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NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

Poem-A-Day 2020

North Florida Poetry Hub celebrated National Poetry Month by posting contributed poems sent in by poets from all over the world.  ~ Submissions closed May 15, 2020 ~  Thank you to all who participated.

(About poster above)  The official April 2020 National Poetry Month poster features the artwork of Samantha Aikman, winner of this year's National Poetry Month Poster Contest for Students. Aikman's design was selected by judges Alison Bechdel, renowned cartoonist, and former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. It features the following line from the poem "Remember" by current U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo: “Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.”   If you’re able to support our efforts, please consider a donation to the Academy of American Poets.   Contributions from poetry lovers like you help us send 100,000 free posters to teachers, librarians, and more nationwide.    TO DONATE TO HELP  POETS.ORG and their poster fund, click here:  https://poets.org/donate/npm/prl

 

POEM-A-DAY CHALLENGE

National Poetry Week Poem #1 

April Fool's Day

It's gotta be a joke

what's happening around me,

people with masks and gloves,

who scurry pushing carts,

past empty grocery shelves.


Tomorrow's my last day for a hair cut,

Florida's governor signed an order

mandating everyone must stay home,

all but essential businesses to close.


There's this surreal feeling all around me,

I can't put my finger on it, like a dream,

I keep waiting to wake up and shake it off

everything go back the way it should be.


It's gotta be a joke,


It's April Fool's Day after all,


Isn't it?

4-1-2020  by Ruth Van Alstine   All Rights Reserved.  May not be copied or reproduced without prior written consent.


National Poetry Week Poem #2

UNTITLED


shafts of sunlight pierce the window,

crisp skies like a pristine spring,

a pungent brew of Arabic beans

tug at tendrils of my insomnia

onto the edges of a viral crown.

4-2-2020  by Ruth Van Alstine   All Rights Reserved.  Poem may not be copied or reproduced without prior written consent.

National Poetry Week Poem #4 Inspiration


blank pages lie open

in the ribbon bound book

on a sun dappled table

in shady window nook

awaiting poet's muse.....

4/4/2020  

By Ruth Van Alstine   All Rights Reserved.  Poem may not be copied or reproduced without prior written consent.

National Poetry Week Poem # 5

by Stephen Stokes - 

Sudsy Whiteout

I never wash my car by hand.

It’s not because I am lazy.

The weather does not understand.

Clouds should hold it in when hazy.

The yellow powder of pollen

coats my windows in the springtime.

The car is no worse for haulin’.

Please forbid rain in the meantime.

I do not mind to bend and stoop.

The effort is a good workout.

But it is calming being cooped

during a brief sudsy whiteout.

Nosing into the wet tunnel,

I put the vehicle in park.

Tracks allow my car to funnel

into promising semidark.

The car rumbles, even spasms,

but I myself feel safe inside,

experiencing braingasm.

It’s better than a theme park ride.

April, 2020 By Stephen Stokes.  All Rights Reserved. Poem may not be copied or reproduced without prior written consent.

National Poetry Week Poem # 6

LISTEN

i just

need a

quiet Moment

2018  By Ruth Van Alstine  All Rights Reserved.  May not be copied or reproduced without prior written consent.

National Poetry Week Poem # 7

buds tremble to bloom,
new leaves await unfurling
cycles with Spring, Life


4/9/2020  By Ruth Van Alstine  All Rights Reserved.  Poem may not be copied or reproduced without prior written consent. 

National Poetry Week Poem # 8

A New Landscape: 


Never ending hills roll on,
searching for the illusive
ever moving Horizon.
We find ourselves in a new realm.
Danger lurks around and beyond
every crooked corner.
We are isolated, and yet 
connected.
We are at one with the
unifying universe.
Calls come in from
Colombia, Arizona, Oneonta.
Childhood friends from the past
appear in the present.

A message out of the blue
from Farzana, a former
second grade student,
suddenly summons me,
thanking me
for teaching poetry
and making a difference.
Now a nurse,
she is heeding the desperate
call to arms,
like so many in her field.

What can we do?


Pray
for the safety of all, and
conger up our inner resources
to create
while we wait.

and wash our hands.

April, 2020  An original poem written by Poet and Author Sally Wahl Constain ~ All Rights Reserved. Poem may not be copied or reproduced without prior written consent.

National Poetry Week Poem # 9

from cool mountain slopes
plucked Oolong tea leaves
brew the black dragon

6/12/2016  by Ruth Van Alstine   All Rights Reserved. Poem may not be copied or reproduced without prior written consent.

National Poetry Week Poem #10

Faithful Ancient Poets

embrace new passion with

reborn Corazon

(written in honor of Ancient City Poets, St Augustine, Florida for Open Mic 2019)

by Ruth Van Alstine  All Rights Reserved.  Poem may not be copied or reproduced without prior written consent.  

National Poetry Week Poem #11

The Hearts True Call


Reality is the totality of what we’ve been told
Biased to see things before they unfold.
Assuming we know and assigning roles
Is the epitome of missing the essence of the soul.

