Thursday, August 22, 2019

Poetry Friday: Honoring LBH

Today for Poetry Friday we are honoring the life of Lee Bennett Hopkins, a champion of poetry who died on August 8th. Hopkins produced over 120 anthologies of poetry during a long career.

We celebrated his birthday last year here at Poetry Friday, and here's the post I wrote then.

Jone MacCulloch suggested that we could best pay tribute to LBH by writing a poem inspired by and/or including a line from one of his.  I found "Why Poetry?" here, and borrowed his title and last line for my poem. (I also borrowed an Emily Dickinson line, while I was at it.  See it?)

Why Poetry?

Because some subjects
don’t work like math.

Because some objects
can’t be held in the hand.

Because some truths
have to be told slant.

Why poetry?

Because some surfaces
are shiny
and some are dull
and some things are invisible.

Because life doesn’t go on forever.

That’s why. 

Ruth, from

Thank you, LBH, for all you did for children's poetry. You'll be missed.

Amy has today's roundup here. 


Amy LV said...

I think Lee would love that you chose this poem to write from - and gosh, you brought a whole lot of other gorgeous line-truths to why we need poetry, especially today and especially now, for so many reasons. Thank you for making the invisible visible for a moment. How grateful I am yet again that we all have each other. Happy Poetry Friday. xx

Linda B said...

"Because some objects can't be held in the hand" feels like a title for all the gathering happening today, Ruth. The feelings of love are in the poetry I'm reading, post after post. I love Lee's poem, 'Why Poetry" & you've added another part to it.

Buffy Silverman said...

Ah, your poem tells the truth, and tells it slant. Why poetry, indeed. Thanks for this one.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

The truth of this poem is something I will keep in my heart and my pocket, Ruth. It's wonderful.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Seconding all those comments - this is truly wonderful, Ruth. (And I used that same Emily line reference in a a haiku once!) That line of yours Linda mentioned is worth its weight in gold. XO

Linda Mitchell said...

Wow! This is a brilliant poem. It's practical and thought provoking at the same time. The last line brings it all home. Beautiful work, Ruth.

Mary Lee said...

Oh, that ending!

skanny17 said...

A stunning poem for Lee. Why poetry? Indeed. We have treasure to hold in our hearts and the feelings that weigh on us when such a dear one departs. Life is soon over. We just don't always realize that every moment is so important. Janet Clare F.

Carol Varsalona said...

If truths be told then poetry will remain as the soul of emotions, the breath of life, and the food for renewal. Thanks for adding additional reasons for why poetry, Ruth. You gave me time for pondering.

Cheriee Weichel said...

Your poem is beautiful Ruth. It's full of many important truths. I especially love these lines,
Because some truths
have to be told slant.

Michelle Kogan said...

Yes, "Because life doesn’t go on forever." sad and true. Thanks for your tribute poem that says much so succinctly

Ramona said...

Thanks for this lovely poem and your reassurances that poetry matters! And yes, I spotted that Emily Dickinson line, Ruth!

Linda Kulp Trout said...

Ruth, your poem speaks the truth. We need to carry on and keep writing poetry because poetry matters. Thanks for a lovely poem!

Kay said...

Yes, we were on the same wavelength with Why poetry> Your answer is beautiful and holds so much in each line. I love the oponning--not all subjects work like math.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

I think Lee would have said there were endless reasons "why poetry"...and you touched on some of the most important ones. Very touching, Ruth.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Lee and Emily would both like your take on truth, Ruth--that's just perfect.

author amok said...

I love the suggestion that poems can hold things that are ephemeral!