Thursday, February 2, 2012

Poetry and Spring

Up in the low 70's here today.
The daffodils are out early, peeking out and holding up their yellow bonnets. I love the winter sunsets that a peek through bare trees. The light is different.Winter light.  Poets capture that light in words and make us see the light. 

I am teaching my students one of the hardest poetry structures: Dactyl Hexameter.  It is the language structure of Homer in The Odyssey. They are writing a poem on a Greek myth or hero plus will wear a mask that they design to wear at  the recitation.

Today we went to a living poet: Wendell Berry to be inspired. They wrote what each stanza meant in their journals. 

How To Be a Poet
by Wendell Berry

(to remind myself)


Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.


Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

The first stanza:  "patience joins time to eternity." My daughter said , " that is like when we go to the beach and it is timeless. We have to find that in where we write and how we write."

The second stanza: " there are no unsacred places..." New thought for some.
"Stay away from screens... 3-D dimensioned life..."
Can they do that? This is not a 3-D movie. Real life.
The third stanza: " out of the prayers..."
One student drew this. I was silent by the beauty of her drawing. 

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