Poet Tree

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or listen here

Welcome to the first full day of Spring and World Poetry day!

I do not know very much about poetry, but I do read it/listen to it on occasion. There is a podcast I use to help quiet my brain and body when they become too resistant to relaxation (a flowery version of anxiety, perhaps? Fuck it – it’s anxiety). I love this one particular podcast so very much because there aren’t any introductions, salutations, explanations, goodbyes, gongs, bells, monk chants, piano, raindrops etc, it is purely some guy reading poems – one poem per post. Sometimes they are very short 20 second reads, sometimes 3-4 minute reads. Because his voice is so sing-songy full of inflection with his Scottish accent, his voice and the chosen works are enough to make the listening inviting. He reads everything from Rumi to Blake to Whitman to Oliver to Sassoon to whomever. There is no bio on the applepodcast page, and I’m not sure what’s on his soundcloud page. It’s glorious – just a voice and poems. No other expectations. Perfect for me. Oh shoot! What podcast? Looking it up now – Poetry Plain and Simple by Brendan Ghazavi-Gill. Dang it. Now we know his name which takes up space. I’ll forget it in an hour. Blessed sieve brain.

Okay. I probably read or listen to some poetry every day. You probably do as well. And yes, I am going to count the Screaming Sonnets Sessions with SonHerisme as reading poetry. Screaming Sonnets Sessions (SSS – but you don’t say each letter, just ssssss like a snake) consist of taking our pocket Shakespeare sonnets outside, choosing one at random, and full-on anger screaming it into the woods like crazy. SHALL I COMPARE THEE TO A SUMMER’S DAY!!!!? THOU ART MORE LOVELY AND TEMPERATE…!!!! Sonnet 18, I believe. Anyway, I encourage you to try it because it is funsies. Be sure to have some hot tea ready because it does scratch the throat a bit. Also, I told SonHerisme that giant fluffy roasted marshmallows also soothe a sore throat, so if you see him, just go with me on this. Please and thank you. I like the vegan marshmallows because they have so much more flavor and a more densely luxurious texture. SonHerisme prefers the super duper ridiculous giant only-in-America marshmallows. You can get a great sparkly woodsy flavor on the outside of your marshmallow if you throw sage into your fire. Sage sparkles up like magic!

Back in the times of engagement and working outside of the home, I used to create a poet-tree every year with branches for kids to hang their favorite poems on, or pluck one off to read and share. The tree was most often made of found sticks stuck into clay in a vase – basic, easy to replenish and using already on-hand resources (as we do in these environments – if you know, you know. If you don’t know, please venmo generously to a local school/library/childcare center asap).

A favorite Lewis Carroll poem often recited (with gestures!) to children, including my own, at anytime:

How doth the little crocodile

Improve his shining tail

And pour the waters

Of the Nile

On every golden scale

How cheerfully he seems to grin

How neatly spread his claws

And welcomes little fishies in

With gently smiling jaws

A favorite by Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)

Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Happy World Poetry Day!

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps I recently began following Harry Baker, poet. He is clever and has a wonderful maths poem. Google him – you’re welcome!

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