This morning I learned that the United States will have a new Poet Laureate — Juan Felipe Herrera. I may have run across his poetry before, but now…well, I’m in love.
Here is the poem I first heard him recite: “Five Directions to my House.” This reading includes a little commentary afterward, and is well worth watching. I feel like he is a big lyrical teddy bear.
I immediately went to my library website and found all kinds of books written by this man — including a novel in verse that came out in 1999 (this form now very popular), an autobiography told as a picture book, a novel about a girl after 9/11, and so much more. As much as I am trying desperately not to think about teaching, I cannot help imagining an author study about this dazzling and approachable writer.
And, of course, I had to use his “Five Directions to My House,” not just because it is an easy form to follow, but because he mentions a guitar and I just wrote a poem about my guitar. It is fate! 🙂
I found that I am giving directions to the home that is in my heart. Right now, Cleveland is very much in the news and the excitement the city feels about the play-off games — well, I know that feeling. I know what it means to Cleveland sports fans. And yes, I am watching the games and yes, I forgive Lebron. He is amazing.
But, back to the poem. Here is my version:
Five Directions to My House
by Helen Sadler
1. Go back to the Cuyahoga River where the past never dies.
2. Climb up to the top of Cedar Point Hill and find solace in the pine forest.
3. Beneath the reflection of Lake Erie’s surface, perch grow to the strains of rock’n’roll.
4. Bob, bob red-breasted robin across the soft green lawn, your young bursting out of blue eggs.
5. You are there, the fractured silver maple leaves shimmering, the pink roses growing on a trellis by the front door, the crabapples falling gently from the tree.
6. I said five, but the missing skate key says six.