Friday, March 25, 2011

Poetry Friday: Make Believe

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone.

I'm glad to be back after a long hiatus. The end of winter was a busy time in my poetry life. Life in Me like Grass on Fire, the anthology of love poems I edited for Maryland Writers Association, comes out next Friday -- just in time for National Poetry Month.

I've also been selecting work for the Summer 2011 issue of Little Patuxent Review, my first issue as editor.

The issue will include an essay on the importance of make believe in modern thought, by Maryland poet-in-the-schools Vonnie Winslow Crist.

Vonnie is a contributor to Life in Me, and has her own new book out. The Greener Forest is a collection of original myths, faery fantasy, poetry and Vonnie's artwork.

 I'm just starting to read this rich book (appropriate for advanced middler school readers and older). The title poem feels like early spring -- when the first warm weather makes us want to rush outside and put our toes in the grass.



The Greener Forest

by Vonnie Winslow Crist

Leave all iron, red thread, bells,
and four-leafed clovers secured
in your cozy house.
Then, cross the yard and unlock
the gate in the out-of-the-way
corner of the fence.

Walk between its posts
into unruly grasses
who mutter with each stride.
Tug through the brambles and briar
who grip, grasp, attempt to
dissuade you from moving forward.

Next, stroll past gnarled vines
heavy with grapes,
step beyond abandoned apple trees,
crouching low,
their elongated limbs burdened with fruits,
and enter the forest.

It will be greener there,
and smell of pine, moss, wild flowers,
mushrooms, earth, and decay.
From the corner of your eye,
you'll think you spy acorn sprites
swinging on oak branches.
You'll tilt your head,
certain you  hear the voices of dryads
harmonizing with bird songs.

You'll lift your hand,
brush at the spider-web touch
of something finer than an eyelash
against your cheek --
but do not tarry.

Instead, follow the butterfly-filled path
that winds to the banks
of a stream rich with trout and sprites.
But tread carefully --
stray-sods, bogles, goblins, and such
skulk nearby waiting for the careless,
giants sleep below the moss,
and kelpies, eager to drown the unwary,
paddle just below
the water's silvery sheen.

Kneel down, but don't wade in.
Scoop a handful of cool liquid,
take a sip, close your eyes,
and proclaim your belief in Faerie.

At that moment,
should you spot an unusual pebble
or should a feather drift down

or a most colorful leaf scamper by --
grab it, hold it tightly,
and count yourself lucky.

For They have heard you,
and send bright blessings.

Published with permission of the author.

They aren't hearing us here in Maryland. We're expecting snow this weekend -- but that makes me enjoy Vonnie's poem even more.

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading is ringing in spring as our Poetry Friday host. Thanks, Mary Lee!

10 comments:

Mary Lee said...

Thank you for sharing this warm, green walk!

Tabatha said...

Congrats to Vonnie! Looks great!

Vonnie said...

Thanks Laura for featuring my poem. And thanks Tabatha for the congrats.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

How timely--I was just discussing dryads and naiads with my 8-year-old this week, along with the Tooth Fairy. (I'm sad to realize that somehow, although she SHOULD be a faerie, she's only a fairy. How can we save her?)

Vonnie's poem is like a meditation: close eyes, breathe deeply, listen slowly, make believe. (This is why the Tooth Fairy only comes to some pillows, while in other bedrooms, it's just the parents.) Lovely.

Kerry Aradhya said...

Hi, Laura. Thanks for sharing this lovely poem by Vonnie Winslow Crist. I'm with you about wanting spring to arrive. I can't wait to follow a "butterfly-filled path" anywhere, or see "a most colorful leaf scamper by." Please, spring, get here soon!! Congratulations, too, on all of your recent accomplishments. The cover of the anthology is gorgeous!

Author Amok said...

Thanks, all. Vonnie -- I'm enjoying the book. The illustrations are wonderful.

Author Amok said...

Heidi -- what an astute comment. You aim at the heart of Vonnie's poem. This is why I think the Spiderwick series is so wonderful.

Kerry -- great to hear from you! Vonnie's work is so lush, it makes you want to get outside and lose yourself. Thanks for commenting about the anthology cover. We are all (50 contributors) very excited about it!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Yesterday my son was begging me to go for a walk in the woods but I said it was too cold yet. I was wrong!

Amy LV said...

Oh, this poem is so alive! My children will adore it too... A.

Author Amok said...

My copy of the book just came in the mail yesterday. I'm looking forward to reading the whole thing. The illustrations are sweet and springy.