By Nadja Maril
April is the month for poetry, and in the part of the United States where I live, I’m fortunate to have a hiking trail where years ago small signs were posted with quotes from poetry. What a delight, to only hear the sounds of my shoes crunching into the dirt and the twitter of birds and insects, blue sky overhead, surrounded by green. I pause and read the poem painted on a wooden sign. If I am with a friend, I read it to them aloud. If I am alone, I still read it out loud to myself, because poetry is meant to be heard.
National Poetry Month was established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. According to the Academy, it is the largest literary celebration in the world. Listening to a poet read their own work is a treat. Click on the previous link to see and hear Joy Harjo read one of her exquisite poems.
One of the earliest poets I was introduced to in school was William Shakespeare. Today, due to the evolution of the English language, his works are not as frequently read. Some of the words and phrasing may seem “odd” to your modern ear, but listen to the phrasing and the selection of vowel sounds and consonants. Read him aloud and his work may start to grow on you.
Discovering new poets and rediscovering forgotten favorites, is part of the fun of National Poetry Month.
Writer and Artist Morgan Golladay, a founding member of the Old Scratch Poetry and Short Form Collective, created this beautiful piece of artwork featuring a flower found in many spring gardens, Impatiens.
Sonnet 98: From You Have I Been Absent in the Spring
BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight
Drawn after you, – you pattern of all those.
Yet seem’d it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.
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