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mana’s musing: how to celebrate world poetry day – with friends

Upcoming HoCoPoLitSo Events

  • National Carry a Poem in your Pocket Day April 27, 2017 Be sure to carry a poem in your pocket on April 27 for Poem In Your Pocket Day. Don't keep it there, take it out and share it with all and let them also enjoy the power of poetry.
  • Blackbird Poetry Festival with Tyehimba Jess April 27, 2017
  • Carrie and John Brown -- A Family Affair June 4, 2017 at 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm Slayton House, 10400 Cross Fox Ln, Columbia, MD 21044, USA HoCoPoLitSo’s Celebration of Columbia’s 50th Birthday John Gregory Brown and Carrie Brown. Presented in partnership with Wilde Lake Community Association.

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Laura Yoo, HoCoPoLitSo Board Member and Associate Professor of English at Howard Community College

Laura Yoo, HoCoPoLitSo Board Member and Associate Professor of English at Howard Community College

March 21st is United Nation’s World Poetry Day.

Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures. In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.

Maya Angelou wrote and read “Brave and Startling Truth” to commemorate UN’s 50th anniversary in 1995.  She says she wrote this poem “for every human being on this earth” – “We, this people,” she says.

So, to celebrate World Poetry Day on March 21st, I shared my favorite poem, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats on Facebook.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

I also asked friends to share a poem, and the response was overwhelming. This anthology of poetry created by my friends was too good to just sit on my Facebook page. It had to be shared with more people. So here it is. [Friends, I hope you don’t mind my sharing.]

Please enjoy my friends’ favorite poems – and go on a poem-hunt and discoveries of your own.

And if you’re inspired, come and experience poetry in real life with Marie Howe at 7th Annual Blackbird Poetry Festival on April 28th at Howard Community College.

==========

And with my pen I wrote the same
I wrote in both hast and speed
and left it here for fools to read

Abraham Lincoln’s poem (didn’t know Lincoln write poems!)

Sama

==========

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,

strong legs, bones and teeth,

and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,

and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.

– Billy Collins’ “The Lanyard”

Liz

==========

I say drop a mouse into a poem

and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room

and feel the walls for a light switch.

Billy Collins’ “Introduction to Poetry”

Sarah

==========

I bathed int he Euphrates when dawns were young.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.

I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln

went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy

bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

Langston Hughes’ “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”

Michelle

==========

O you whom I often and silently come where you are, that I may be with you;
As I walk by your side, or sit near, or remain in the same room with you,
Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your sake is playing within me.

Walt Whitman’s “O You Whom”

Juliette

==========

it’s
spring
and
         the
                  goat-footed
balloonMan          whistles
far
and
wee
Pam

==========

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I have wooed not as I should a creature made of clay –
When the angel woos the clay he’d lose his wings at the dawn of day.
Carl

==========

these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
Beth

==========

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Sebastian

==========

You are white—
yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
That’s American.
Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
But we are, that’s true!
Stacy

==========

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise
Yvonne

==========

Thus Nature spake—The work was done—
How soon my Lucy’s race was run!
She died, and left to me
This heath, this calm and quiet scene;
The memory of what has been,
And never more will be.
Valerie

==========

And so
it has taken me
all of sixty years
to understand
that water is the finest drink,
and bread the most delicious food,
and that art is worthless
unless it plants
a measure of splendor in people’s hearts.
Tim

==========

I remember my father waking me for early prayers.
He would do it by gently stroking my forehead, not
by tearing away the blanket.
Michelle

==========

Here I am in the reservation of my mind
and silence settles forever
the vacancy of this cheap city room.
In the wine darkness my cigarette coal
tints my face with Geronimo’s rage
and I’m in the dry hills with a Winchester
waiting to shoot the lean, learned fools
who taught me to live-think in English.
Edgar

==========

Birds and flowers will keep one busy.
Make collections of both, and observe the battles and songs of birds.
Watch for the eggs of Phoebe about the middle of the month.
Study the circulation of the blood in a frogs’s foot.
Take up mental hygiene;
because it is much needed now.
Claudia

==========

Barn’s burnt down —
now
I can see the moon.
Marie

==========

Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin’s bow,
which draws one voice out of two separate strings.
Sylvia

==========

I LEFT you in the morning,
And in the morning glow,
You walked a way beside me
To make me sad to go.
Do you know me in the gloaming,
Gaunt and dusty grey with roaming?
Are you dumb because you know me not,
Or dumb because you know?
Andrew

==========

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Ilse
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