What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Trading on the Poetry Exchange


Photo by rknickme on / CC BY-NC-ND

Let me start by saying this post combines two things I don’t generally indulge in – chain letters and poetry. Hear me out.

A few days ago, a former colleague and cherished friend included me in a chain letter of sorts. The email, with as many personal caveats and parenthetical as I typically employ (now that I think of it, of course we’re friends!), explained that I was to send a bit of poetry to the first name on the list, then add my name, blah blah blah. If this particular email had been from anyone else, into the recycle bin it would have gone. But I really dig this lady’s brain, you see, so on I read. As it happens, another fiercely fabulous friend had posted something she’d penned just that day, and it seemed like the perfect fit. So, miraculously, I played along. Although it wasn’t in the instructions, I replied to the sender, thanking her for including me and letting her know what I had sent along. She responded with her submission and one of those she herself received from a stranger. They both made me cry. And think.

And so here it is. I’m not much of a chain letter gal, but I do like the idea of sharing something that moves us. So below are the poem posted by my friend and the poem my sender friend shared. (As it turns out, the piece she received in response to the letter is something I actually wrote about in 2015.)

Let a blessed coolness ruffle the bad tempers and inflamed hearts of aggressors domestic and foreign.
Let love in to keep our hearts and minds open despite a turbulent beginning to this year.
Rest well. Dream sweetly.
We will try again tomorrow.
We must try again tomorrow.

– Jenn Yarosh

Epitaph By Merrit Malloy

When I die
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.

And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes
And not your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,
Give me away.

You can guess what comes next, right? If you have something you’d like to share, be it a favorite piece of poetry, a lyric, story, or even a blog post, feel free to share it in the comments below. I really look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

9 thoughts on “Trading on the Poetry Exchange

  1. Oh goodness…this is way beyond my ability but I will enjoy reading everyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love these poems. Here is one from me, though I didn’t write it. I wish I knew who did but I can’t find the author. I’ve had it saved in my documents for years and take it out now and then to remind myself.

    Here is your mission:

    Be Joyful!
What, no dragons
to slay? but, but, but…
    The world has had too

    many battles, too many
bad guys and heroes.

    What it desperately

    needs now is joy!
    Retire the “old me,”
the “no-longer-good me;”

    wrap it in yesterday’s news

    and put it by the curb.
    Make room for the joyous

    one that you are becoming.

    Let harmony sing its song

    with love as its counterpoint.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on The Reluctant Poet and commented:
    Be sure you read the poem Epitaph by Merrit Malloy, included in this post – It is Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Famous

    The river is famous to the fish.

    The loud voice is famous to silence,
    which knew it would inherit the earth
    before anybody said so.

    The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
    watching him from the birdhouse.

    The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

    The idea you carry close to your bosom
    is famous to your bosom.

    The boot is famous to the earth,
    more famous than the dress shoe,
    which is famous only to floors.

    The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
    and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

    I want to be famous to shuffling men
    who smile while crossing streets,
    sticky children in grocery lines,
    famous as the one who smiled back.

    I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
    or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
    but because it never forgot what it could do.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Winter” by Constance Merritt after Lucie Brock-Broido

    winter crossing

    bleak annulled

    dulcimer damaged

    choir miraculous

    air &

    monstrous ravishing

    animal fallen

    calls nightsky

    ghost spectacle

    again lynch

    light loved

    flint bliss

    starfish tissue

    shrouds lukewarm

    sheathes everything

    fanatic vanishing

    “A while back I attended a poetry workshop at the Speed Art Museum that explored randomness as a compositional technique; as a way of trying to re-engage with poetry, I started collecting a single line from the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day emails with an eye to composing a cento. At some point I fell hopelessly behind and abandoned the project. I recently returned to these files to see what, if anything, I might make of a smattering of borrowed words and found that much might be made. I called the file containing this work ‘Erasures’ as a reflection of the process, but perhaps ‘Borrowed Words’ or ‘Borrowed Tongues’ might be a more resonant working title. It is lovely to return at least one of these poems to the soil from which it grew.”
    —Constance Merritt

    This technique reminded me your chain letter technique. Plus I find the poem (which I found on Poem-a-Day) exquisite.

    Liked by 1 person

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