Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Poetry Month

April is a good month for poetry. The rhythm in a poem lulls a reader to peace one moment and alerts her to take notice at another. Here we are in April when the rhythm of the season is easily noticed. The weekend snow melts under Monday's sun. The process of freezing and thawing breaks down the hard covering on wild seeds, allowing them to germinate. I am trying to remember that as I get impatient for warmer days.

Poetry originated in the oral tradition before literacy. Early poems and ballads were sung or chanted as a way to remember history, story, and law. They were also offered as prayer and hymn. No wonder rhythm is essential to a poem. Iambic pentameter, a common metrical form in poetry, matches the rhythm of breath. It was probably the longest line an early poet could recite without pausing for breath. I don't think that is coincidence.

I have been rereading poems by William Stafford. He was born in Hutchinson, Kansas and lived in the northwest US much of his adult life. During World War Two, he was a conscientious objector and worked in the civilian public service camps. Stafford is a plain spoken poet with a beautiful sometimes wry sense of metaphor. I hope you read and find a new favorite poem this month.

As far as knitting, yesterday was a day of unraveling. The scrap shawl is back on the needles and I am reknitting the lace border with a small ball of yarn that looks like ramen noodles. The baby sweater is blocking. I am looking for some new projects with an easy knitting rhythm. Linking to Kat the Unravelers this week.

Today I offer one of my poems. I wrote this several years ago as part of a group of poems about containers.

Ordinary Basket

Outside my window, mama robin builds  
a nest of grass and twigs. Working like
ancients, she weaves plant fibers 
into a basket to shelter her babes.

Soon offspring are squawking for food. Days
later she pushes them out, like all women who fill
and empty baskets with ratty socks, ripe apples,
stray buttons, or fresh bread for grieving friends.

Baskets, carefully crafted, carried over arms, mudded
into trees, balanced on heads, or slung across shoulders.
Baskets, heavy and light, older than cloth,
weaving a record of a woman’s ordinary day.

(Copyright, 2015 Jane A. Wolfe)


  1. Grieving friends....what alovely poem!!! You are an awesome poet. I also like your shawl and have to check out the pattern. Cause I dont know what's up next

  2. Oh, Jane, you've written about so much that is good, gentle, and valuable here. I love the colors in your shawl, that it goes with your book cover, that you've introduced me to a new poet, and most of all, that you've shared your own beautiful poem. I am going to think of my laundry basket (well-used by my grandmother and now me) in a new way. Thank you!

  3. What a beautiful poem, Jane. Thank you so much for sharing it. I love the imagery of the basket . . . and the craft of creating it ("working like ancient").
    Thank you!

  4. What a beautiful poem indeed! And gorgeous knitting. (Oh, and we have a robin who is just determined to build a nest in our porch light, despite the crinkly bag!)

  5. Oh I love, love your poem! So many wonderful images conjured up as I read and one memory, especially, that I will share in time on my blog about me and baskets!
    to be continued...

  6. What a beautiful poem... !
    Thank you.

  7. you are so so so talented! I'm inspired :) I love when I go to blogs and I'm introduced to a poet whom I've never heard of before. Thank you:) Let's hope spring is here for good and we can put the winter coats away soon.