the traveling poetry class we take into boyertown, pottstown, and phoenixville had another day at the boyertown community park in berks county in mid-june. next time, we'll be finally meeting alongside the schuylkill river in pottstown, an intention we've had for a while, but we were waiting for ideal weather so we can be inspired to write river poems by the moving water.
we went over several bird poems because of an upcoming deadline for a call for submissions of bird poetry through my first book's publisher, foothills publishing based in wheeler, new york. this is something we focused on after i shared a poem which i recently wrote, inspired by a video one of the students created and shared after working through the difficult emotions of processing some of the hard things happening in our world lately.
and we ate a lot of freshly cut fruit, too, as we sat under the shade of tall trees at the park. but sunlight did start to track us down, in time, so we moved to different spots at our picnic table to adjust to this and get a little less of a burn from its beating rays. and thank goodness for the fact that breezes show up here and there as a nice sort of reprieve for the senses.
here is the poem which i brought to class from my own brain, not of an initial kind of subject i normally get into, so it served as new proverbial territory and directness, except for the nature-y parts, which are steady enough in my history of themes.
an ode to what sam traten does when
our country is broken stabs of shards
by jennifer hetrick
when our world is mid-falling
apart with mass shootings
in gay night clubs, when
a young singer is gunned
down while signing autographs
at a table, and a two-year-old
is pulled into a pool of water
by an alligator at waltdisneyworld,
it is important to catalog
the beauty around us, to hit
record and snap scenes of swaying
silver maples, explaining why
they have their name, to talk
about a japanese maple seedling
which floated over from some
neighbor's yard eight years ago
and grew merlot-hued leaves,
several feet of a sturdy little
trunk, to mention that an apricot
tree will need to be pruned but
not just yet in this almost-summer
season, to note no longer spraying
a japanese apple tree anymore, so
that the fruit is mealy but incredibly
sweet per bite. it is important
to catalog the seen, the known,
the felt, as any hope for something
better for one soul after another
is dependent on sharing these
little yet wide-set observations of what
it is to be so alive, so raw, so real,
so open to the forgiveness of humble
wind. these necessities hold us, carry us.