Yesterday was the official first day of spring (in the Northern hemisphere). Whenever I think of spring I think of flowers, baby birds, blue skies, Easter, and poetry.
I think I think of poetry in the springtime because it was taught in school around that time – to write a poem for Mother’s Day.
Also, today happens to be World Poetry Day.
I’ve recently rekindled a love of poetry. I thought I’d share some of my favorites today.
I’ll admit I’m a sucker for rhyming poetry, but as I have aged (like fine wine) I’ve developed a fondness for non-rhyming poetry with deeper meanings and insights under the surface. Take this poem for instance:
The Red Wheelbarrow
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the whiteWilliam Carlos Williams (1883-1963)
I was introduced to this poem by a very unusual professor several years ago. I bet when you first read it you were like, “Why would anyone like this nonsense?” I had similar thoughts at first too. When you break the poem into pieces and think about each part you realize they each talk about simple things…wheelbarrows are simple, rainwater is simple, and chickens are simple too. The meaning of this poem (as discussed in that college classroom) is that so much depends upon the simple things.
Something about that resonated with me and has stuck with me all these years. When I get wound up and worried about the state of the world, I recall this poem and its meaning and find solace in its simplicity and truth.
Some of My Favorite Books of Poetry
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This one contains some of my favorite poems, and other works from some great poets:
William Shakespeare’s Sonnet XVIII “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day…”
The Lamb by William Blake (a wonderful read around the Easter and Christmas seasons)
The Walrus and The Carpenter by Lewis Carrol
Invictus by William Ernest Henley (one of my absolute favorites)
The Ride of Paul Revere, and Hiawatha’s Departure by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Annabel Lee, and The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
Kipling Poems by Rudyard Kipling
Kipling was the author of the Jungle Book, but he was also a poet. He as a prolific poet who wrote of profound truths in simple language. He was devastated by World War I and some dark and emotionally powerful poems were borne of that anguish in his later years.
My Favorite Kipling piece is “If”, which is included in this book, along with other less well known poems.
Self-Love Poetry by Melody Godfred
This collection of poems is very interesting…It is poetry “for thinkers and feelers”. It is a collection of one hundred pairs of poems with the central theme of self-love. The left page is for left-brain thinkers, and the right side is for right-brain feelers.
I found it interesting that I was drawn to the left side’s poem in one collection and the right side of the next pairing. I suppose that makes sense, I am not fully a feeler or a thinker…I’m a bit of both. I am The Renaissance Texan.
My Challenge to You
I challenge you to read some poetry this season.
Sit outside on a beautiful day (before it gets too hot – if you live in the South), with some lemonade (or your favorite beverage), and read a couple of poems while the birds chirp, the fluffy clouds float by, and the flowers bloom. Take a moment to reflect on that wheelbarrow, that rainwater, and those chickens…on the simple things that make life.