Wednesday, April 07, 2021

NPM Spring Cleaning Day 7, Forsythia



Today's post isn't really from tabs I had open on my desktop; in fact, I had to open more tabs in its creation. Typical! I generally do open more tabs faster than I close the ones already open.

When I was doing my daffodil begging (see this post for that tale), a friend sent me some forsythia instead; this was the same friend who didn't want to sneak into her neighbors' yards to take pictures of their flowers - go figure! 


Photo Credit: Joy Dupree


Perfect, I thought, I'll post some forsythia poems! The first one I thought of was "Naming of Parts," by Henry Reed. Imagine my surprise when I looked it up and learned it isn't forsythia at all in that poem, but japonica! All they have in common, that I can see, is that their names are the same number of syllables, with the emphasis in the same place, and that they both bloom in early spring. Both facts are important to this poem. I think the most common adjective used online to describe this poem is "much-anthologized." Certainly I read it in school, at a time when I had no idea what either japonica or forsythia looked like (see the photos - forsythia above, japonica below).


Photo Source:

In the poem, there's a jarring juxtaposition between a training session in weapon use for soldiers (today they're learning the parts of a gun) and the japonica blooming out of control. The poem starts this way:

Naming of Parts

by Henry Reed

Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday

we had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning

We shall have what to do after firing. But today,

Today we have naming of parts. Japonica 

Glistens like coral in all of the neighbouring gardens,

And today we have naming of parts.

Here's the rest.


So after finding out that my first forsythia poem wasn't even about forsythia, I found a couple of actual forsythia poems to share. The first one is "Forsythia," by Billy Collins, and the second, "Finally the Forsythia," by Virginia Shreve.


by Billy Collins

It caught my eye a while ago, lit up 

against the gloom of woods

in the corner of a wide field,

the pulsing color of caution.


And now that I have spent a little time

on this stone wall watching its fire

flare out of the earth

I begin to think about the long chronicle of forsythia,...


Here's the rest. You'll have to click through to the second part of it in this facsimile of the Poetry magazine spread it appeared in back in 1995. I love how Billy Collins, in his inimitable fashion, explores the associations forsythia has in his mind. The poem ends this way:

as I feel the syllables of yellow form in my mouth

and hear the sound of yellow fill the morning air.

Finally the Forsythia

by Virginia Shreve

Finally the forsythia

flocks down the lane

laps around the block

tiny yellow birds

Here's the rest.

This is the ninth year of the Progressive Poem! See the schedule below to find where to go for today's line and to see who's participating this year.

April 1 Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method at
27 Rebecca Newman
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All

1 comment:

Linda B said...

I'm sitting here watching the birds at my feeder, thinking of you perhaps watching birds out your window or at your outdoors somewhere. I don't know if I've ever seen Japonica, but that poem is about loving something beautiful that guns are not, I hope. Billy Collins makes it easy to love poetry, his tiny shares of moments please every time. There is the last poem which is wonderful, but really, I love the title most: "Finally the forsythia". What we say in spring! Thanks so much. Ruth!