I am so glad you are here to celebrate poetry and community.
Poetry Friday is a perfect way to celebrate. As is J. Patrick Lewis’ anthology The Poetry of Us. I love this gorgeous book because it uses poetry to celebrate the crazy diverse community that is the United States. There are wonderful poems about everything from “Saturdays at the Portland Farmers Market” (by Janet Wong) to the Oklahoma Dust Bowl (“Child’s Chant” by Renee LaTulippe) to the “Tulip Time Festival” in Holland, Michigan (by Buffy Silverman) to the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival (“Mass Ascension” by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes). The book highlights regions, geography, animals, culture, events, history, food, literally everything you can think of. To me this seems like exactly the book we need right now, and wouldn’t it make a wonderful holiday gift?
You can see why I am especially thrilled to have my poem, “The Menorah,” included. As tonight is the sixth night of Hanukkah, it seems an appropriate poem to share today.
Most of the year, I sit and wait.
When the days grow cold and dark,
someone pulls me out.
I’m rubbed and shined,
old wax pried from my fists.
Voices tell the story of how I came here,
hidden in a suitcase, wrapped in a blanket.
At night I stand in the window, defying the dark.
Behind me, my family glows
with the light of my fire,
with the story of the ancient miracle,
with the joy of eating latkes, spinning dreidels,
singing, together, year after year.
Every night I am handed one more flame–
until my hands are full.
I savor the moment,
while I sit and wait, knowing
the cold, dark days will come again.
Elizabeth Steinglass © 2018
I hope that if you are facing cold, dark days (as we are here in Washington), you are also finding warm, glowing lights and good company (human, literary, or furry!) to share them with.
Please feel free to comment and add your link.
Also, if anyone might be interested in working together on a poetry proposal for NCTE next year, please let me know.
All my best,