What is Your Favorite Poem?

Inspired by my friend and fellow writer, Caroline Tanski, I’m finally taking up the challenge of National Poetry Month, by participating in NaPoWriMo. This means I will write a poem a day, every day for the month of April.

ALSO, since poetry is more than just words, I plan to give you a photo each day as well, which I think is a poem in itself.

Here is my first Photo Poem. If you could put words to this photograph, what would they be?

expat life Pretoria South Africa travel

I would love to be influenced by YOUR favorite poems, and will use inspiration from each of your favorites to craft my own. You’re welcome to join in the fun!

Today, April 1st, I’m giving you one of my favorite poems, “Abou Ben Adhem” (may his tribe increase!)

Mom read it to me regularly as a child, and she asked for it to be read at her funeral. It really wrecked me to take those poignant childhood memories and combine them with my last memories of her life. But it was also a perfect choice by her, a parting wish and hope to continue her legacy of humanity and love.

The point of this poem is goodness. While Mom had strong Christian faith, she also unwaveringly believed that how we treat each other matters so much in this life. I hope regular readers of my work have realized that I try to live my life based on the internalized message of this simple poem.

Please take a moment to read Leigh Hunt’s classic poem, here: “Abou Ben Adhem.”

Now, how about you? Please give me a link to (or title/author of) your favorite poem in the comments below, and each day I’ll share your favorites (and more of mine) with readers!

Love, Marla

6 Comments on “What is Your Favorite Poem?

  1. I have been searching for a book of poetry that you gave me when you were still in Middle School, I think – I reserve the right to return with one of them when I find that book.

    Meanwhile, I think anything from ‘The Prophet’, by Gibran, although currently ‘Good and Evil’ speaks to me the loudest. Like Jeff, memories of childhood bring ‘The Swing’ by Robert Louis Stevenson to mind – but difficult to separate from “A Child’ Garden of Verses’ as a whole.

  2. Darling Marla…ONE of my fav poems is Dorianne Laux’s “The Shipfitter’s Wife.”

    I loved him most
    when he came home from work,
    his fingers still curled from fitting pipe,
    his denim shirt ringed with sweat
    and smelling of salt, the drying weeds
    of the ocean. I’d go to where he sat
    on the edge of the bed, his forehead
    anointed with grease, his cracked hands
    jammed between his thighs, and unlace
    the steel-toed boots, stroke his ankles
    and calves, the pads and bones of his feet.
    Then I’d open his clothes and take
    the whole day inside me — the ship’s
    gray sides, the miles of copper pipe,
    the voice of the foreman clanging
    off the hull’s silver ribs. Spark of lead
    kissing metal. The clamp, the winch,
    the white fire of the torch, the whistle,
    and the long drive home.

    I love to read this aloud, honor the line breaks, slow it down. To me, it’s an incredibly sexy, almost erotic poem.

    To follow your suggestion, I am writing a poem a day in April, but already it is really messing with my limited schedule. It takes me forever, and I end up doing research and starting two or three more poems while I’m at it. Thanks for the suggestion and encouragement, you traveling maniac, you. I’m SO happy that you are having this marvelous growth experience. Can’t wait to see you back in the USA !!

    With love…xoxo…M.A.Sinnhuber

  3. Echoing Jeff’s sentiment: “glad to have you back.” It’s been so long since “Abou Ben Adhem” that I read it as though it was new to me.

    One of my favorites is “The Creation” by James Weldon Johnson.

  4. Gooo, Marla! Thank you for “Abou Ben Adhem.” I love that your mom read it to you as a child. My mom read to me from a big, colorfully illustrated volume of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “A Child’s Garden of Verses,” I think her own as a child, published in the 1920’s. Being read to was my favorite.

  5. Yaaay! Marla’s back!!! I am excited. Favorite poem? God! So many….I think though, at probably well past my “mid-life”, that “Stopping by the wood on a snowy evening” really has special meaning for me. I’ve also always been very fond of “Haiawatha’s childhood”
    Good to have you back li’l sis!

  6. Doubly ambitious, Marla! I’m excited to see the Photo Poems unroll.

    Picking one favorite poem is impossible, but William Butler Yeats’s “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” is the poem that most frequently echoes through my mind when I need a moment of peace. It’s attached to some very strong childhood memories, as well. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172053

    I had never read “Abou Ben Adhem” before, but it’s easy to see how well it accompanies both your mother’s legacy and your own movement through the world. While I am not of Christian faith, the message of the poem is a good reminder of what is truly important. Thank you for sharing it with us!

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