A Dog’s Sigh
I could read a dog’s mind
when it sighs so heavy.
Is it bored
wishing that it
could be outside
and playing tag
with dog friends?
Perhaps the sigh
a sign that
it just wants
best of all . .
an inner peace
that it belongs
to this family
I didn’t always love poetry.
Honestly, I can’t say that like even described my feelings toward it through most of my years as a student. Between the analyzing, confusion, rhyming, and assignments to produce haikus, sonnets, quatrains and filling in templates for acrostic poems , what’s not to like, right?
Ugh. . .
Poetry used to bring fear to my already befuddled mind. Fear that I would not know what in the heck a poem was supposed to mean, fear that I was alone in this fear of being the only idiot that would not understand what the secret messages that poets were trying to tell us.
By the way, did you know there actually is a word that defines the fear of poetry? It’s called metrophobia.
I do not make this stuff up.
A shift occurred in my late thirties when I was trained as a Literacy Collaborative coach at Ohio State University. The introduction to Georgia Heard, Ralph Fletcher, Mary Oliver and Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge changed my entire vision of what poetry truthfully was. I learned that a poem can speak to me in whatever way I want it to. We savored a line, or even a word and asked ourselves, “What does that say to you?” or “How did they do that?” I learned that before anything, a poem has to tug at your heart. You have to feel it. I learned that a poem does not necessarily harbor secrets that only the sophisticated- intellectual-well-educated-literary-geniuses can decode.
And, I also discovered, first hand, that when that first poem shakes you to your core, you are hooked on poetry for life.
It was also revealed to me that anyone could write poetry and it certainly did not need to follow a structure, especially a rhyming one. Oh, how I despised having to restrict my words to a poetry form when those thoughts just didn’t want to fit into any poetry form.
I came to adore free verse and in writing simply. No polysyllabic fluffery for me. If I desired to say the cat slept. That’s what I’ll said.
I found freedom in free verse.
Although poetry lives in my heart and in my classroom all year round, April is a paramount month for celebrating poetry more than any other month of the year. April stirs my poetry senses, new notebooks need to be purchased for filling with poems, fancy new pens show up, and most certainly. . . a few new poetry books find their way to my shelves.
This month, coming down from the rush of the 2016 Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers, I feel a tug to keep blogging onward. What better than to take up a new challenge to write about anything poetry.
I may just a write a simple poem, like one about my dog, Sandy, and her heavy sighs. Or, perhaps I’ll share an attempted lesson with my third graders. I certainly will brag about the inspirational poetry teachers who have walked before me. Or, I could just take pictures of the poetry in our lives.
Whatever it will be, I’m on poetry alert.
Prepare to be swaddled in words of poetry this month.