April is over and, with its end, so is this year’s National Poetry Month. Since I started sending a poem a day, more or less, to ALL HNA (including UK) almost six weeks ago (I actually began a week early while in Bologna) you’ve received 36 poems from more than 30 poets. Poems that I knew or discovered or came across by chance or association, poems that for some reason or another struck me or, that I had stashed in my drafts folder waiting to be sent (or not sent) and shared. I usually sent them early in my day, sometimes before full morning light had lifted, before I had my senses completely about me, before I overedited my choices, or gave in to my hesitations and before I thought hard about any audience for the poems other than my own.
It’s amazing what a holiday break can do for the spirit and body and soul. I’m hoping that these past eleven days–over Christmas and Kwanzaa and New Year’s–helped to re-charge your battery, provided a much needed break from routine and created some time and space to stretch out, to think or just relax with family and friends and with yourself.
“The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heav’n;
And, as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shape, and gives to aiery nothing
A local habitation and a name.”
—From A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Wm. Shakespeare
While in town for the London Book Fair last Sunday, I decided to take the Tube to near the end of the Northern Line and walked up the hill in search of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s grave. I’ve been reading Coleridge and Wordsworth and thinking about their famous and ongoing “conversation.”
I was going to hear W.S. Merwin—current United States Poet Laureate—read at the Storm King outdoor sculpture park recently with the intention of writing about it. But, the weather was lousy with rain; my own poems needed revising, and the prospect of reading, writing, errand-running, and cooking on a free weekend was more seductive than the lure of Merwin’s rare appearance in New York far from his Hawaiian home. My loss, I’m sure. But time spent with cats, or better yet, with books and one’s self, is never wasted, to paraphrase Sigmund Freud.
I’m on an airplane from London back to New York, and about an hour ago I saw below us the tip of what must have been Greenland after five or so hours over the Atlantic. It was exciting mostly because it was unexpected, having flown over England and Ireland and then over thousands of miles of water under the clouds, which were mesmerizing in their perfect simplicity.
I imagined the Grand Banks below, somewhere down there, a place I’d read about in The Perfect Storm, a shelf out in in the sea where sword fishermen go to catch their fill and, hopefully, return intact with their payload. And I let the sight of those clouds seduce me to sleep like sirens instead of reading Jane Eyre which I’d intended to do—for the first time, I’m embarrassed to admit—on the long plane ride home. Rochester will wait, I suppose, and so will Jane and so will I, for the weekend and some time on the couch or a chair in the sun with that brilliant Brontë sister.