Thursday, January 12, 2012

Poems Can Bring Comfort

I'm participating in the twenty-one day comment challenge at Mother Reader.  It's been terrific to meet new people! Check it out here.

Poetry Friday today is hosted by Tara at A Teaching Life – Enjoy all the wonderful words!

In addition to enjoying Poetry Friday for the recent months, I have this year chosen a One Little Word, COMFORT, for the year.  It is hosted by Ali Edwards of the Memory Keeping Website.  In this process, we are given monthly challenges, like at this beginning time, to define the word, find an appropriate quote, and so on.  I love poetry, and feel it holds a positive place in the lives of men and women, and since I’m a teacher, for children, too.  So in addition to directions for a cover page, I’ve decided to begin collecting poems that offer comfort.  I don’t mean exactly those one might send to someone with great loss or need, but those that when you read them, you sigh and say ‘this is just great’, and then you read again.  Sometimes comfort means tea and sympathy, and sometimes it means looking outside at a snowstorm from inside a warm house, but many times for me it is a poem, or a line, or a particular rhythm and rhyme that touches my heart.  I copy and carry poems around with me in a little notebook so I can just pull them out and read them again.   Here’s a bit of comfort for you all today:
Sandinista Avioncitos
        Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The Little airplanes of the heart
with their brave little propellers

                     The rest is here.

  The World Is Not A Pleasant Place To Be
             Nikki Giovanni

the world is not a pleasant place
to be without
someone to hold and be held by

           The rest is here.

Domestic Work, 1937
           Natasha Trethewey

All  week she’s cleaned
someone else’s house,
stared down her own face
in the shine of copper-
bottomed pots, polished
wood, toilets she’d pull
the lid to—that look saying

The rest is here.

               Robert Pinsky

Any body can die, evidently.  Few

           The rest is here.

                                 Nancy Mairs

Let me tell you this once
(I will not be able to say it again):
I have lost the meaning of words.

The rest is here.

   The Moon
           Robert Bly

After writing poems all day,
I go off to see the moon in the pines.

The rest is here.


  1. Wow, wow, wow...I moved from one brilliant poem to the next - but Ferlinghetti has my heart:
    I want to :
    "flutter forth again
    into the new-blown light
    live as leaves"
    ...just takes my breath away!

  2. Linda, thanks for sharing these with us! My special favorites were the Ferlinghetti and the Bly.

    I was a little confused by the ending of Naming (is love true when divorced from meaning?) so I will have to read that again.

  3. Hi Linda, my favorite is Robert Bly's The Moon:
    "Far in the woods I sit down against a pine.
    The moon has her porches turned to face the light,
    But the deep part of her house is in the darkness."
    I also love that your theme is about Comfort.
    Reminds me of
    fluffy blankets I can drown in during a cold evening,
    hot cocoa and marshmallows
    and Poetry Fridays. :)

  4. Comfort is a wonderful One Little Word, Linda. I definitely turn to poems for comfort and enjoyed the ones you share here.I also think FOOD, when I think comfort -- probably the southerner in me!

  5. Thank you for the Comfort, Linda! I absolutely love "Domestic Work". I'm going to think about that one all day!

  6. Thank you for sharing those, Linda.

    I really loved Naming. For some reason it make me think of Elizabeth Bishop's One Art even though they seem to have opposing sentiments. I'll be thinking about that today while I fold laundry.

  7. What a beautiful post. Love your choice of "Comfort."

    Enjoyed all of these; each touches the spirit and heart in a special way. The Ferlinghetti was probably my favorite. I posted Pinsky's "ABC" awhile ago for PF, writing out the poem in alphabet pasta. Love that you carry poems around in a little notebook. :)

  8. What a thought- (and heart-) provoking assemblage, Linda! I'm with Annie re. Natasha Trethewey's "Domestic Work," which will follow me around for a while, and I'm with Tabatha trying to figure out the ending of "Naming" - it seemed less than comforting upon first reading to me. Thanks for sharing all these.

  9. I really love that last one by Robert Bly. Thanks for sharing these comfort poems with us!

  10. That is A LOT of comfort in a little space. I'm a big Natasha Tretheway fan, so particularly liked reading "Domestic Work" again. Rereading maybe gives the most comfort.

  11. Hi Linda, I left a reply in your comment earlier about where to link your reviews for the AWB (Award-winning-books) Reading Challenge - Iphigene has already set up a page where you can link your posts for January:

  12. Good morning Linda! Can't believe how faithful you have been about stopping by my blog every time I have posted this month! Thanks so much, it's fun to know someone actually reads the stuff I have written. I love the idea of collecting and writing poems around my one little word. Hmmm. Maybe I will try it. Sandinista Avioncitos made me cry-- it's a poem I need right now! Thanks so much!

  13. What a lovely way to start out a weekend morning. I always find weekends fairly comforting anyway, but now I feel inspired as well. Perhaps I need to start off every day with a little poetry.

  14. What a great collection! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Wonderful poems -- and I loved your definition of comfort. I'm so grateful to have found your blog (through clicking on a link and another link...). I'm in the comment challenge as well, but came to your blog through serendipity. I'll definitely be back.

  16. Oh I look forward to seeing your work on the Ali Edwards's class. I'm too cheap to purchase class.

  17. Linda - 'Comfort' is a wonderful word. I love it as a noun and a verb and you are right about it being so many things. I, too, have been copying poems into my notebook, and I'm trying to decide if I should make a separate poem notebook like you have. Some of these will surely go into my pages too...thank you. a.


Thanks for visiting!