The Poetry Pole

The Poetry Pole in the depths of Spring.

Of the lovely things to sprout in my neighborhood, the one with the longest-lasting bloom is the Poetry Pole around the corner. I first noticed it on March 18 while walking with friends; the poem was Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese, a seasonal and apposite statement, for when women walk in flocks, they frequently “Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.”

And, what the heck, here are some of those wild geese.

At the beginning of last week, the poem had changed. Once again our neighborhood Poetry Vendor touched not only on the season, but (quite innocently, since the world hadn’t exploded into violence yet) on the spirit of the week* to come.

Suddenly the archetypal  
human desire for peace  
with every other species  
wells up in you. The lion  
and the lamb cuddling up.
The snake and the snail, kissing.
Even the prick of the thistle,  
queen of the weeds, revives  
your secret belief
in perpetual spring,
your faith that for every hurt  
there is a leaf to cure it.
(from Amy Gerstler’s In Perpetual Spring)
I don’t know who the Poetry Vendor is; I know who I could ask, but I like receiving this generous gift from a stranger. As I sort through my complex feelings about this wonderful little town in which I live, I wonder how common Poetry Poles are, anyway. Do you have one, or something like it, where you live?
The leaf that cures my hurt flow in streams of living water…
*This being the age of rapid communication, we no longer have time for any “spirit of the age.” A week is all we can remember at one time.