Reading & Writing a Life

Carla Pineda's blog

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The Gift of Poetry

IMG_3018It’s April. April is National Poetry Month and that has me to thinking about poetry and poetry books I’ve been given as gifts and what a gift poetry is.  I believe that a book of poetry is always an appropriate gift, to be opened and re-opened over time and situation, something new being revealed or perhaps there is comfort in the familiar cadence the words evoke, a comfort forgotten.

Often I forget how much I love poetry and that comfort, the astonishment, and, yes, even the questions it elicits from deep recesses of the mind and heart.  There is something in the rhythmic flow of poetry that settles a runaway mind or brings a smile to the lips.  Or, a tear to the eye.

Read poetry this month, give a poem or a book of poetry as a gift.  Read it out loud to yourself, to a child, or to a friend.  Listen to someone recite their poetry, or read a long loved verse from Rumi or Mary Oliver (or your favorite poet).  Discover a new poet and get to know them.  It is always a good thing!


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Standing at the Page

IMG_2895While reading Mary Oliver I often tend to go into “pondering” mode.  So many of her lines, so rich and juicy, jump out and suspend my pen above the page.

“I Happened to be Standing” is a poem that took me to that place.

Pen in the air, what is it that pulls my pen to the blank page?  What is it that pulls it down to record my grocery list or sketch out random thoughts, catch them in midair and watch them appear like magic on the page?

Pen in the air, diving onto the page, coming up from inside the fibers of the page, or maybe from the fibers of memory, thoughts, questions, or the grocery list that become one with the pen and paper.

“I am the pen writing the page” is a line I recorded in an earlier journal.  Here, in this place, there is no division between me and the pen, the pen just an extension of my fingers, blood to ink, tracing my thoughts onto the blank page.

Standing…Posed…Ready…Attentive…Cat-like focus…Watching my surroundings…Ready to pounce on the page.  Step back…Wait…

I am patient and tuned for a sound that vibrates my pen.

Another Mary Oliver line, “the real poem” draws questions.

Is the “real poem” what gets written down or is it the “standing still with pen in air” waiting? listening?

Perhaps it is both as the written poem is just the finished marker on the journey.  Is there such a word as “poeming”, the verb form of poem?  All of it, the action of writing the poem is as important as the finished poem on the page.