Yes, it’s April 1, which means it’s April Fool’s Day. Boring! One day to play jokes on each other? No thanks. I’m more interested in the fact that this marks day 1 of National Poetry Month. (Only fools don’t like poetry. 😉 )
“National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and, of course, poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives every April.”
If you want more information on National Poetry Month, including their 30 ways to celebrate, check it out here. (My favorite – chalk a poem on a sidewalk!) There is even a poster you can order, designed by award-winning author and illustrator Maira Kalman.
#2 on the list is “Read a poem a day.” Let me help you out with your National Poetry Month celebrations by providing a great poem right on this blog by one of my favorite young poets, Emma Flood. It evokes a sense of nostalgia, childhood simplicity, the beauty of nature and a feeling of home.
This poem seems fitting as the cherry blossoms begin to coat the ground like snow thanks to an early Spring here in Northern Virginia and summer starts to creep in. It’s a very mature poem from a young lady who is only just turned 18!
Heart of Mine
by Emma Flood
Sometimes I look back on my childhood
With hands covered in peach juice,
In sticky Popsicle remnants
And hot July mornings;
How breezes moved through treetops,
Just far enough away
That the heat never broke,
But we knew it would
Here’s this slow sweetness,
Thick and deep,
That only comes with Virginia.
It moves through your veins,
Like how a small child told me her grandmother would describe my voice as
“molasses sildin’ off a spoon”.
Everything here is warm,
How we could lay in bed all day,
Cherry blossoms tucked into window panes
And one cotton crisp sheet tangled around our legs.
Where everything sounded like Holocene,
Smelt like the hollows of your grandfathers old guitar
Oh how those hot July mornings always brought me to my knees.
Nostalgia, you cruel, fickle lover,
How you choke my throat, how you press my ribs
With these magical, perfect days.
How you make every day seem
The perfect day.
I long for those dawns,
With sheets swathed in cotton sunlight,
Corners lit by gas lamps outside,
A house smelling purely of cinnamon
And Chanel number five.
Oh nostalgia, are you not cruel?
Do you not hug my spine out of shape,
So I am always facing backwards?
Everything about that town was dizzy,
The heat makes people crazy.
Summer held infinite days, chlorine skin and green hair,
Ruby red roses to match little girls’ nails,
Lips attached to snow cones and salt water.
He wanted to love you like Lake Anna,
Wanted to climb inside your heart,
Take you to the fair to watch the lights when the sun set down on daisy fields.
You rode on the tilt-a-whirl
And couldn’t remember which way was up, anymore.
The heat makes people crazy.
The heat made me crazy,
But we aren’t talking about that now.
We lived in Rapture,
How tires took a moment to un-stick from pavement,
Back rooms of libraries cooler
Than sycamore trees
Where we’d eat peanut butter sandwiches and bottle up fireflies
So our mamas would let us stay out longer,
Something glowing inside those wood rooms
Smelling like campfires and something warm,
Something you know you want to feel everyday
For the rest of your life.
We loved like honeysuckle,
Pulled apart for a drop of anything at all.
Winter froze this town over,
Every edge was a sharp one,
The ground too hard to lay on,
The city too close to hear the way
Wolves would howl.
Frost etchings on roses creeping up the trellis,
Crickets slept under the earth,
Our hands shaking, aching
Just for something warm.
Everything moves slower here,
People wake up,
Wiping dew off eyelashes
Un-kinking their knees with moonshine,
We all grew up,
Years measured in solstices,
Loosening up joints
Half baked cookies under open skies.
Drinking in pale, open faced flames
Eyes full of meteors, pockets full of spare change.
To breathe that July heat again,
With an implication resting on something
Oh nostalgia, Oh heat,
God help me!
I’ll always crawl back to you.