April 12, 2016

Sunday, April 24, 2011

National Poetry Month Issue 23

The spring holidays fall during National Poetry Month this year. They are a time for remembrance.

In my family, we celebrated Passover first with a brief Seder at my parents' home. The focus of the service is remembering the story of our ancestors' exodus from slavery.

Then, we celebrated Easter with my husband's parents. Remembrance again -- religious, yes, but also family traditions in the foods we make. Pizza rustica, spinach bread, a dish like a sweet kugel made with spaghetti, ricotta and raisins. And yes -- this guy:

Why stop and remember ancient stories and family traditions? It reminds us where we came from, who we are at our best and our worst.

Continuing my series of Maryland poets, Linda Joy Burke writes about loving our country enough to take a close look at where we are and where we hope to be.

by Linda Joy Burke

you deserve a love poem
not a sword,
you deserve to be elevated
by luminous utterances
rather than colored coded security alerts,

and even though I know
you don’t really trust
true declarations of love anymore

too many weak repetitions
of the greedy old words
have tainted your receptors

and too much making time
in the precincts of pretense
have stunted your growth,

.....I swear, I can see
what a good love poem
.....could do for you, it could make you over,
not artificially retouched,

I’m talking total transformation here,
transported into a pristine
wilderness for months or more,
with no mirror to check of your progress,

I want to help you open your big heart old again

Read the rest of the poem at Beltway: A Poetry Quarterly.

Writing Exercise:
"Of Thee I Sing III" reminds me of spring cleaning, getting deep in the drawers and cupboards, throwing out what you don't want or need, seeing the ideal through the dirt.

Let's do some spring cleaning in today's writing exercise. Except, don't clean your house. Make it something bigger or less concrete. How would you spring clean your relationship with your mother? What would spring cleaning a difficult childhood memory look like?

Linda Joy is an open-hearted person herself. She was my first poetry buddy when we moved to Maryland. She is a board member of Little Patuxent Review, the journal I edit, and was the first person who invited me to submit work to the publication, many years ago. I'm one of many who are grateful to Linda Joy for helping us make connections to the local literary scene.

You can read more at her blog, The Bird Talks, or follow Linda Joy's poetic observations on Twitter.

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