Poetry Party?

A co-worker invited me to dinner at her apartment. She mentioned that a few other people were coming and she and her roommates would be serving make-you-own spring rolls. Even though my husband couldn’t make it because he was working overnight, I said yes.

The kitchen smelled marvelous and gradually different bowls appeared on the table. When it was time to dig in, my co-worker leaned in and said, “oh by the way, this is our 3rd Annual Spring Equinox Poetry Party.”

“Wait what?” I ask.

“Yeah, that’s why everyone brought a book of poetry with them.”

Oh gosh. I thought. I feel comfortable making small talk with new people, but this? Poetry party? I am not prepared! Will I have to recite a poem?

After we finish eating, one of the women passes out a poetry book to each person. I open my book in the middle, not knowing where to start. One guy reads a Pablo Neruda poem. It was a rather explicit poem and my giggles chipped away at some of my panic.

Another person shared a poem. Then another.

I flipped through the Mary Oliver book that I was given. I landed on a page with the poem called “The Sun.” I heard myself say, “I have one.” I began to read. I felt my face flush as I got to the half-way point. Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at me. When I made it to the end of the poem I heard “Ooooh” and then snapping.

After 3 more poems were read I offered to read another poem. This one I liked better than the first. It was called “Lilies” My 2nd graders are currently studying and writing poems. The other day I had modeled writing a poem about grass blowing in the wind. In “Lilies,” Mary Oliver did a much better job than me. Her words are so beautiful. She wrote the words that I couldn’t find.

Then another girl started reading “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes. We each read 2 stanzas and passed the book to the next person in our circle. I smiled to myself. All I could think about was Anne’s performance of this poem in Anne of Green Gables. My mom and sister will laugh when I tell them this.

As I got into my car to drive home I smiled. I didn’t expect this dinner party to turn out like it did. New friends! The surprise Poetry Party! A poet with a new admirer! And a new Amazon purchase!

 

 

The Sun

by Mary Oliver

Have you ever seen
anything
in your life
more wonderful

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon

and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone–
and how it slides again

out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower

streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure

that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you

as you stand there,
empty-handed–
or have you too
turned from this world–

or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?

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13 thoughts on “Poetry Party?

  1. What a great party idea! Poetry has a way of bringing hearts together and making nervous hearts still. Mary Oliver is a wonderful poet, and I love The Sun – a perfect Spring Equinox poem! Have a heat weekend.

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  2. Ah, Cindy, what a great slice! Mary Oliver is a favorite of mine. Whenever I read one of her poems, I’m wowed. She captures so much of what I feel about nature and so lyrically. Thanks for sharing The Sun and your wonderful evening with friends. PS. You should consider posting this slice at Poetry Friday Roundup. It’s a perfect fit!

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  3. oh, i LOVE that idea. I am going to share it with my sisters. Mary Oliver and Billy Collins are two modern favorites for sure.

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  4. You can’t go wrong with Mary Oliver! I was just talking with a new friend today about our shared appreciation of her work. Serendipity! I think I’ll be reading some of her poetry tomorrow.

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  5. That sounds scary and exciting all in the same breath. I don’t think I have any friends who would like to do this. I have enough trouble trying to get my book club friends to discuss the book!
    ritadicarne.com

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