Poem for my Niece

When Does God Love You?

When you were born and all brand new
When there were things you could not yet do
God knew your heart and He loved you when
He wrapped you as a gift in your beautiful skin

When you would cry and knit your brow
When your screams and fits went on for hours
God knew your heart and He loved you when
He filled your lungs with living breath

When you grow tall and your hair grows long
When your feet run miles and your voice sings songs
God will know your heart and He will love you when
You may distrust and not even believe in him

When does God love you Jayla?
Before time began
While the sacrifice was given by the saving lamb
And soon when he comes on glory to this earth once again
He loves you forever, Just as we do,
Our prayer and our hope is that you’ll love him too.



Love of Poetry

Happy National Poetry Month! It has been a week of poetry reading and writing and revelry. I hope you have been enjoying the increased awareness and poetic events in your local communities. Shout outs to Serena at http://savvyverseandwit.com/ for orchestrating this blog tour.

I used to get annoyed with people who said that they don’t like poetry, that poetry doesn’t make sense to them. I wondered how they saw the world and questioned their ability to appreciate beauty. Ok, fine, I still do that sometimes, but most of the time I realize it’s not my concern. There’s beauty in small moments like the fluttering of a baby’s eyelids as he wakes up, or the struggle of a monarch butterfly during its emergence, or the simple recognition of love in another person’s eyes. Poetry highlights these gems of life in language that speaks to my heart. For the love of poetry, enjoy this love sonnet by Pablo Neruda:

XVII (I do not love you…)
Pablo Neruda
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep

An editorial note by Leslie Pockell postulates that the love he speaks of in this poem is what he experienced with his third wife, Matilde Urrutia. “Something passionate and profound, but also easy and natural….” What speaks to me is the reality in a solid reality, words that aren’t inflated, words that are accurate, words that create an exact image. Sure, I’m a sucker for love poems, but I especially like ones that begin “I do not love you…”
What kind of poetry speaks to you? 

The Proud Profession of Poet

The zeitgeist of Monday had been festive and patriotic in my corner of the world, and in keeping with this flavor, I have to mention what I yelled at my brother while watching the Inauguration yesterday morning. I had the phone pressed to my ear, “mmm-ing” at the appropriate times in the conversation when Senator Chuck Schumer announced that Richard Blanco, the inaugural poet would be reading “words he wrote for this occasion.”

Naturally, my response was, “See! Poets are important!”
My statement struck me later as I absorbed the gravity of that truth. This profession, this sometimes hobby, this noble talent of writing–especially of writing poetry–carries with it such history and depth, beyond mere tradition and conventionality, that it inspires reverence. Poets are important, and though our reward is hard to measure, the weight of this moment in American history today made me proud to call myself a poet.
Richard Blanco described the writing process for his piece “One Today” in this interview, and his commitment to stay true to his voice. Each of us has a responsibility to ourselves and our readers to be exactly who we are and express ourselves in our own way. I am encouraged, and I hope you are too. 
Whatever you claim as your art–be it poetry, prose, cosmetology, sculpting, speaking, photography, singing, or dance–no one does it like you.