Tuesday, April 7, 2009

National Poetry Month

Love is Like Sounds

Late snow fell this early morning of spring.
At dawn I rose from bed, restless, and looked
Out of my window, to wonder if there the snow
Fell outside your bedroom, and you watching.

I played my game of solitaire. The cards
Came out the same the third time through the deck.
The game was stuck. I threw the cards together,
And watched the snow that could not do but fall.

Love is like sounds, whose last reverberations
Hang on the leaves of strange trees, on mountains
As distant as the curving of the earth,
Where the snow hangs still in the middle of the air.

Donald Hall

Hey, did you know April is National Poetry Month? I usually post
quite a bit of poetry, anyway, but now I have a wonderful excuse to
really lay it on this month! I picked up a lovely book of poetry from
the library last week; White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected
Poems 1946-2006, by Donald Hall.

I love the powerful simplicity of his writing. And as an added surprise,
tucked in the back of the book, was an audio CD of Hall reading
selections from the book, himself! How cool is that? I felt like he was
right here in my easy chair having a cup of tea with me. (Boleslawiec
mug, of course!) I've included a charming video of one of his poetry
readings, below, if you're interested.
Donald Hall, 1928, considered one of the major American poets of
his generation, has published numerous books of poetry. He uses
simple, direct language to evoke surrealistic imagery. Hall was
appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of
Congress, commonly known as the Poet Laureate of the United
States, in 2004, as well numerous awards. In addition to two
Guggenheim Fellowships, he received the Marshall/Nation Award,
the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times
Book Award and the Lily Prize for Poetry.

Many of you had snow today, but just a slow, cold drizzle here.
Thankfully, my daffodils only got a nice shower.


  1. willow, i see your comments on many of my favorite blogs so i thought i'd swing by to say hello. now that i know you're a lover of poems, i'd like to come back if you don't mind. i write a poem or two from time to time,
    they often rhyme,
    misbehave instead of mind,
    and are sometimes lemons,
    sometimes limes.

    (oh please forgive me...)

  2. Oh, isn't he a character! Reminds me of Mark Twain with that little beard. Don't you love coming upon something new and fresh?

    I posted a link especially for you, Willow. Please come over and follow it to something delightful!


  3. Oh, what a fabulous, wispy, other-worldly quality he has about him. I loved the video. I've seen his poems before and I liked his work, but I'd never seen him, so thanks for this. We had 68 degrees yesterday, but tomorrow night we may get a freeze, so we spoke of maybe covering up our lilacs and hydrangeas. Ah, the vagaries of spring.

  4. I liked the last verse very much - it flowed beautifully.

  5. hall's poem is perfect for today....thank you much...

    it has been snowing for a while, but the ground is still so warm that nothing is sticking around - thank goodness! we'll see what happens after the sun goes down and the temperatures plummet (if that they do)....

    happy poetry month! looking forward to more treats from the manor!

  6. Just when you thought you were "up" on poetry, along comes Willow to remind some of us how stupid we are.

    I had never heard of him until now.

    I think it is cool that we can continue our education through the education of others at this magical school called a blog.

    Always enjoy your posts, Willow.

    I will look him up and learn more.

  7. Ah,this is EXCELLENT!
    Thanks so much for jumping on board to celebrate all things poetic in the month of April.

    Donald Hall is one of my favorite poets of all time.His wife(Jane Kenyon)was also a fantastic writer of poetry.Have you read any of her works? My favorite collection of poems by Kenyon is 'Otherwise.'

    I've also read Donald Hall's memoir of his wife's battle with cancer called 'Best Days,Worst Days' which was so moving.Check it out,if you haven't already.

    I look forward to reading your other posts,especially those related to poetry.


  8. Anyone who has had a look around at your Life at Willow Manor will know that you celebrate poetry and poets all year long, and for that I say, "Hurrah, Miss Willow!" The video was such a treat! I seem to be repeating myself, but, thank you, thank you, and thank you!

  9. What a treat to see and hear Donald Hall! I really enjoyed this!


  10. That's a lovely poem-- especially the ending. I like your poetic selections, so I'm glad you're going to take advantage of Nat'l Poetry Month.

    Still slowly catching up on blog reading, & still only having a bit of online time to do so. Glad I caught this one!

  11. Pearl S. Buck, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and now Donald Hall, all poetry that lifts our everyday into spectacular affirmations.

  12. I had no idea that April is national poetry month! Thank you for the heads up!

    That little old man is delightful!

