April: National Poetry Month

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for." —Dead Poet’s Society

April, the month of spring showers. The time when life blossoms forth and the babies of all manner of creatures make their first steps or slithers or fed their first morsels. As a teacher of young children, it is a time of the sanguinity of wonder (no easy task to keep them focused in their desks when Nature is calling them to run among the flowers and chase butterflies).

So why is April chosen for the month for celebrating poetry? I  believe it is the acknowledgement that without poets our humanity would shrivel into a cultureless dystopian type of world consisting of straight roads of practicality. In many cultures, the poets, the bards, the minstrels were honored guests as they brought to the mundane world of existence perhaps verses of holy work, ballads of human ideals to inspire, and stories of warning. Poets and their ilk have been both welcomed and a bit feared, because they travel to places both low into the human darkest depths to bring to light the shadow world and their denizens, and to scribe the whisperings of the angels and gods. For me, I, like many melancholic teenagers wrote poetry from the dark places. Then as I began to walk consciously my spiritual path, I began to listen to what the angels had to say. However, I also try to blend the two, bringing contrasts to the heavenly guidance with the shadows of my human experience.

Amanda Gorman, a young poet-laureate, stood in front of a nation, at the inauguration of President Biden, and wove a web of healing with recalling the shadows while offering the light of hope. The nation was so moved that she even recited poetry at one of the most brutish of sports championship, the Super Bowl. Now that brings me hope. Not just hope for a nation needing to heal, but for poetry to take back its place as an important artform.

In honor of this month I have just published my forth poetry book, “Thoughts Across the I: Poems About Life and Death and Bits in Between.” The following are some poems and illustrations from the book.


The Path of the Poet


There lies a path I travel
No buildings phallically erect
To pierce the sky

This landscape is flaccid
In its completion
In its afterglow.

I walk not alone
For I walk under a poet’s sun
Where  the rocks have faces
And shadows make their own rules.


The Disneyland of Reality


No wonder we have wars
with great explosions and mighty contraptions.
No wonder we fall in love, quarrel
and have eyes that look to another.
No wonder we have famines, disease, great storms,
and tremors under our feet.
No wonder we have bodies, ticking, ticking.

We like adventures.

The turnstiles spin unceasingly
as people hand over wads of cash
and queue in snaky lines
waiting to scream with eyes wide,
and afterward in orgasmic delight
say, “Wow!” and “Oh, my gosh!” to their friends.

We will brave a mummy’s curse;
walk through the land of the dead,
journey through time
and ride a river of magma;
we’ll escape death-wielding robots
and stand in a warehouse exploding all around us.


Because we know it is not real.
We know we are safe from all harm.
Only the young ones, who possess no discernment

between the real and the fanciful,
wail to get out.

My friends,
enjoy the ride,
the track is certain.
The Management lovingly polishes every car
and checks every gear.

Tell your baby mind,
with the parent of discrimination,
that it is all just one crazy trip.

Your jaunt through these bodies
can no more hurt you
than a virtual dragon sticks you in its mouth.

For until you hold the hand of your thoughts,
your feelings will whip you to and fro
in a curse you call life.

Enjoy the ride.
Scream when you want to.
Laugh at the jokes.

Or just stay calm when everyone goes running.
And just listen to the mighty Hum
of the Power behind it all.



The Song

Hear this song, fellow traveler of the stars:
It is a song of worlds unimaginable,
yet known in our souls.

It is a song that emanates from the heart,
standing my hair like trees reaching for the sun.

It is a song of journeys across distances
so vast that my heart continuously expands.

It is a song that tingles my being
as I take hold of this other’s hand.

It is a song of dancing with you
as we explore this blue-green world
nestled between the stars.

Thank you for reading. What are your thoughts about why poetry is important to you or humanity in general. And if you liked this please share and subscribe. May your days be a washed with poetic showers.


Janaka Stagnaro