Poetry Challenge

National Poetry Month is a celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets.  It is celebrated month-long each April since it’s inception in 1996.  According to the academy, “April seemed the best time within the year to turn attention toward the art of poetry” (poets.org), so I have taken up the challenge of playing around with it.  Now poetry is not my cup of tea, but since I’ve taken on several challenges in my life lately, what’s one more?  I cranked a couple of poems out one day this week.  The first was while enjoying a bagged lunch in the park, the second at my daughter’s baseball scrimmage in the early evening.  The focus is on the sounds I heard. Both are untitled, but you can suggest ones in your comments.

(Untitled 1)

The sturdy park bench is silent amid the jazz.
Nature meets machinery.
The April breeze whispers in my ear that faces east.
A residual oak leaf skips to the west.
Recreation department truck, hauling planting project, bangs across the uneven terrain,
Headed towards from whence the leaf came.
Sound now traveling behind me.
Dog tags.
Running shoes with a lace that’s too long.
Are the birds singing to the bass of the car stereo
Or the jogger’s mp3 player?
Neither – It’s a melody all their own.
Wings add to their perfect song.
Motorcycle cuts through the church chimes.
Squeaky timing belt creeps by.
Stereo owner switches to slow R&B.
Breeze becomes wind.
Willow tress become hula dancers.
Child’s pin wheel picks up speed.
High school marching band rehearses.
(Thought they put their sticks down months ago.)
Alarm in my head breaks me from the symphony.
Car keys jangle in my hand.
Brisk return walk to van.
Thunderous engine drowns out vernal auditory impressions.

(Untitled 2)

Athletes chatter.
Parents coax.
Grandparents yawn.
Allergy sufferers sniffle and sneeze.
Ball hits mitt.
Bat cuts through air.
Ball hits mitt.
Bat cuts through air.
Ball hits mitt.
Ball meets aluminum.
Lawn chairs creak.
Cleats move through dirt.
Ball lands on uncut grass.
Spectators cheer.
Coaches instruct:
“Stop the overthrow!”
Ump makes the call.
Bench sitters kick stones,
Gulp Gatorade,
Crush plastic bottles.
Noise from the bleaches.
America’s Favorite Pastime raises its voice.

Your assignment: Decide on a poetry activity and tell me about it. Allow me to suggest bringing a poem to your place of worship. Attempt to put words to your deep spiritual convictions, or do a poetic reading of some exquisite verse written by a beloved poet. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “The human voice is the organ of the soul.” There is more than enough ungodly written material in this world. Let’s use wholesome poetic language more frequently.  Let’s commit to transmitting messages that affirm and bring blessings (not curses) to others. Starting right now, write, memorize and recite pleasing sentiments. Post them on Facebook, write them on sidewalks, send them in letters, and know that they will come back to you. Happy writing, everyone!

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