Three weeks ago I started a new daily practice. I read one poem a day, Monday through Friday.
While my boys are still asleep, and after my husband has left for work, I take the first sip from my coffee and I read the next poem.
This new practice began when I went to my favorite local bookstore. I went all alone (imagine: all.by.myself), with our frequent buyer “reward” safely stashed in my wallet. On our last visit, we’d reached $14.06 in book dollar rewards. I kept the reward to use later because I wanted to make a purchase of something besides a Clone Wars book. Or, a Where’s Waldo collection.
I wanted this purchase to be something special. (And…I wanted it to be just for me.)
When I arrived at the Edmonds Bookshop, I was a little nervous. After all the build up, what book would I buy? I scanned the fiction shelf. Oy! A hard cover book is $29?! I couldn’t part with my precious reward dollars for a book that I knew I’d likely only read once.
Next I hit the section dedicated to the craft of writing. “No!” I told myself. “You have enough (dare I say too many?) books on writing.”
I forced myself to stay away from self-help. (Read this post to understand why.)
I opened it. I read one poem and then another. I made myself stop after the third poem. I was hooked.
Being “hooked” by a poem or poetry hasn’t happened to me for more than 20 years. As an English major in college, I read many, many poems. I listened to many lectures about poems. I wrote papers, I analyzed, I dissected poems. I was graded on everything I said about poems. I came to hate poems. I haven’t paid them much notice since I walked across the stage with my diploma.
But these poems? They are different. And this Mary Oliver? She’s different.
She’s real and she’s amazing. Her poems are a gift.
So, every morning, while my boys are still asleep, and after my husband has left for work, I take the first sip from my coffee and I enjoy the messages and the meaning these poems bring.
As for the $14.06 in book rewards (and a little from my own pocket), that was money well spent.