Drive-By Update

Fridays are for Poetry

"We’re only here for a short while. And I think it’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention."
                                                                    ---Mark Strand


One of the things I like most about poetry is its ability to translate that simple paying attention to daily life . . . into language.  For me, poetry is really is about this translation.  
Poetry makes the personal . . . universal.  
The mundane . . . meaningful.  
The traumatic . . . divine.

I have always loved the poetry of Nikki Giovanni.  She writes of the most elemental human longings and concerns . . . and makes them fresh, new, relatable.  For all of us.  She is a master of translation.  

Here is one of my favorites.

by Nikki Giovanni

if i can’t do
what i want to do
then my job is to not
do what i don’t want
to do

it’s not the same thing
but it’s the best i can

if i can’t have
what i want … then
my job is to want
what i’ve got
and be satisfied
that at least there
is something more to want

since i can’t go
where i need
to go … then i must … go
where the signs point
through always understanding
parallel movement
isn’t lateral

when i can’t express
what i really feel
i practice feeling
what i can express
and none of it is equal

i know
but that’s why mankind
alone among the animals
learns to cry


Click here to read more about Nikki Giovanni and sample her poetry.
Remember, April is National Poetry Month.  Join me here each Friday in April for more poetry.


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Oh my I like this! I also like "lucky accident" on the quote at the top.


"through always understanding
parallel movement
isn’t lateral"

This is so true! Thank you for sharing! XO


I had tickets to see Nikki Giovanni a few months ago but gave them to a friend so she could take her students. I heard she was wonderful.

kim in oregon

Amazing poem. Thank you for sharing it.


Thank-you Kym...I really enjoyed that! xo


Thank you! Happy Weekend, Kym.


What an awesome poem. Thanks for sharing, Kym.


That is a wonderful poem, and I'm also a big fan of the Mark Strand quote. Thanks for sharing!


those last three lines ... thank you!!


Thank you. This post, and poem, gave me life.


The poem offers a great way to turn around what we want into what we have. I love it.

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