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.
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)