When I got sick this summer, I dropped several balls, and one of them was the Poetry Swap. (A sports metaphor like "dropping the ball" doesn't really work for me because I tend to drop all balls when I play any sports.) It wasn't until last Friday that I sat down to go through my email and find out how delinquent I was. There were two people whose poems sent to me I hadn't shared yet, and one of those I hadn't even acknowledged. And there were two people for whom I hadn't written anything. So I sent out apologies and spent some time last Saturday writing poems.
One of the people I sent a poem was Jone, who's hosting our roundup today. Be sure to visit her blog to see what everyone is sharing. Jone has invited contributions in honor of National Math Storytelling Week.
Today I'm going to share two poems I received this summer, and since fall came this week, we can call them Fall Poetry Swaps. Thank you to Tabatha, who came up with this whole Poetry Swap thing, and who does so much for poetry all year long.
Margaret Simon, who blogs at Reflections on the Teche, impressed me to no end by not just writing about Haiti, but including Kreyol in her poem. Her first line is a proverb that means "Behind the mountains there are mountains." It is used often here to refer to the complications that exist behind even the simplest things, the way there are always more mountains in Haiti. Later Margaret refers to the lambi, which is the conch shell that the enslaved people would blow to summon their armies, with which they successfully fought off the French in their revolution.
Haiti Love Song
Dèyè mòn gen mòn
Beyond the mountains, mountains
as lambi calls an echo, echo
Orchid opens just once. Once,
We held hands along the shore, shore,
felt the waves singing more, more,
collected shells that shone, shone,
knowing we'd never be alone, alone.
Linda Mitchell, who blogs at A Word Edgewise, spent the summer making Junk Journals. Her lovely poem describes the process and the beautiful products that resulted:
In Praise of a Junk Journal
In praise of junked books:
yellowed pages. Wise
words for readers moved on or gone. Pen and ink
illustrations. Art I can make in a new way. Praise
the endpapers, faded – elegant adornment still.
Removed from shelves and
circulation. My scissors cut
and trim chapters into strips to frame a new page,
using margins and line spacing as straight edge, guide:
what was junk becomes new treasure.
Farewell outdated copyright,
hardcovers spoilt by rain
Hello! Transplanted print. Meet my paintbrush
distressed ink pad and mod podge. In my studio
we rearrange and take shape in new ways.
No need to conform to metric
or template. Each spread
from ditch to edge is its own. A palette
of my own making with recovered headings and hues.
A bit of poem here – a slice
of map there and wow
this old encyclopedia illustration fits it.
As I’ve cut and brushed and pieced and polished
no thoughts of the world have interrupted
I am an artist up to my elbows in junk
and I love it.
~Linda Mitchell Summer 2020