Poetry Club January 2020

We rang in the new year with an odd combination of poems: themes of New Year advice and hope were contrasted with death.

Happily Cindy started us off with a laugh, as well as chills and smiles, as she read “Litany” by Billy Collins. She had initially been looking for poems with a healing message, but was inadvertently led to her book of Poems by this enchanting man. The group was ready for the lively discussion that followed, including what exactly is a litany, which morphed to the art of meditation and prayer, and the religious/spiritual readiness of the human mind when listening to the tonal messages of litany, as well as bells, gongs, Ohms and more.

Robin followed with a poem no one much cared for. David Whyte‘s “Start Close In,” is a new poem written specifically for 1-1-2020. There were parts enjoyed, but overall the poem was deemed “advice” with too many “don’ts, instead of more of the positive advice.

Kathy read a letter, which we all felt was certainly a poem, that she had heard at the San Jose Opera, which interspersed readings with music during an event to celebrate veterans. “Dear Aunt Frannie” is a poetic and heartfelt image of a flower seen by a young soldier. The story becomes tragic when one discovers the twenty-four year old man who wrote the letter to his aunt died three weeks later. The discussion of war, ethics, and impact that followed brought the group to a somber space.

Susan popped us back up with “The Journey” by Mary Oliver, from a book entitled “Ten Poems to Change Your Life.” This one brought to mind living simply and knowing when to make a big change in life. She followed this with another reading of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.”

Linda was concerned her poem was dark, but we were all aware of the event that had led to her need to write this poem. Tragically, an auto accident occurred in front of her house a few months ago, leading to the death of a young woman. Linda’s poem “The Sport I Love” put a different spin on why people are drawn to drive too fast on curving roads.

Leslie finished us off with three readings from Rumi. She was the only member this month who actually memorized her poem! The readings focused on welcoming change, as well as all things that occur in life.

AND because we had some “downer” discussions, Cindy pulled out her Billy Collins book and read one more poem, so that we could end our day with a smile. “Marginalia” rang a bell for all of us, and those books we have read with underlinings and comments in the margins.