Click the link to see thirty ways to celebrate National Poetry Month. Here’s one way that didn’t make their list: Write a poem. Maybe they left it off because it is so hard to write well, especially anything you want to nail to the wall and call a poem. But poetry will die if ordinary people quit reading it; it will die even sooner if ordinary people quit writing it. I welcome your offering in a comment space.
There are only twenty more days left in National Poetry Month for you to write your poem and it may take you longer than you think, especially if you write a good one. Frankly, I am partial to the ones that sing with rhyme and meter. But Robert Frost made the rest of us look pretty silly with our little rhymers. So, relax and write some free verse to celebrate National Poetry Month.
I Fetch My Morning Paper, April 2019
A sullen, still morning in April.
I remembered mornings from my childhood; they were so different then.
The only sound would have been a small high pitch in the distance – a horn announcing a shift change, but otherwise silent.
Lights went on in the houses down the street and cars backed down narrow drives, taking neighborhood men to refineries.
There, unions stood between the men and their bosses and fought for bigger paychecks.
But there was no one to guard the fragile air they breathed, the crystalline air so clear I could look up in wonder at millions of stars that I could see but could not count.
I pick up my newspaper from the lawn this day, the better part of a century later. The air oppresses like a soured cotton towel soaked in morning’s fog; the gray day wraps around my head.
It muffles a vulgar diesel resonance from a pickup truck a block away before it muscles around the corner toward my darkened street and past to join the roaring highway just beyond some useless concrete sound baffles covered in vines, costumed to make it all seem friendly enough for life.
Less startled than saddened, I am taken over by the thought of children learning anew how to survive.
And the new ways are not kind.
I wonder if they grieve their loss since they never will know the kinder world I knew. Will they accept the hot, choking atmosphere, and the loss of starry nights as though they implied no sin?
Will they speak of grandparents with love?
Or will they simply remember them as sad characters in history, complicit in crimes against humanity?
Crimes lacking only the explicit hatred and brutal immediacy, yet otherwise as deadly as those of Nazis?
Weeping inwardly, I go inside to have morning coffee.
And read the news of the day.