Imagine for a moment living in a society where poetry is a part of the mainstream rather than residing with an obscure artistic subculture. Where it would not be unusual to find street poets reading on corners, in front of supermarkets, or at local fairs. If you could regularly hear spoken word poets in coffee shops, perhaps alongside musicians to help create a deeper atmosphere. See more frequently poems combined with images in photography, or collage. Poems exhibited alongside paintings in art galleries.
After all, poetry is strong stuff. It can make you laugh, cry, cause people to throw their arms around you in appreciation.Why then do we not work harder to have fun with poetry, to make it more accessible.
This is the spirit of Poem in Your Pocket on April 26th. The message for this day is beautiful: keep it simple! It can be as easy as selecting a poem, carrying it with you, and sharing it with others. The League of Canadian Poets has many creative ideas on how to celebrate this event.
I am thrilled to have one of my poems selected for the League’s 2018 booklet. Here is my offering:
“Swamp Zone” by Joan Conway
from the 2018 Poem in Your Pocket Day booklet
That summer the swamp was our world
I rowed with my sister
among bulrushes and pond lilies
waxy cups, a floating garden
flat disk of leaves
platforms for dragonflies
black veined wings
iridescent in sunlight.
That summer my uncle fried up frog legs.
‘Just like chicken’ he declared
them sitting on a plate coated in flour
at night I dream of slippery bodies surrounding the cabin
throat pouch ballooning taught
vociferous croaking call missing partners.
My mother would stretch out
on smooth curved rocks
rubbing lotion on her creamy white thighs
wet and slippery
my uncle massaging oil onto her back
laughing down at her
and told us kids to go play.
In the swamp zone searching for frogs
how they would lie perfectly still
if you stroked their belly
legs dangling open in some private rapture.
Where I crouched
stranded amongst the reeds
long taper of leaves surrounding me,
closer to shore
roots left high and dry
by the end of that summer.
Let’s imagine that we can bring poetry to the forefront of our society. Lets keep it real.