A Perfect Day for Imperfect Poetry


I’m still trying, and failing, to adapt to this new climate. Still trying to acclimate to eighty degree temperatures in January. Southern California is so unlike Long Island where I made my home for sixty-seven years. But since I tend to be an optimist I see the value of being able to take a pleasant morning walk in the middle of “winter.”

            This early in the morning the air is cool on my skin and the sunshine is bright and joyful. I’ve become more committed to my daily walks since I got a Fit Bit that tracks my every step and buzzes my wrist when I don’t hit my goals. But what has made my morning walks more enticing and enjoyable is my new interest in audio books. In the past I would walk silently and though I enjoyed the rustle of dry leaves and the songs of finches somehow those walks seemed boring. I would set out to resolve some life issue, or plot issue, and end up thinking mundane thoughts. Now, instead, I listen to inspirational books and poetry read by David Whyte or Mark Nepo. Today it was Mary Oliver reading poems from her collection “On Blackwater Pond.”

            The value is multi-faceted. Mary’s rich voice recites poems about the miracles of nature, the flora and fauna that teach us lessons if we get out of our own heads and pay attention, stop chatting to ourselves and listen to the Mother Nature as she speaks her wisdom. Observe the earth with the care and warm heartedness the way Mary does.

            Her poems are perfectly polished gems. I’ve read that she revises each poem up to fifty times before releasing them to the world where minor poets like me kneel on the sacred ground she writes about with such reverence. I whisper prayers of gratitude to her for her perfect poetic gifts, her meditative descriptions of peonies (“the green fists of the peonies are getting ready to break my heart,”) her picture of swans as gentle boats of white flowers, and a grasshopper with “large and complicated eyes.)

            Me, I write imperfect poems and only make minor changes in words and ideas. I’ve lost the motivation to attempt to get published and prefer to create poems from my heart and leave them in the form which they arrive in my soul. I integrate them into my art and collect these artful poems in journals that one day, when I’m gone, someone will discover and learn who I am. I will share them on my blogs like these poems below. My imperfect poetic gifts to my readers.

in the cellar
of my heart
a secret room—
excavate it
then you will know me


between each eye crease
sleep untold stories
between each laugh line
deep secrets

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