If I can stop one heart from breaking

Today is the last day of April, which means a bunch of different things!

1. It’s the 1 month anniversary of this blog! Hard to believe that it’s been a month already! I am so enjoying writing this, more than I’ve ever enjoyed a blog before. I’ve written more consistently, I have more followers (always a plus!), and I think my content is better. I think my success is due to finally writing about something that comes as naturally to me as breathing–reading. I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am!

2. It’s the 10 year anniversary of Mean Girls! Seems silly, I know. But it has always been one of my favorite movies. It’s hilarious and quotable, sure, but it also has a really great message–stop bullying. That’s important! And, of course, the anniversary had to fall on a Wednesday, and you know what that means. On Wednesdays, we wear pink!!

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3. Today ends National Poetry Month. As I said yesterday, I’ll probably keep posting poems every once in awhile, but maybe not every day. It has been a fun project, though!

In the spirit of Mean Girls day, and to end NPM, I have one of my favorite poems for you. It is a short one, but one that hangs on the bulletin board in the den as a reminder to try and be kind.

If I can stop one heart from breaking

If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in bain;

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.

–Emily Dickinson

Blue Monday

It’s another rainy Monday morning, and we are expecting some strong storms today from what I hear. Last week was a rough one, and I’m hoping this week is much better. We’ll see.

I’ve had this poem flagged for about a week now, but I couldn’t share it on any other day but today! This is the last week of April, and so the last week for daily poems. I will keep sharing poems as I find them interesting or poignant, but maybe not every day. It’s been fun tracking down ones to share, though! I hope you’ve enjoyed National Poetry Month!

Blue Monday

 
No use in my going
Downtown to work today,
     It’s eight,
     I’m late—
And it’s marked down that-a-way.
Saturday and Sunday’s
Fun to sport around.
But no use denying–
Monday’ll get you down.
That old blue Monday
Will surely get you down.
–Langston Hughes, Selected Poems of Langston Hughes

The Sun Rising

After a rainy Friday, we woke up to a bright, shining Saturday morning. And a horribly loud chorus of birds. I love our little grove of trees behind our apartment building–much nicer than the busy road we had at our old place–but man. Some of these bird are so loud and repetitive that they are worse than alarm clocks! There’s one that I call “Old School Rapper,” because its call sounds like “skeetskeetskeetskeetskeet.” I told my husband that this morning and now he can’t unhear it. It was quite comical.

The Sun Rising

Busy old fool, unruly Sun,

Why dost thou thus,

Through windows, and through curtains call on us?

Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run?

Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide

Late schoolboys, and sour prentices,

Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,

Call country ants to harvest offices,

Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,

Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

 

Thy beams, so reverend and strong

Why shouldst thou think?

I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,

But that I would not lose her sight so long:

If her eyes have not blinded thine,

Look, and tomorrow late, tell me

Whether both the’Indias of spice and mine

Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me.

Ask for those kings whom thou saw’st yesterday,

And thou shalt hear:  ‘All here in one bed lay.’

 

She’is all states, and all princes I,

Nothing else is.

Princes do but play us all; compar’d to this,

All honour’s mimic, all wealth alchemy.

Thou, sun, art half as happy’ as we,

In that the world’s contracted thus;

Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be

To warm the world, that’s done in warming us.

Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;

This bed thy centre is, these walls, thy sphere.

–John Donne

One Art

Holy cow it is a busy morning for me. I am the only one on the phones for my client this morning, so I am taking a quick break with my eye on the lines.

Since I’m losing my mind, I’m going to share one of my favorite poems with you…mostly (and admittedly) because I don’t have a lot of effort to spare at the moment. I first heard this on one of my favorite chick flicks “In Her Shoes.”

One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Dejeuner du Matin

I’m going to cheat a little bit with this morning’s poem. Normally, I type it all out myself, in an effort to remember what I read. However, I do not speak French, and I think the original French is important here. And it looks neat. And there’s absolutely no way I am going to be able to figure out the WordPress formatting to do the columns!

So I ask forgiveness…I borrowed the image below from Tumblr somewhere…and honestly I don’t remember where. I pasted it into my journal at the beginning of National Poetry Month. Bad Blogger!!!!!!! I fully deny credit here, this is not my image. But, I loved the poem, and I want to share it with you.

I love this poem because of its absolute simplicity. It starts out with such an every day routine, but then it moves into such a strong emotion, that you almost can’t help but sob at the end.

