abigail burnham bloom abigail burnham bloom abigail burnham bloom abigail burnham bloom abigail burnham bloom abigail burnham bloom
abigail burnham bloom abigail burnham bloom abigail burnham bloom abigail burnham bloom abigail burnham bloom abigail burnham bloom

poetry circle

One Page Poetry Circle Archive


abigail burnham bloom one page poetry circle

Welcome to the Virtual One Page Poetry Circle!

Date: May 21, 2024
Theme: Poetry and Growth
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave, 3rd Fl. Or by email (see addresses below)

Find a poem! Show up! Or, send a poem by email!

We're back for the sixteenth spring season of the One Page Poetry Circle where people examine the works of established poets. While there is no instructor and this is not a workshop for personal writing, once a month OPPC gives everyone a place to become teachers and learners to explore the form, content, language and meaning of poetry. Since the circle began, participants have selected and discussed 1612 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

As spring pours in, we witness growth of nature all around us. In the meantime we are hoping to grow, not in size, but in understanding. Abigail is reminded by growth of how often nature pierces through in the most unlikely places as in Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Flower in the Crannied Wall":

  • Flower in the crannied wall,
  • I pluck you out of the crannies,
  • I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
  • Little flower—but if I could understand
  • What you are, root and all, all in all,
  • I should know what God and man is.

AnnaLee remembered Anais Nin's eight-line poem "Risk," about what it takes to grow or propagate. The poem begins with the word "And" as if there were a narrative and the reader is entering in the middle. The spare writing uses the metaphor of a bud swelling in its protective case until it can no longer be contained and bursts into bloom.

  • And then the day came,
  • when the risk
  • to remain tight
  • in a bud
  • was more painful
  • than the risk
  • it took
  • to blossom.

The One Page Poetry Circle has returned to the St. Agnes Library.
In addition, for those who are unable to attend, you will still be able to participate by email.

If you can make the May 21st meeting, we ask that you bring a poem with you on the theme of Poetry and Growth, with copies for others if you can.

If you're unable to attend, send us the poems you've selected with a comment on why you chose them. We'll share the poems with you in person, by email, and through our blog.

We met on April 16 to discuss Poetry and Insects.

AnnaLee opened the Circle with "The Brook" by Edward Thomas, a poet known for his depictions of rural England and his realizations about modernity's detachment from the natural world. She loved the poem for its enjambments—continuation of sentences without a pause beyond the ends of lines—that chase each other downstream: "A butterfly alighted. From aloft/He took the heat of the sun, and from below./On the hot stone he perched contented so,/As if never a cart would pass again/That way; as if I were the last of men/And he the first of insects to have earth/And sun together and to know their worth."

Ellen selected Pakistan-born British poet Imtiaz Dharker's "The Host," in which a writer tells of returning home to find a colony of fruit flies has taken up residency while she was gone. She enjoyed its humor and straightforward writing as the verses recount the mission to rid the place of uninvited guests and the writer's empty feelings that accompany her success. Might "the guest I miss" refer to the untamed ideas that once swirled in the writer's head?

  • Through the rest of the day I revisit the site.
  • No sign of return. The next morning no-one
  • is there, the jar untouched, my table bare
  • in the desolate kitchen. I try to work but keep
  • coming back to stand like an expectant host
  • waiting to welcome the guest I miss.

Fred found Robert Frost's short poem in iambic pentameter, "Fireflies in the Garden," in which earth's creatures try to mimic the universe, but mortality is never up to the task: "Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,/And here on earth come emulating flies,/That though they never equal stars in size,/(And they were never really stars at heart)/Achieve at times a very star-like start./Only, of course, they can't sustain the part."

Daria loved Emily Dickenson's 1788 poem "Fame Is a Bee," saying she was drawn to the poem because the author uses brevity and a powerful insect to show us the fleeting nature of fame. The bee announces its presence with a buzz, shocks us with its potency, then disappears.

  • Fame is a bee.
  • It has a song—
  • It has a sting—
  • Ah, too, it has a wing.

Gail brought the circle around with Mary Oliver's "The Summer Day" that depicts a grasshopper connecting with a human being, inspiring the narrator to ask questions both universal and personal. The award-winning poet is known for her explorations of nature. She took a daily walk in woods and fields, and is said to have tucked pencils in trees to have a writing implement whenever she was inspired: "Who made the world?/Who made the swan, and the black bear?/Who made the grasshopper?/This grasshopper, I mean—/The one who has flung herself out of the grass,/the one who is eating sugar out of my hand."

Abigail marveled at William Blake's view of the similarities between the fly and man in "The Fly," "Am not I/A fly like thee?/Or art not thou/A man like me?" Was this the basis for those horror movies?

Kai has "always been intrigued by how many haiku have been written about insects. I think the economy of words and syllables in a haiku lends itself to subjects that are small but significant. Additionally the contemplative nature of Buddhism focuses in on the power and meaning found in nature, paying notice to even the smallest details." "Basho," translated by Robert Hass:

  • Stillness
  • the cicada's cry drills into the rocks.

Roger enjoyed Oliver Wendell Holmes's "To an Insect," in which he imagines the katydid as a gossiping woman and tries to understand what she is saying, "Oh tell me where did Katy live,/And what did Katy do?/And was she very fair and young,/And yet so wicked, too?"

June sent Walt Whitman's "A Noiseless Patient Spider": "I mark'd where on a little promontory it stood isolated,/Mark'd how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,/It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,/Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them." "I'm so moved by its comparison of the isolated little creature's endless attempts at connection with the larger world to the individual soul's (perhaps especially the poet's) efforts to connect."

Carol found William Roscoe's "The Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast": "And there was the Gnat and the Dragon-fly too,/With all their Relations, Green, Orange, and Blue./And there came the Moth, with his Plumage of Down,/And the Hornet in Jacket of Yellow and Brown." Roscoe was an early abolitionist and "I'm not convinced this charming poem is totally geared to the children's market. Could this not be a subtle plea for acceptance of diversity?"

Larry chose John Keats's poem, "On the Grasshopper and Cricket," which he first encountered in high school. The sonnet was written in fifteen minutes in a competition with his friend Leigh Hunt. Larry likes "its description of how things can blend together in the imagination":

  • On a lone winter evening, when the frost
  • Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
  • The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,
  • And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
  • The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.

In a nod to our lovely spring flowers, we close with Nancy's selection of a poem that has meaning for her—insects or not: William Wordsworth's beloved "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud." "It's an all-time favorite of mine. I had to memorize it in 6th grade! Love it to this day."

  • I wandered lonely as a cloud
  • That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
  • When all at once I saw a crowd,
  • A host, of golden daffodils;
  • Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
  • Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

For May's meeting, whether a poem concerns growth or change or not, choose a poem that has meaning to you. If you can attend the Poetry Circle, bring a poem, with copies for others if possible. If you're unable to attend, email your selection to one of us by May 21, with a brief comment of why you chose it. Can't locate a poem you want to send? Check Poetry Foundation or poets.org. In the meantime, please blog with us onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

In the meantime, please blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Spring 2024 Schedule: May 21, Poetry and Growth

Abigail Burnham Bloom, abigailburnhambloom(at)gmail(dot)com
AnnaLee Wilson, annalee(at)kaeserwilson(dot)com

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.


[ Home ][ One Page Poetry Circle ][ Victorian Women Writers ][ Courses ][ Journal ][ Publications ]

Copyright © 2006-2024 Abigail Burnham Bloom. All rights reserved. Site and graphics by Glass Slipper WebDesign.

abigail burnham bloom