April is National Poetry Month, so in honor of such, I took a pedal around to the three spots where you can consistently find public poetry in our neighborhood.
Abou Ben AdhemAbou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,And saw, within the moonlight in his room,Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,An angel writing in a book of gold:—Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,And to the presence in the room he said,“What writest thou?”—The vision raised its head,And with a look made of all sweet accord,Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”The angel wrote, and vanished. The next nightIt came again with a great wakening light,And showed the names whom love of God had blest,And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.
Don’t just stand there with your hair turning gray.
Soon enough the seas will sink your little island,
So while there is still the illusion of time,
Set out for some other shore.
No sense packing a bag.
You won’t be able to lift it into your boat.
So give away all of your collections.
Take only new seeds and an old stick.
Send out some prayers on the wind before you sail.
Don’t be afraid,
Someone knows you are coming.
An extra fish has been salted.
Indeed, our little islands will soon enough sink, in more ways than one, I’m afraid.
Finally, Open Books has this Lucie Brock-Broidogem scrolling out of the old Underwood in their window:
You were a seed still in Darwin’s left breast pocket,
Not imagined yet, almost invisible in the felt
There just above his heart,
The bluey nubbins sleeping in a child’s
Things vanish in the morning when we wake
Like loam that only grows on buttermilk, at night.
In April, a tiny feline on the ledges of a billow cloud,
Or like the finch let loose in the mossery, you were ended
Unexpectedly; what is only left of you is only me.
I don’t know how I feel about “bluey nubbins”, but I do like the sound of “loam that only grows on buttermilk”, whatever it means.
Open Books, of course, is a poetry emporium, with a non-stop stream of poetry readings and events. This Sunday evening (April 22nd), for example, from 5:00 – 6:30 pm, you can stop in for “Poetry y traducción: A Bilingual Reading with Eugenia Toledo, Claudia Castro Luna & Francisco Aragón: Seattle-based poets Eugenia Toledo and Claudia Castro Luna will be joined by visiting poet Francisco Aragón to read their poetry. A colloquium on the role of Spanish and translation in their work will follow, moderated by poet and translator Carolyne Wright.”