Yet if we knew the world wasn’t what we thought
We wouldn’t spend so much time defining our plot.
Those stories that loop and keep us confined
Are the blinding beliefs that control our mind.


The perceptions of doubt and fear of the unknown
Limit our ability to see what wants be shown.
The light, the truth, the possibilities beyond
What our minds could fathom if we were to actually respond
To the crazy, absurd, and unimaginable ideas
That drift through our awareness and give us the chills.

It’s those moments of knowing what our heart desires
That enlivens our soul and deeply inspires.
The action to move, to shift, and to change
A life out of balance is worth the exchange.
Of time, of tears, of the monumental growth
That will clear the way for a new conscious oath.


A recommitment to Self and the potential within
Letting go of our definition from way back when.

A vow to nurture the authentic being
That can build a life from truly seeing.
The beauty, the mystery, the wonderment of all
and sit in stillness to hear the hearts true call.

By Kristi Lee Schatz   ~ All Rights Reserved. Poem may not be copied or reproduced without prior written consent.

National Poetry Week Poem #11 


WHEN THE WORLD STOPPED 


Remember the time when the world stopped? 

  

When we saw our homes, families and communities in a new way.  


When life slowed to almost a halt and no one knew where to place their next step.  


Remember how we tried to keep going to maintain meaning, to support those who were saving lives, and to reject the idea that something so horrific could take our spirits? 


Remember how we found ways to connect, to re-identify ourselves and re-center our values on being versus doing?  


Remember when we passed the time by keeping calm, laughing with our children and feeling the intense, surreal nature of our lives?  


We were asked to stay home to serve our country while others were dying.  


We hid in the pantry and ate snacks because we didn’t know what else to do and if we thought about it for too long, we thought we might lose our minds.  


During that time, we dug deeper and felt more.  


We were forced to become comfortable with uncertainty. Can you believe that led to our children growing up to reject the illusions of control we once held so tight?  


We nurtured our children and they looked to us to know the basics were provided. We looked back at them and told them that we don’t know what’s in front of us but we will do the best we can with what we have. We told them that living simply helps Mother Earth and others to survive a little longer.  


Remember the time when staying at home became dangerous, chaotic, and fragile for some while overwhelmingly comfortable for others? 


The divide between the haves and have nots grew. Health disparities were undeniable. Families and marriages and careers fell apart while others thrived.  


Remember how we responded to neighbors in need—we tipped extra well and shared our security to provide a minute of security for someone else? 


We were vulnerable together. We found ourselves again, we touched our own humanity, and we quieted our minds to seek the person we knew ourselves to be but had lost in the spinning of time.  


Remember the time when the world stopped, then started again? 


By Kristi Lee Schatz   ~ All Rights Reserved. Poem may not be copied or reproduced without prior written consent. 

 
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Poem-A-Day From the Sanctuary Kids

The, This, and That Tear 

A solo spoken word by Linnea Morrison 


A tear, the night that we saw them fight raced down my face 

A tear, one after another, they’re speeding like it’s a race- 

BUT, this tear. Is it a part of, what’s not a part of, but what is 

a part of this water cycle thing too 

Because, if it could evaporate off my little face 

I’d love for it to do. 


But there was no way these were ordinary tears – no way I 

could stop them – 

I’m trying and trying but my happiness still couldn’t come 

above them. 

I’m crying and crying, but I’m not sad. 

I don’t even want to believe in feelings, I thought to myself – 

But I still just wanted to be glad – 

These thoughts were getting to my head, my legs and stomach 

From that point, I didn’t know what to do, so I sat there plump 

like a pumpkin. 

They came down my face so fast and so much that I forgot how the 

The, This and That Tear began, but my sister reminded 

me. 


A tear, the night we saw them fight rushed down my face 

A tear, one after another, they’re speeding like it’s a race 

Is it a part of, what’s not a part of, but what is  

a part of this water cycle thing too. 

Because if it could evaporate off of my little face 

I’d love for it to do. 

***************************************

A Pill

A duet by Leah Grappie and Linnea Morrison


A pill.


One of the things that can kill people

in a second.

It doesn’t have to be a pill,

it can be a plant, food or drink.

And some people just don’t think

about the damage that it does to your

body and life.

It’s like walking

and getting attacked by a

beast from a beehive

-BZZZZZZZZZ-


Next thing you know,

all that we see,

they say,

“I pass it to you”, and

“you pass it to me.”

Now they’re both looking high as can be.

Now they say,

“I’ve only tried it twice, and I can do

all things possible!”

“But I only tried it once and ended up in the hospital!

Why do you sell this?

This is not good.

People think it’s a toy

Especially down in the hood.

People make these drugs the center of their lives.

Once they are gone, their family wonders

…Why.

A pill.

One of the things that WILL kill people

in seconds.


