Sunday Scribblings: Passion for Poetry

" The poem is a little myth of man's capacity of making his life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see-it is , rather, a light by which we may see- and what we see it life."

-Robert Penn Warren

The topic for Sunday Scribblings this week is passion. Warren's quote is a reminder how poetry helps us see life. Since I was a small child I have been immersed in poetry. I pictured the vivid images of Robert Lewis Stevenson's words as my mother read from A Child's Garden of Verses. Mrs. T. in sixth grade introduced me to John Greenleaf Whittier and Walt Whitman. Lines of poetry found their way into my journals and empty books as I tried to find solace during quiet moments in college. Poetry is always a part of my classroom instruction. Files on my computer and cabinet are filled with copies of poetry that have stayed with me long after the first read. When the opportunity arises I attend poetry workshops.

Words are carefully chosen in poetry. Sound and rhythm can determine the lasting effect of a poem. Lessons are revealed and themes remain after enjoying a good poem. My passion for poetry inspires all my writing and provides " a light by which I may see-and what I see is life."
Here is one from my files:
What the Living Do
Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days,
some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the
crusty dishes have piled up
waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the
Everyday we spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep headstrong blue,
and the sunlight pours through
the open living room windows because the heat’s on too
high in here, and I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in
the street, the bag breaking,
I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And
yesterday, hurrying along those wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my
coffee down my wrist and sleeve,
I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush:
This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you
called that yearning.
What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and
the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss – we want more
and more and then more of it.
But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of
myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m
gripped by a cherishing so deep
for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat
that I’m speechless:
I am living, I remember you.
-Marie Howe, from her 1998 collection What the Living Do

to read other Sunday Scribblings about passion go here.


  1. Let me be the first to say I share your zeal for poetry. . .sound and rhythm and life lessons. It never ceases to amaze me that a few 'carefully chosen words' can indeed remind us that we are alive.
    Wonderful post & pics.

  2. I'm a word lover too and this was a wonderful post!

    Happy Friday :)

  3. I like the sound and rhythm of poems too.. it's like ebb and flow of a gentle surf.. pleasing to the senses..beautiful.

  4. I like the sound and rhythm of poems too.. it's like ebb and flow of a gentle surf.. pleasing to the senses..beautiful.

  5. What a beautifully moving poem! I've read it over several times, each time relating to it more.

    Most of us are poetry lovers, are we not?

  6. Even though I'm a words-lover, I wasn't exactly a poetry-lover but this prompt inspired me to scribble a poem. Laugh ahead ;)

    It's lovely to read how important poetry is to you :)

  7. Lovely post. I remember A Child's Garden of Verses. As a matter of fact I have a copy somewhere around here.

  8. I have loved poetry ever since Mary Woolum told me about Jack and Jill going up that hill.

  9. Lovely post. I agree with you on words, I adore them! Poetry and tennis ... Mmmm still working on them ;)

  10. I to have a copy of A Childs Garden of verses hanging about somewhere.....

    Love poems.... I cant write them, hell I cant write anything decent, but it dont stop me loving them just the same....


  11. dang... when i happen to catch a glimpse of myself in a window or mirror... all i can think of is who is that dowdy old woman... and why the hell is she following me around????

    very nice write.....

  12. What a marvellous poem. Thank you for the introduction to this poet.

  13. We're on the same page.

  14. Marvelous latched on to every little detail about life and made it sound, well - like a poem!

    I've not heard of Marie Howe, but I think I could get passionate about her poetry. Thanks for introducing us!

  15. I enjoy writing so much, but unfortunatley the writing of peoms is not a strong suit for me. I so much am impressed by your ability.

  16. khambagirl23.2.08

    A very well-written poem, and I love the photos. Unfortunately, lately I haven't taken enough time to read and write poems.

  17. What a marvelous poem. I am in awe of it.

  18. Anonymous24.2.08

    So beautiful. I love to read poetry myself. Not as good at writing it though. I must come back and read more of your thoughts. They are wonderful.

  19. that was an excellent choice. A reminder to me. So easy to be week-ending your life away...when we should be enjoying it all. or relishing it some way.

  20. What a lovely piece. I say that as a non-poetry lover and someone who is still struggling to understand it's appeal. I do try to write one poem a week and I post most of them on my poetry site which links from my name. But I struggle. You clearly don't!

  21. A couple years ago I decided to read a poem to my English classes every day. I make a copy of the poem so they can follow along. I just felt that there wasn't enough poety in their lives.

    I've been amazed at the results! Yes, some kids will never like poetry, but the majority are smitten with it. If I accidentally forget to hand them out, they make me stop and do it.

    I also make them write a poem twice a week during Journal Writing. I give them a prompt, put some instrumental music on, and we write for 15 minutes or so. Afterwards, I read what I wrote, good or bad, then ask if anyone wants to share. I'm always amazed at how many responses I get!

    Left to their own, there is no way they'd immerse themselves in poetry but when it is forced on them, they embrace it!

    Thanks for this Marie Howe poem! I'm going to print it out and use it!

  22. Noni: I was not surprised by your comment because of the poetry you have also shared. I need to write more of my own!
    Jane: thanks for stopping by
    Shelby: I love your ebb and flow reference. Good word choice.
    Granny Smith: welcome back. Yes, that poem moves me each time I read it.
    devil mood: I am glad I inspired you to try it.
    Carver: I love the black and white pictures in my copy of Child's Garden of Verses.
    Myrtle Beach: Mom loved that comment!
    khambagirl: That is all I often have time for : short verse!
    Thanks forgetfulone and patois.
    the tonguetiedmuse: I am glad you have found poetry also.
    You are right Pamela: the poem had a strong message.
    keith: I am glad you are trying it!
    Thanks redness.
    Marmite: I have a feeling if you started poetry the memories would flow into beautiful verses.
    Thanks paisley.
    Thanks for the comment greenishlady
    colleen: I know... and I love reading yours.
    becca: I agree. I may have to buy that volume of poetry.
    cricket's hearth: part came from my teaching.
    Nice to hear from you khamagirl, forgetfulone,patios,tonguetiedmuse.
    Pamela: Many messages emerge from this poem.
    Keith: I am glad you are trying!
    Linda: Yeah! Poetry can often be the genre reaches many of our students that hadn't really taken the tine to explore it.

  23. I love these photos and I too love poetry.Thanks for sharing both.


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