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It’s Poetry Month: Side Effects May Include A Respite From All That News

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(Kim Greenhalgh/Unsplash)

Editor's note: April is National Poetry Month! We hope you enjoy this pause from our analyses of the pressing issues of the day — a reminder of the power and beauty of verse at a time when we just might need it most.


Talking Trees

The rumors are true --
it’s a fact — they’ve been talking
all along. Behind our backs,
above our heads, beneath
our feet. Now we know
what mushrooms do
with their silly caps
and fetid roots. We’ve heard
the trees whispering
as we walk
on the surface
in our own little world,
oblivious as usual;
where the real action
is way down deep
where we cannot see
what’s going on. Yet
we’ve long known
that they were here
before we arrived
and will survive
after we're gone:
redwood, oak, baobab, pine …
admit it, they’re divine!

His Name is John

(Carlo Navarro/Unsplash)
(Carlo Navarro/Unsplash)

-- for my brother

If you hadn’t named him, you could say
it wasn’t meant to be.
If you’d had another boy,
you could’ve wiped the slate clean --
used the name again.
But you never had another boy.

John is your name too, and sometimes
when someone calls, you hear an echo.
On weak days you listen and succumb to the sadness --
a lake you fall into fully clothed.
You emerge cold to the bone.

At such times you wonder who he might have been,
how he would have sounded when he laughed.
He spent less time out of the womb than in it.

Now no one in the family mentions the baby.
So each year you kneel, light a candle, say his name.

Advertisement Paid for by the Poets for American Expression PAC

(Thought Catalog/Unsplash)
(Thought Catalog/Unsplash)

Does your life lack focus?
Have your batteries run down, a charger nowhere in sight?
Confused about priorities? Enveloped in ennui?
Talk to your doctor about poetry.
It can imbue your life with metaphor
And lift your spirits like a drone.

Side effects include: red-rimmed eyes,
waning interest in television,
the need to prostrate oneself while reading,
vast quantities of red wine,
restless nights,
hot flashes of insight,
puzzling dreams,
flights of whimsy,
unexpected naps,
delinquent daydreams,
odysseys in light rain,
an unhealthy obsession with language,
love of the sound of certain words:
susurrations, palpable, insouciant.
Poetry could be the cure you’re looking for.
Talk to your doctor about poetry.

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Related:

Ed Meek Twitter Cognoscenti contributor
Ed Meek is a poet, writer and the author of "Spy Pond."

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