***************************************


A Shooting

A duet by Summer Green and Cherish Naples


A shooting can happen anywhere

at any time.

We heard a shooting happen

Right around the corner.

Kids should not have to worry about

walking to the park and getting shot.

BANG! BANG!

was how it sounded

And then we heard a car driving off-

SKUUUUUUUR!

Everybody was scared.

We hid under tables and chairs.

Kids should not have to worry about that.


***************************************

Bully

A duet by Diane Franks and Lelah Morrison


Bully!


I hate it when you bully me.

That’s not nice, stop bullying.

You shouldn’t do it.

It’s not good for you.

It’s a bad idea.

You will get in trouble.

We are warning you.

Do NOT do it!

Somebody called me a loser.

Somebody tripped me.

Somebody made fun of me.

But you know what’s really funny?

I’m still here…and you are

Where?

Stop bullying.

You shouldn’t do it.

It’s not good for you.

It’s a bad idea.

Do NOT do it.

You will get in trouble.

We are warning you.

DON’T DO IT! BULLY!!!!!!!!


***************************************

Happiness

A duet by Talethea Swain and Sanaiyah Poitier


People need Happiness.

Happiness needs to go place to place.

Happiness needs to go place to place.

It is a sign of gratefulness and appreciation.

Some people all over want to express their madness on others,

While others want to express their Happiness.

Just be happy.

Don’t let people take your Happiness.

People are dying because people want to put their madness on other people.

It’s not fair that people are dying

because of you.

Be a happy color.

Don’t be a dark color,

because it is not good to show off your madness.

BANG!

What was that?

That was the sound of people putting their madness on other people.

You’re happy, but you know what’s crappy?

People putting their madness on other people.


HAPPINESS!

***************************************

My Dad

A solo by Cherish Naples


One day I was getting ready for school,

then my mom got a phone call saying it was bad news.

My mom was crying.

Everybody in the room was sad.

And once I heard the news, I was super mad.

They said, his

           heart

                     just

                                   stopped.

I never got to know him.

He died when I was six.

And after I heard,

I started feeling sick

thinking why it happened so soon.

I wanted to write a song

with a nice tune.


After days, months and years passed

I started to feel better,

but wish my dad knew I was so clever!!

 
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Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

                                      by Maya Angelou

 
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Sonnet V: To A Friend Who Sent Me Some Roses

    As late I rambled in the happy fields,
    What time the skylark shakes the tremulous dew
    From his lush clover covert; when anew
    Adventurous knights take up their dinted shields;
    I saw the sweetest flower wild nature yields,
    A fresh-blown musk-rose; 'twas the first that threw
    Its sweets upon the summer: graceful it grew
    As is the wand that Queen Titania wields.
    And, as I feasted on its fragrancy,
    I thought the garden-rose it far excelled;
    But when, O Wells! thy roses came to me,
    My sense with their deliciousness was spelled:
    Soft voices had they, that with tender plea
    Whispered of peace, and truth, and friendliness unquelled.

                                                                                            By John Keats 

 

Joan Baez ~ House Of The Rising Sun

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
It has been the ruin of many a poor girl
And me, oh, God, I'm one

If I had listened to what my mother said,
I`d have been at home today,
But I was young and foolish, oh, God
Let a rambler lead me astray


Go tell my baby sisters 
Don't do what I have done
To shun that house in New Orleans
They call the rising sun

And going back to New Orleans
My race is almost run
I'm going back to spend my life
Beneath that rising sun

~ a song is a poetic form ~ 

 
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The Otter

When you plunged
The light of Tuscany wavered
And swung through the pool
From top to bottom.

I loved your wet head and smashing crawl,
Your fine swimmer’s back and shoulders
Surfacing and surfacing again
This year and every year since.

I sat dry-throated on the warm stones.
You were beyond me.
The mellowed clarities, the grape-deep air
Thinned and disappointed.

Thank God for the slow loadening,
When I hold you now
We are close and deep
As the atmosphere on water.

My two hands are plumbed water.


You are my palpable, lithe
Otter of memory
In the pool of the moment,

Turning to swim on your back,
Each silent, thigh-shaking kick
Re-tilting the light,
Heaving the cool at your neck.

And suddenly you’re out,
Back again, intent as ever,
Heavy and frisky in your freshened pelt,
Printing the stones.

                            by Seamus Heaney

 

CONTACT US

North Florida Poetry Hub
C/O Hope At Hand
3886 Atlantic Blvd,
Jacksonville, FL 32207

904-540-9425

 


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North Florida Poetry Hub is a chapter of the Florida State Poets Association and was created by the local nonprofit Hope at Hand, Inc. to support and help the arts flourish for poets, writers and lovers of all things poetic and artistic in the North Florida region.

POETRY. WELLNESS. HOPE ~  Hope At Hand is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides art and poetry sessions to vulnerable and at-risk youth populations. Using creativity, language, art and therapeutic approaches, we facilitate healing and personal growth for children and adolescents.  

 
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