Poem of the Month, June 2015: The Word, Tony Hoagland

Poem of the Month

The Word illustrationHere’s a lovely June poem to help you “roll out those lazy hazy crazy days of summer….” (Nat King Cole, 1962). This is a perennial favorite in my poetry therapy groups. Enjoy!

The Word

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli,” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing

that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue,

but today you get a telegram
from the heart in exile,
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them
who can find the time
to sit out in the sun and listen.

–Tony Hoagland

in Sweet Ruin, (c) 1992 University of Wisconsin Press.

Copyrighted material used for educational purposes.

Journal Prompts

[ul style=”1″]
[li]What would you pencil into your “crossed-out list” that “resting on the page” would be “beautiful”? [/li]
[li]Start a write to yourself with, “Do you remember?” [/li]
[li]Write a plan for how you will prioritize your own self-care in the month of June. [/li]
[/ul]

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to Poem of the Month, June 2015: The Word, Tony Hoagland

  1. Karen Harvey July 26, 2015 at 6:33 pm #

    Looking through my notes. In response to Tony Hoaglands poem in June I wrote this:-

    Down near the bottom
    of the crossed-out list
    of things I have to do today,
    somewhere between now
    and what to do next,
    a sharp intake of breathe…
    and I know that I must
    ‘Breathe… just breathe.’

    Whilst inhaling deeply, I find
    The stillness that evades me
    In the hubbub of the everyday,
    to pause and offer a silent prayer
    of thanks for love and life and light.

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