April is National Poetry Month. I have been observing it for about five years now. My Advanced Writing classes have observed it with me.

One of my reading goals for 2021 was to read more poetry. Thanks to Dewey’s 24 Hr. Readathon and a gift book from a friend, I have been able to do just that. One of the books I finished during Dewey’s last Saturday was Margaret Atwood’s Dearly. I have always had great respect for Atwood as a novelist, but now I am looking at her as a poet. (Later I intend to read her essays and short stories because the book I “look into” this versatile author, the more impressed I am.)

Her latest poetry collection

This collection is divided into five sections, each section untitled, but definitely grouped. Since many of her poems are lengthy and do not lend themselves to typing them, you will have to take my word that they are striking. Some are dark, something Atwood never shies away from, and some are about environmental concerns. This is not a collection to be taken lightly, but pondered upon and throughly digested, seeking the aftertaste of each poem. Often in the days between finishing the poems and today, a line, a phrase would surface in my mind, and I would wonder…and wonder.


National Poetry Month in April. Poster with handwritten lettering. Poetry Festival in the United States and Canada. Literary events and celebration. Greeting card, invitation, poster, banner or background. Vector

One thing I emphasize in my Advanced Writing classes is word choice, choosing the exact word to “get the job done’/convey the message one wants to send. Often the word choice (and the phrasing of those words) lends a poetic tone/sense to what the writer puts on paper.

One of my favorite illustrations of this concept is the following poem by David McCord, “Take Sky.”

“Take Sky”

“Now think of words. Take sky

And ask yourself just why–

Like sun, moon, star, and cloud–

It sounds so well out loud,

And pleases so the sight

When printed on black and white.

Take syllable and thimble:

The sound of them is nimble.

Take balsam, fir, and pine:

Your woodland smell and mine.

Take kindle, blaze, and flicker–

What lights the hearth fire quicker?

Take bucket, spring, and dip

Cold water to your lip.

Three words we fear but form:

Gale, twister, thunderstorm:

Others that simply shake

Are tremor, tremble, quake.

But granite, stone, and rock:

Too solid, they, to shock.

Put honey, bee, flower

With sunny, shade, and flower;

Put wild with bird and wing

Put bird with song and sing.

Aren’t paddle, trail, and camp

The cabin and the lamp?

Now look at words of rest–

Sleep, quiet, calm, and blest;

At words we learn in youth–

Grace, skill, ambitions, truth;

At words of lifelong need–

Faith, courage, strength, and deed;

Deep-rooted words that say

Love, hope, dream, yearn, and pray;

Light-hearted words–girl, boy,

Live, laugh, play, share, enjoy;

October, April, June–

Come late and gone too soon.

Remember, words are life;

Child, husband, mother, wife;

Remember, and I’m done:

Words taken one by one.

Are poems as they stand–

Shore, beacon, harbor, land;

Brook, river, mountain, vale,

Cow, rabbit, otter, quail;

Oak, apple, water, snow,

Wind, weather, flood and floe.

Like light across the lawn

Are morning, sea, and dawn;

Words of the green earth growing–

Seed, soil, and farmer sowing.

Like wind upon the mouth

Sad, summer, rain, and south.

Amen. Put not asunder

Man’s first word: wonder…wonder…

(Copyright@1962 by David McCord)



I have enjoyed reading poetry each day this month, finding new poems and revisiting old, beloved ones.
A lovely collection of poems and drawings.

Today’s poems are by Asmita Rajiv and are found in her collection, Unsaid.

“Being Perfect”

“I am not trying to be perfect. I gave that up a long time back. But what I am trying to be good at, is to let my uniqueness shine trough.

Now that’s an art worth perfecting.”


“The more we accept each fallen piece, the less broken we are.”

(both by Asmita Rajiv)


Coffee in the morning is what gets me started, and the following is a poem that expresses this early-morning pick me-up-and-get-me-started ritual.


Sometimes fog

surrounds morning

in a white room;

Then the silence

at sunlight seeps

into balsam shadows.

Steam is silence too,

slipping over the brim

of bone china

in the coffee-quiet

of morning.”


(Jeffrey Johannes)

After this coffee meditation from Coffee Poems, edited by Lorraine Healy, reflections on life with coffee, I am ready to start my day.