  13. I love coming to your blog to experience something new. Thank you.

  14. I love Hall's poetry. Thanks for the youtube link.He is a character!

  15. Lovely poem, and I like that accompanying daffodil photo, so pretty, yet reminiscent of snow in its color. Rain too here today, a good soaking.

  16. "As with blinders so must I see, through a currant colored world, winnow the graceless, the misery..."

  17. Late snow is like the guest who arrives late at the dinner party when everybody is packing up to go. But he/she is also your best friend, so you don't mind him/her staying around, helping out with the washing up and scraping the last bits of meat off the bones, or how about scooping a ladleful of that lovely chocolate fountain you made to celebrate the publication of your autobiography. Late snow feels like a conversation with that old friend in the kitchen after everyon's gone to bed. There you are, the two of you, laughing 'sotto voce' so as not to wake up the rest of the house, and catching up on the stories you couldn't swap at the dinner party.

    I loved the poem and the video. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  18. I enjoy Hall's poetry too, and Jane Kenyon's. Do read "Otherwise" as Melissa (?) suggested; I think you'll like it.

  19. I loved the simplicity of the poem but the subtlety of the images he conjures up.
    Thanks for telling us about Hall.

  20. Perfect! I loved this. I look forward to more this month.

  21. Thank you for the introduction to Donald Hall. I enjoying hearing him read his poetry.

  22. Melissa and ds, thanks for the heads up on Jane Kenyon! I'm off to find some of her poetry and especially "Otherwise" as suggested.

  23. Lovely poem willow and I adore that top picture of a narcissus. It's creamy and delicious. I gave up posting for a while as your comments were into the hugeness numbers!! One of the disadvantages of becoming so popular. Our weather has been quite good recently, spring sunshine and my garden is full of spring colour.
    I did a book interview today though!

  24. I adore the simplicity and depth of this poem. It's meant to be read quietly with a loved one by your side. This kind of subtle observation of life in its "litle moments" is what elevates poetry to a mystical experience. I keep telling you, you are a marvelous poetry anthologist. I am waiting for your compilations of poetry to be published. Thanks for the great post.

  25. Oh, good... I didn't know it is poetry month... will be keeping my eyes on your blog for some new discoveries!

  26. nice poem. thanks for the intro to Donald Hall. very cool about the CD as well!

  27. He's one of our favourites here. Lovely choice for your post today.

  28. I've not heard of Donald Hall until I read (and saw him here)... thank you for the introductiona.. this is why I love blogging... I learn so much from others.

    I too will have to visit our Library and see if there are any books by hiim. I love listening to poets read their own works.. they are the best to know how the words need to sound.. he read his beautifully (although he might need to visit a dentist to get his teeth sorted! :)... but I imagine it is all part of his personality)

    No snow here .... glorious, sunny spring weather...

  29. Hello Willow,

    Hall's poem is good but I think I prefer the Millay poem in your sidebar. That is beautiful! I'm looking forward to reading all the poems that you offer this month.

  30. I enjoyed this and the video.

  31. Any poetry is music to my ear...and every thought comes out in it's magic, but then again, semi-retired, I have time to think in prose...

    or maybe I'm just a romantic fool...I like this one!

    And yes we had the cold drizzle, but it didn't stop me from getting the peas in the ground...ha!

  32. Beuatiful quote and photo too.

  33. I was thinking of a rhyme for Willow and first happened upon the word Armadillo. You might wonder a little about the nexus, but it's not a stretch if you're from Texas. Have a great week. Pappy

  34. What a treat to be able to hear the author reading his poetry.

  35. The poem is beautiful, and so is that tender blossom in the image at the top. Early spring seems so fragile. Thank you!

  36. Excellent choice, Willow.
    Poetry is such a wonderful way of sharing language and experience.
    Because poems are pretty short (on the whole)
    they are an amazinly good teaching tool/lesson plan.
    Hm.....do I sound boring or what?
    I love your pale daffs anyway.

  37. Well you know I always enjoy poetry. I loved this.

  38. Oh this was so delicious- I am in a poetry coma! LOVE THIS!Thank you so much for this post!!!

  39. I forgot to mention the other night that my blog will be joining the celebrations, too. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  40. Willow I had forgotten this! It ties right in with my latest book finds! Anon, I will have a post up!

  41. Hey Willow,

    I'm catching up with your blog. Wow--Edna St. Vincent Millay, Jane Campion, Donald Hall, James Whitcomb Riley--are you sure we weren't separated at birth?

    Anyway, here is a link to a blog I posted on Hall a few years ago after reading his memoir on his life with Jane: inthepantry.blogspot.com/2005/06/best-day-worst-day-living-dying-with.html

    Take care! Catherine


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)