What a Month!
Neighborhood Joy

Now More Than Ever

"Without poetry, we lose our way."
    --- Joy Harjo, Current U.S. Poet Laureate


And now it's April.  

Which means it's National Poetry Month.  Each year, I celebrate poetry here on my blog during the month of April.  Hoping to win over some converts to the beauty and peace and accessibility of poetry.  Sharing something that brings me joy.

This April . . . I'm thinking we really need poetry.
Now more than ever.

So come along with me this month and consider poetry as a way to find solace in dark times.

Let's start with this one.


On How to Pick and Eat Poems
by Phyllis Cole-Dai

Stop whatever it is you're doing.
Come down from the attic.
Grab a bucket or basket and head for light.
That's where the best poems grow, and in the dappled dark.

Go slow.  Watch out for thorns and bears.
When you find a good bush, bow
to it, or take off your shoes.

Pluck. This poem. That poem. Any poem.
It should slip off the stem easy, just a little tickle.
No need to sniff first, judge the color, test the firmness --
you can only know it's ripe if you taste.

So put a poem upon your lips. Chew its pulp.
Let its juice spill over your tongue.
Let your reading of it teach you
what sort of creature you are
and the nature of the ground you walk upon.
Bring your whole life out loud to this one poem.
Eating one poem can save you, if you're hungry enough.

Take companions poem-picking when you can.
Visit wild and lovely and forgotten places, broken
and hidden and walled up spaces.  Reach into brambles,
stain your skin, mash words against your teeth, for love.
And always leave some poems within easy reach for
the next picker, in kinship with the unknown.

If ever you carry away more poems than you need,
go on home to your kitchen, and make good jam.
Don't be in a rush, they're sure to keep.
Some will even taste better with age,
a rich batch of preserves.

Store up the jars and jars of jam. Plenty for friends.
Plenty for the long, howling winter. Plenty for strangers.
Plenty for all the bread in this broken world.


I hope you'll come poem-picking with me this month.
Let's make enough jam for all the bread in the broken world.


Today's poem was published in Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, 2017, Grayson Books, and edited by Phyllis Cole-Dar and Ruby R. Wilson.  Information about the author can be found here.


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Best month of the year! I have been eagerly awaiting this (and doing some prep work!) Did you know about Shelter In Poems? (https://poets.org/shelter-poems) I read about it this morning and I am excited to see what others share.

I will absolutely joining you picking poems this month!


Thank you for the solace (and some happiness) in this poem and others that I'm looking forward to reading this month. Another poem-picker here!


Thank you, Kym!


What a great poem!! Love it. Am going to share with my friend who writes poetry...she is currently working on a combination poem/recipe volume!

Kim Sheehan

Thanks for the poem, and I'm so glad the card came on your special day!


I am Vera's friend who is working on a combination poem/recipe volume. I thoroughly enjoyed your poem! I ate every word and found it truly satisfying.


I'm going to try! :-) Thanks Kym!


That's fabulous and so perfect for right now.


Yes - now more than every we need poetry. I ordered a copy of that book also after I read several poems from it in Ted Kooser's newspaper column on poetry. I find such peace in poetry and many others do to. I think poetry month comes at just the right time this year.


Love this poem! I love the idea of poems as a physical thing that you gather and taste and store, and that visual of feeling the poem against your lips and chewing on it is *chef's kiss*! I'm very much looking forward to much more poetry this month.


aw, I love this ... and I look forward to all the jam! (have you listened to Padraig O'Tuama's podcast? it's real nourishment ... sadly on a break right now, but listening to season one start to finish would be an amazing few hours...)


I've been reading Mary Oliver (of course) and Wendell Berry. This poem reminded me I need to throw in some Billy Collins, too! Thank you, Kym.

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