Guest post: A little bread, cheese and tulips for the soul

Posted by on 03.05.08 | 4 Comments
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Poem of the Month Club: Tulips for the Soul of It

This guest blog is from Karen (Krayna) Castelbaum. Krayna is a psychotherapist, psycho-dramatist ,spiritual director, dream diva, poet, artist, and all-round mensch. Plus, she’s a lot of fun to hang with! She’s who influenced me, unduly, to go blonde, and we jumped into Blonde-World together. Our friendship began in delight and with any luck, will end in wisdom. –Beth, VTH Host

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Poem of the Month

It all started one otherwise unremarkable summer evening, in the year 2006. I was outside in my neighbor Denny’s front yard, here in Bend, Oregon. Somehow, oh marvelous event, the conversation turned to poetry. He made reference to a woman he’d read about who put anti-war poems in a box in her front yard after the war in Iraq began, and I said: “Hey! That’s a great idea!” He said he didn’t have time to make such a thing happen, but I did. So, I got a realtor-type flyer box and stuck it in the front yard, and began to choose a poem every month, which I copied and put in the box. I affixed a wee sign saying “Poem of the Month – Please take one!” I haven’t missed a month since I started in October 2006.

My hopes began simply enough – to offer something that “begins in delight and ends in wisdom” (thanks to Robert Frost for this lovely little phrase), to passersby on the street. My other heretofore secret hope has been that this may lead to the formation of a “Department of Poetry”, sister of the “Department of Peace”, which together, might replace the Department of War. And that little flyer boxes will begin sprouting up all over Bend, then to towns across the country. This “Insurgency of Delight” (thank you Beth, for that one), spreads across the seas and over the mountains, to countries about the world, and soon, poems are spilling out of flyer boxes and flower boxes everywhere!

This whole thing has taken on a life of its own. I have indeed had some cool experiences, very touching actually.

□ Folks have left notes of appreciation for me on my windshield and in the poem box.

□ I’ve received notes and phone calls from the likes of old cowboys to young women, wanting to know more about poetry, or wanting to share a poem they’d written and had never shown to anyone.

□ One lady sent me the poem she wrote the day of her mother’s memorial.

I honor these responses and feel privileged to be the recipient of such expressions.

There are also folks who have taken the idea and created their own Poem of the Month sites, or, in one case, began a “Creative Consciousness” box in town. I plan to keep track and start a “Poem of the Month” Map for the curious. I can see the big map on my living room wall, with all kinds of little tacks that represent spots where poetry is being given away! I hope to run out of tacks, thank you very much. –Krayna

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So, here’s the call to action. If this little ‘insurgency of delight’ has touched your heart, think about if you’d like to do something similar. Really, for Krayna, it was just starting to put the poems out in the realtor-type box in her front yard, every month. The simplicity is what makes me know that this may be a real-honest-to-the-goddess movement.

We’ll be posting Krayna’s featured poem every month here on the Virtual Tea House. Feel free to print it, email it or use it for whatever purpose. If you can’t print it in this format, let me know and I’ll email it to you!—Beth, VTH Host beth@virtualteahouse.com

HERE’S the POEM FOR MARCH 2008:

Poem of the Month ~ March 2008

Here’s a great way to spend some time during this blustery month!

Amplifying Kindness and Gratitude:

To whom do you owe your well-being?

Where is kindness in your life?

Found ~ Ron Koertge

My wife waits for a caterpillar

to crawl onto her palm so she

can carry it out of the street

and into the green subdivision

of a tree.

Yesterday she coaxed a spider

into a juicier corner. The day

before she hazed a snail

in a half-circle so he wouldn’t

have to crawl all the way

around the world and be 2,000

years late for dinner.

I want her to hurry up and pay

attention to me or go where I

want to go until I remember

the night she found me wet

and limping, felt for a collar

and tags, then put me in

the truck where it was warm.

Without her, I wouldn’t

be standing here in these

snazzy alligator shoes.

From The Best American Poetry 2006; Guest editor, Billy Collins.

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