 

 

Jacques Prevert

Old Barn

I grew up on a farm, with a big white barn. We had a pole barn, later. But the center point of our property was the glorious, old monstrosity. It was exactly what a barn should be–dusty and full of odd shaped rooms. The floor was concrete…or stone. Something hard and pitted, but so filthy that it was unrecognizable. We didn’t raise livestock or horses, much to my childhood dismay. Just several farm cats and dogs. But the barn raised my sisters and I, and housed our many adventures–and before that, it raised my dad and his siblings. There was even a painted basketball court in one of the upper lofts.

That barn is gone now, torn down after we sold the property and my parents moved in town. Every time I drive past there, the yard just looks empty. But the memory will always be there of the old white barn on our old homestead.

Old Barn

Where hay was stored,
there are birds
now in the
ancient straw.
 
They come and go
through lost boards.
Lights of sky
break the chorus
of dark.
 
The rains come,
puddles pool
for baths
to cleanse
dusty feathers.
They fly in and out
of this place.
They have waited,
knowing it has
always belonged
just to them.

–Jim Gustafson, Driving Home

Here in a Rocky Cup

Today is Earth Day! Make sure you get out and enjoy Spring a little bit today. It’s been warm here in the evenings, but I think today is supposed to be rainy. Maybe we can at least open the windows and enjoy the breeze later.

 

Here in a Rocky Cup

 

Here in a rocky cup of earth

The simple acorn brought to birth

What ages grown to be

A very oak, a mighty tree.

The granite of the rock is split

And crumbled by the girth of it.

 

In cautious was the rock to feed

The acorn’s mouth; unwise indeed

Am I, upon whose stony heart

Fell softly down, sits quietly,

The seed of love’s imperial tree

That soon may force my breast apart.

 

“I fear you not. I have no doubt

My meagre soil shall starve you out!”

 

Unless indeed you prove to be

The kernel of a kingly tree;

 

Which if you be I am content

To go the way the granite went,

And be myself no more at all,

So you but prosper and grow tall.

 

–Edna St. Vincent Millay

The Waking

Knowledge is particularly important to me now. I am striving to learn more about everything, and reaching out for new subjects. It’s why I started this blog, so that I could push myself harder, and write more. This poem speaks to that willingness and desire to learn. I don’t need a college or professors to teach me, I just need to wake up and teach myself.

 

The Waking

 

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.

I learn by going where I have to go.

 

We think by feeling. What is there to know?

I hear my being dance from ear to ear.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

 

Of those so close beside me, which are you?

God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,

And learn by going where I have to go.

 

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?

The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

 

Great Nature has another thing to do

To you and me; so take the lively air,

And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

 

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.

What falls away is always. And is near.

I wake to sleep, and taking my waking slow.

I learn by going where I have to go.

 

–Theodore Roethke

Our Generation

Today’s poem was posted on twitter awhile ago, and absolutely floored the web. I have seen it everywhere, and for good reason. It was written by an 8th grader, and posted to the web by his brother, @DerekNichols0. The poem so accurately portrays people today, and it spread quickly on social media.

Our Generation

Our generation will be known for nothing.

Never will anybody say,

We were the peak of mankind.

That is wrong, the truth is

Our generation was a failure.

Thinking that

We actually succeeded

Is a waste. And we know

Living only for money and power

Is the way to go.

Being loving, respectful, and kind

Is a dumb thing to do.

Forgetting about that time,

Will not be easy, but we will try.

Changing our world for the better

Is something we never did,

Giving up

Was how we handled our problems,

Working hard

Was a joke.

We knew that

People thought we couldn’t come back

That might be true,

Unless we turn things around

(Read from bottom to top now)

–Jordan Nichols Grade 8

Paul Revere’s Ride

Today marks the 239th anniversary of Paul Revere’s ride. There were actually several riders involved in the warning ride in Massachusetts, but Longfellow’s poem helps us remember the night that the enemy knocked at our door.

Paul Revere’s Ride

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, ‘If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.’

Then he said, ‘Good-night!’ and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street,
Wanders and watches with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry-chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the somber rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,–
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town,
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night-encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
The watchful night-wind as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, ‘All is well!’
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,–
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse’s side,
Now gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,

And turned and tightened his saddle-girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry-tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and somber and still.
And lo! As he looks, on the belfry’s height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns!

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.

He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard by the tramp of his steed as he rides.
It was twelve by the village clock,
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer’s dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock.
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed.
Who at the bridge would be the first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket-ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read,
How the British Regulars fired and fled,–
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farm-yard wall,
Chasing the red-coats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,–
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door
And a word that shall echo forevermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

 

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow