April is National Poetry Month!

Posted by in Poetry

National Poetry Month Poster by Chin-Yee Lai

I like to think that every month is poetry month, but if we have to honor the art form for one month a year, then April it may as well be. Finally, I’ve gotten my act together to bring you a proper Poetry Month celebration. I am going to post a poem every day in April and then for each Sunday in April, I will host a discussion. I hope you’ll join me!

I’m obsessively in love with this year’s poster, pictured to the left, designed by Chin-Yee Lai. The poem featured is “Our Valley” by Philip Levine and to kick of the Regular Rumination National Poetry Month Celebration, I’d like to share this full poem with you.


Our Valley – Philip Levine

We don’t see the ocean, not ever, but in July and August
when the worst heat seems to rise from the hard clay
of this valley, you could be walking through a fig orchard
when suddenly the wind cools and for a moment
you get a whiff of salt, and in that moment you can almost
believe something is waiting beyond the Pacheco Pass,
something massive, irrational, and so powerful even
the mountains that rise east of here have no word for it.

You probably think I’m nuts saying the mountains
have no word for ocean, but if you live here
you begin to believe they know everything.
They maintain that huge silence we think of as divine,
a silence that grows in autumn when snow falls
slowly between the pines and the wind dies
to less than a whisper and you can barely catch
your breath because you’re thrilled and terrified.

You have to remember this isn’t your land.
It belongs to no one, like the sea you once lived beside
and thought was yours. Remember the small boats
that bobbed out as the waves rode in, and the men
who carved a living from it only to find themselves
carved down to nothing. Now you say this is home,
so go ahead, worship the mountains as they dissolve in dust,
wait on the wind, catch a scent of salt, call it our life.


Honestly, I think I have a new favorite poem. If I were to tell you my favorite line, I would probably just quote the entire thing. Do you have a favorite poem that is simply perfect?

You can read all the poems I post for National Poetry Month here. Are you blogging for National Poetry Month? Let me know in the comments and I’ll link to your post.