Monday, April 4, 2011

April is National Poetry Month!

When it comes to writing, poetry has always been my first love. In honor of National Poetry Month, I thought I'd share some of my favorite poets and poems with you, including a few of my own.

Several years ago, I read an article about "Taking Flight" in which the phrase "rare bird" was mentioned. It reminded me of an English professor I had in college. No matter how badly we stumbled when reading aloud, or how poorly we answered his questions, he always found a way to encourage us and make us feel we had potential. "Jonesy" flew the bonds of earth many years ago, but through this poem, I can see him once again flitting about our classroom, trying to teach a young nest full of English majors how to fly. I wrote this poem in March, 2005, based on an incident from a class in the late 1960s. The name "Miss White" is fictitious.

Geoffrey Chaucer was a 14th century poet and author, and is referred to as the Father of English Literature. He is perhaps best known for The Canterbury Tales, a collection of short stories told by travelers to entertain one another while on their journey.

              "A Rare Bird"

File:Geoffrey Chaucer (17th century).jpg
Anon. 17th c.  portrait G. Chaucer
(Wikipedia public domain)
A rare bird, lanky, toothless, gaunt,
he perched before his callow clutch,
and from one scrawny, gray-tipped
dangled Chaucer, like a juicy worm,
before our unfledged eyes and ears.

"How old is Absalom...Miss White?"
I've never been much good at this
so to his, "Come on, take a guess,"
"From thirty-five to sixty-eight?"
I lamely peep, embarrassed, now.

Canadian Geese
photo by Donna B. Russell
He cocks his head, all smiles, and coos,
"Can you narrow that a little? No?"
He bobs across the room and nods.
Another nestling quickly chirps
a more precise, correct response.

Then turning, he commends us both,
and I am left perplexed, that he
would remove the sting of my distress.
But wisdom knows that confidence
is the lift on which young wings will soar.

                   * * *

How about you? Did you have a special teacher or professor who made an impact on your life? Please share your comments.