What is your favorite poem?


Do you like poetry? What is your favorite poem? The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry and Wild Geese by Mary Oliver are two of my favorites. I love that reading poetry makes me slow down. There is no way to really read a poem quickly, you have to quiet yourself to enter the new language and find meaning. It’s sort of like yoga for the mind.

If you haven’t yet, you might consider subscribing to The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. As a fan, I receive a jewel of a poem  in my inbox everyday, along with fascinating, deep and wide-ranging “on this day in history” nuggets.

This poem that arrived in my inbox the other day, and it took my breath away:

In your next letter,

                                       please describe
the weather in great detail. If possible,
enclose a fist of snow or mud,

everything you know about the soil,
how tomato leaves rub green against
your skin and make you itch, how slow

the corn is growing on the hill.
Thank you for the photographs
of where the chicken coop once stood,

clouds that did not become tornadoes.
When I try to explain where I’m from,
people imagine corn bread, cast-iron,

cows drifting across grass. I interrupt
with barbed wire, wind, harvest air
that reeks of wheat and diesel.

I hope your sleep comes easy now
that you’ve surrendered the upstairs,
hope the sun still lets you drink

one bitter cup before its rise. I don’t miss
flannel shirts, radios with only
AM stations, but there’s a certain kind

of star I can’t see from where I am-
bright, clear, unconcerned. I need
your recipes for gravy, pie crust,

canned green beans. I’m sending you
the buttons I can’t sew back on.
Please put them in the jar beside your bed.

In your next letter, please send seeds
and feathers, a piece of bone or china
you plowed up last spring. Please

promise I’m missing the right things.

by Carrie Shipers from Cause for Concern

It reminded me of my grandmothers, their pies, homemade noodles, poppyseed rolls, and their meals that usually included gravy, of growing up in the Midwest, of bitter cold but beautifully harsh and barren winters, of walking up and down miles of corn fields when I worked as a detassler as a teenager, of my mother’s passion for good cornbread (and how she liked hers cold, broken up and in a bowl with milk), of the thriving farms that used to border my hometown of Madison, WI but now lie quiet and useless beneath seas of condominiums and planned communities. I think it’s beautiful.

A few links from around the web I hope you’ll enjoy.

How to overcome worry and be a friendlier person.

Grammy fashion.

Don’t you love Uptown Funk?

Best TV shows on Netflix.

Alive! 55+ the Musical looks fantastic.

The magical Julianne Moore on aging, growing up and acting.

A political, artistic, economic analysis of the stripper movie, Magic Mike XXL.

Planning tips for your garden this spring.

This old Chris Rock interview make me eager to see him host Sunday’s Oscars!

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