Thursday, April 08, 2021

National Poetry Month, Spring, Family

Iliana reminded me that this is National Poetry Month.  Naomi Shihab Nye is one of my favorite poets, and one of my favorite poems is Valentine for Ernest Mann, but I recently read this lovely poem by Nye on Brain Pickings :

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

The above poem seems so appropriate given all that has gone on this year.

Incoming Mail

This wonderful fabric postcard from Freezeframe Annie!


 Postcards to :
Amelia & Chris 
Thanking them for a lovely Easter lunch and visit

To Erin
Who spent Easter with Max and Mila
camping by a frozen lake in Colorado

To Max

To Mila

To Bryce Eleanor
Lunch with Amelia, Chris, and Bryce Eleanor

Easter Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day with lots of good food and great company.  Everyone fully vaccinated, so no masks or social distancing.  First time in a year!  

What's going on with you?  How is your Spring developing?  


  1. Ahoy Matey! Your mail is always such fun to see. Your drawings are so creative and imaginative. Your grandchildren will remember these days of mail from you as a treasured memory. One that few others will ever share or be able to comprehend. I hope they each have a treasure box to keep their treasured mail in.

    1. I adore the pirate ship, Annie! Thanks so much for sending me one of your quilted postcards! I have enjoyed drawing the postcards lately. It keeps me busy when I can't get outside to work in the garden. :)

  2. Lovely poem, Jenclair! Thanks for sharing it with us. I'll have to look for more by Naomi Shihab Nye. I've been focusing on Mary Oliver's poetry this month and have three of her books going at different times of the day.

    Hooray for being fully vaccinated! My husband and I got our second jab this afternoon, so we should be good to go in two more weeks. Whoohoo! I'm glad you were able to have a nice mask-free gathering. I can't wait!

    1. :) Mary Oliver is so quotable! Her lines stay with you, don't they? Congratulations for being fully vaccinated, Les! We were so pleased to enjoy time with Amelia, Chris, and Bryce Eleanor after a so long. It was a celebration. :)

  3. Hi Jen Thank you for the lovely envelope and letter. I would be happy to send you photos of my "card books". Can we exchange an email?


    1. Great, I'd love to see your project!

    2. Hi Jen
      photos & quick "how to" sent via emails

    3. Thanks, Hester! Clever and handy project--enjoyed the pics!

  4. How wonderful that you were able to spend the day together finally! Now that is a celebration. I hope I'll be able to do so one of these days. Your drawings are just delightful! And, thank you for sharing that poem! Really like it.

    1. It was a so much fun to celebrate in a "normal" manner! I'm delighted to have finally been able to go maskless and collect as many hugs as I want. I'd forgotten about National Poetry Month until I saw your blog post, and the timing of discovering this poem was too much to resist. :)

  5. Thanks for the reminder! April is a wonderful time for celebrating poetry, though not all poems are flowery, we tend to think that way.
    We are vaccinated but still in the wait time. Let's hope enough people will vaccinate and covid becomes just another seasonal cchallenge, or even better, nothing at all.

    1. :) I love poetry and keep my ancient anthologies on the table by my reading chair. Glad to hear that you will soon be able to feel more comfortable with family, Mary. I scheduled a review of your book for today on A Garden Carried in the Pocket. Thanks for sharing your work with me. :)

  6. What a nice post! I always love seeing your artwork. I'm so glad you got to have a real get-together!!!!!

    1. Thanks, Debra! We are still wearing masks when we go out, but ditching the masks for a family celebration was great. The only downside was missing Erin, Mila, and Max, but maybe soon we will be able to take a trip to Colorado. :)

  7. The whole gift of poetry is that it says what needs to be said with a shimmering translucence that somehow reveals its truth more truly. And my, that poem hits the mark, doesn't it!

    1. Exactly. A good poem has a truth to it and is, indeed, translucent! "Tell all the truth/but tell it slant" as Emily would say.

  8. Cool mail, both coming and going! BE is growing up! I see Fee's hair is getting long--has he worn it that way for awhile? Ricky's is now in a pony tail, which is kind of hard for me to get used to, although Ricky has changed his hair styles so many times since I've known him. Poem is appropriate for this day and time. I'm not there yet, that I know. Hope the second surgery recovery goes smoothly.

    1. BE is thirteen going on thirty as the saying goes! She's in that transitional phase now, still a kid, but moving into adolescence, and a mixture of both. Fee's hair is long--strange I have not even noticed that. So many slow, gradual changes during this strange year that we barely notice. I imagine that the first time Ricky went to a pony tail, you did find it a surprise. Women may have had a harder time adjusting to the lack of professional cut/style, but men have had to find solutions, too.


Good to hear from you!