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Posts Tagged ‘academy of american poets’

Photo of Gertrude Ely: Bryn Mawr College Collection

I was on the brink of unsubscribing to the American Academy of Poets poem-a-day e-mail because I let so many pile up and then have to slog through all sorts of contemporary brain twisters.

But as I was working my way through the poems today, I came across the one below. I thought, “Oh, I know exactly what this is about” and was carried back to my college days and hanging out at the home of my great aunt’s friend Gertrude Ely.

Gertrude Ely was quite elderly at that time but really interesting to be around. She was knew all sorts of movers and shakers and was an awesome storyteller. I happened to be staying at her house one weekend when she received an unusual letter.

An elderly Philadelphia gentleman wrote that he had read in the Bulletin that she had received some civic award, and he just had to write and tell her a memory he had from his service in WW I in Europe. The Army was sending over carloads of friendly, proper young volunteers to chat with and cheer soldiers and bring a breath of home. The man wrote he would never forget a load of girls pulling up in an open car and Gertrude Ely calling out, “Any of you boys from Philadelphia?” He said, “At that moment, I believe every soldier there was wishing he was from Philadelphia.”

***

American Boys, Hello! by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Oh! we love all the French, and we speak in French
As along through France we go.
But the moments to us that are keen and sweet
Are the ones when our khaki boys we meet,
Stalwart and handsome and trim and neat;
And we call to them—“Boys, hello!”
“Hello, American boys,
Luck to you, and life’s best joys!
American boys, hello!”

We couldn’t do that if we were at home—
It never would do, you know!
For there you must wait till you’re told who’s who,
And to meet in the way that nice folks do.
Though you knew his name, and your name he knew—
You never would say “Hello, hello, American boy!”
But here it’s just a joy,
As we pass along in the stranger throng,
To call out, “Boys, hello!”

For each is a brother away from home;
And this we are sure is so,
There’s a lonesome spot in his heart somewhere,
And we want him to feel there are friends
right there

In this foreign land, and so we dare
To call out “Boys, hello!”
“Hello, American boys,
Luck to you, and life’s best joys!
American boys, hello!”

[Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote “American Boys, Hello!” while visiting France during the latter stages of World War I as entertainment for the American soldiers stationed there.]

Photo of Ella Wheeler Wilcox: American Academy of Poets, here.

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The Poem-a-Day service of the Academy of American Poets featured two of my favorite poets this week. I love the personable vibes from these women, the particularity, the quirkiness.

My father got me interested in poetry, giving me a volume of Emily Dickinson and telling me I could “get started” on her, but he admitted that he didn’t think there were any “great” women poets. I think he was wrong about that. I don’t know if he ever changed his mind.

Dear March – Come in
by Emily Dickinson

Dear March – Come in –
How glad I am –
I hoped for you before –
Put down your Hat –
You must have walked –
How out of Breath you are –
Dear March, how are you, and the Rest –
Did you leave Nature well –
Oh March, Come right upstairs with me –
I have so much to tell –

I got your Letter, and the Birds –
The Maples never knew that you were coming –
I declare – how Red their Faces grew –
But March, forgive me –
And all those Hills you left for me to Hue –
There was no Purple suitable –
You took it all with you –

Who knocks? That April –
Lock the Door –
I will not be pursued –
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied –
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come

That blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame –

@@@@@@

Silence
by Marianne Moore

My father used to say,
“Superior people never make long visits,
have to be shown Longfellow’s grave
or the glass flowers at Harvard.
Self-reliant like the cat—
that takes its prey to privacy,
the mouse’s limp tail hanging like a shoelace from its mouth—
they sometimes enjoy solitude,
and can be robbed of speech
by speech which has delighted them.
The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence;
not in silence, but restraint.”
Nor was he insincere in saying, “Make my house your inn.”
Inns are not residences.

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Dear Poetry Lovers,

Please send me a haiku of yours to post. You may use the e-mail suzannesmom@lunaandstella.com or put your haiku in Comments. Let me know if you want me to use your first and last name or not.

I’ll start with one of mine.

Struck by lightning bug
Years ago, I know to look
For veiled messages.

Jane is letting me share this one of hers

Dandelions

 A child’s crayon suns,
Galaxies strewn on green skies;
The leaves are bitter.

Here is one Asakiyume wrote on a Halloween in the 1990s. She has probably forgotten.

Leaves salute the sun
Then fade away; the planet
Tilts toward dark, and night.

You can subscribe to A Poem A Day from the Academy of American Poets. I signed up after a tip from Ronnie, and I like the daily fix. It reminds me of book my friend Pam gave me when I moved to Minneapolis for a few years. It, too, was called A Poem A Day, and I liked getting into the habit of a daily read. Later, during a year of cancer ups and downs, a photocopied book of daily readings selected by patients was soothing. It’s out of print, and I’ve yet to find one I like as much for friends going through the same business. If you know a good one, I’m all ears.

 

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