Living Light: My Contribution to National Poetry Month

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Well it’s the last day of National Poetry Month and I have yet to participate in this event via the blogging world. In my own life, I have made an effort to participate and recognize this artful style of writing throughout April and I reconnected with the style of language I love and try to create in my fiction.

When I was younger, I dreamed of publishing a novel and a book of poems. My poetry writing waned in college and now I only turn to it in very rare moments. But poetry remains something I love dearly.

My boyfriend has a little 4-year-old boy who loves when I read to him. I would read to him all day long if he let me. Unfortunately, he’s not up for that yet and only associates reading with bedtime. But, I really wanted to bring National Poetry Month into our home and I wanted to find some way to share that with him. So, I read him poetry at bedtime.

I got the idea from my very dear friend and writing partner, J.R. Boles, who read poetry to her girls throughout the month. Happily, the little dude really took to Shel Silverstein. I read him poems from the last book Silverstein published, Everything On It. This one was unfamiliar to me as it was published when I was an adult. As a kid, I recall reading Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic repeatedly and I still have some of the poems memorized today! I know I have those other books and I would have shared those with him too. But, they are MIA, packed away in boxes somewhere. Regardless, the little dude loved the silly rhymes and was asking me questions about the drawings that went with the poems. He also seemed a little enamored with the word “poetry” and kept repeating it for a while.

For my own part, I read poetry when I could snatch a few minutes (a little Byron, Poe and Longfellow for good measure) and, of course, I wrote a little too! So, today, in order to mark the end of National Poetry Month, I thought I would share a poem I wrote after my recent trip to Puerto Rico. It’s not perfect, of course, and needs a little work still. But overall, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. Hopefully, at some point in the near future, I will have time to go back to it and finalize it.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

The poem is about the late-night kayak trip my boyfriend and I took to Bioluminescent Bay while in Puerto Rico last month. It was an amazing experience and I knew while we were out on the water that I wanted to try to capture the moments in a poem.

The only way you can relate to this experience is by taking the tour yourself. It’s too dark to take photos or video and the lights are so brief that there’s no way a camera could pick up the lights. Any photos you see online are doctored so, if you ever get the chance to have this magical experience, it is absolutely worth the cost of the tour.

Living Light
(Inspired by our kayak trip to Bioluminescent Bay – Fajardo, Puerto Rico)

As with everything,
it begins with darkness
and steady paddle strokes,
the dip-pull pattern
drawing us forward
like clockwork.

Above us,
the star-pocked sky
winks frozen secrets,
the silent music
of creation unblemished
by man-made lights.

At first, there is nothing
but paddle strokes
and mangroves.
And then,
a few glittering specks
like falling stars
or souls snuffed
too soon,
so fast and brief
you wonder
if they were really there
at all.

The darkness lengthens
and the bay reveals
its essence.
Each paddle stroke
ignites a swirling universe,
each splash
a cascade of pearly light.

Over and over we shift the water,
kindling a cacophony
of illuminated heartbeats
in an instant
both there
and gone again.

We beheld the beginning that night,
the first blip of light,
the first note,
the first breath,
the quickening.

Oh the joy,
the overwhelming beauty
which you cannot comprehend
but for to see it yourself.

To hold a universe
in my palm,
to float in the stars
this living light,
the briefest echo
of the symphony above.