums curl at the edges, books
she brought home from the library
where she worked, handled by thousands
of other hands before their final exile
where they’ve waited, paper and more paper
taking in the ocean air, about to sprout. 
You can read the rest of it, and listen to it, here.
You can find today's roundup here.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Poetry Friday: Swamped

I'm swamped by grading today.  This was the last day of classes and I'm supposed to have everything posted by tomorrow evening so that kids know where they stand going into finals.  But go read what everyone else posted here

Friday, May 16, 2014

Poetry Friday: Chikungunya Edition

Gerald Weissmann writes here, "For an arbovirus such as Chikungunya to enter a new zone, three elements are required: a change in the distribution and/or survival of the insect vector; a change in fitness and/or infectivity of the virus; and a human who carries the virus into an area deficient in mosquito control."  Weissmann was referring to the outbreak of this decidedly tropical virus in Ravenna, Italy, in 2007, but all of those conditions have been met again, and Chikungunya is here, in Haiti, where I live.  It has crossed the ocean and it is wreaking havoc here, though it's only been on our side of the island for a couple of weeks.  You can read more about that here.

On May 2nd, I posted a Dengue fever edition of Poetry Friday, because that was how I had diagnosed myself.  I now think I probably had Chikungunya, and whether I did or not, now everybody does, including multiple people in my household.  When I googled "Chikungunya" and "poem," I got the article I quoted above, because later in the text, Weissmann writes that Dante died of malaria, which he described this way in the Inferno:

Like those who shake
Feeling the quartan fever coming on -
Their nails already blue, so that they shiver
At the mere sight of shade - such was I then...

Believe it or not, poems have been written about Chikungunya, too, including this one, which identifies the vector of the virus, the Aedes Egypti mosquito, an equal opportunity carrier which also likes to share Dengue fever with others. One of my colleagues wrote a poem from her sickbed, and posted it on Facebook.  Maybe when this gets done working its way through my whole family, I'll wax poetic about it too. 

I hope next week to write a Poetry Friday post with no trace of illness attached, and also soon to fill you in on my trip to New Orleans for the IRA conference.  Meanwhile, check out today's roundup.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Poetry Friday: Failing to Read an Important Novel

Once Again I Fail to Read an Important Novel
by George Bilgere

Instead, we sit together beside the fountain,
the important novel and I.

We are having coffee together
in that quiet first hour of the morning,
respecting each other's silences
in the shadow of an important old building
in this small but significant European city.

All the characters can relax.
I'm giving them the day off.
For once they can forget about their problems—
desire, betrayal, the fatal denouement—
and just sit peacefully beside me.

Here's the rest.

I'm off to New Orleans today for the IRA conference.  I'm hoping to see some Poetry Friday regulars there!  Meanwhile, Jama's hosting the roundup today, so it's bound to be delicious!

Friday, May 02, 2014

Poetry Friday: Dengue Fever Edition

Googling "dengue fever" and "poem" produces a surprising number of hits.  Unfortunately, most of the poems aren't in English.  And most seem to have to do with preventing dengue rather than with suffering from it.  It's too late, in my case, for the prevention.

Yes, I am at home from work today, covered with an itchy rash that is a symptom of dengue fever.  At least it is a symptom that usually shows up late in the illness, signalling that I will feel better soon.

Writers and poets get dengue too, as this 2011 article comfortingly (?) points out.  And here is a poem written about dengue in Mississippi in 1873.

That's all I have for today.  Be sure to visit Katya's roundup here