Poetry Friday-a-Bit-Early: Laughing So Loud

h1 April 29th, 2010 by jules

Ah. Poetry Friday, I’ve missed you. Well, I hosted a couple weeks ago, but it still feels like forever since I’ve simply shared a poem I read and loved.

And that’s what I’m doing today. And this will be short and sweet. I’ll let the poem speak for itself. Except to say, quite simply, that I’m edging forty. Surprisingly to me, it’s challenging my previously-held beliefs that I Won’t Mind Getting Older, and it’s been making me feel restless. Making me stare at young ones in their twenties and wanting to pull them aside on the street and whisper to them: Be sure you live it up. Wield passion. Laugh loud and undiminished (as David Gray once wrote).

So, here then is Ron Koertge’s “Do You Have Any Advice For Those of Us Just Starting Out?” (also featured in ’09 at Sara Lewis Holmes’ fantastic blog). Rather, here’s part of it with a link to the poem-in-its-entirety at Poetry 180. It’s short. And powerful. Won’t take you long to read. Enjoy.

* * * * * * *

“Give up sitting dutifully at your desk. Leave
your house or apartment. Go out into the world.

It’s all right to carry a notebook but a cheap
one is best, with pages the color of weak tea
and on the front a kitten or a space ship.

Avoid any enclosed space where more than
three people are wearing turtlenecks. Beware
any snow-covered chalet with deer tracks
across the muffled tennis courts…”

Read the rest here.

* * * * * * *

Poetry Friday is being hosted tomorrow by Mary Ann at Great Kid Books. Also: Don’t miss Tricia’s April feature on Koertge at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

9 comments to “Poetry Friday-a-Bit-Early: Laughing So Loud”

  1. I appreciate that Poetry 180 series so much, and I LOVE this one, very much.

    I adore Ron Koertge.

  2. This one is good to read over and over, isn’t it? I somehow end up at my own navel-gazing desk instead of out in the world unless poetry reminds me to see the day differently.

    I’m in awe of Poetry 180. The selection of poems is fresh, discussion-worthy, and with hardly a false note. I really would love to hear a bang-up report (or documentary!) of 180 making waves in our schools. Do you think it’s happening or just quietly sliding by?

  3. I’m with Tanita. Collins’s Poetry 180 series is great. I have both of the Poetry 180 books.

    This Koertge poem is a favorite of mine. I think I posted it quite some time ago on a Poetry Friday at Blue Rose Girls.

    Have a lovely weekend!

  4. I printed this one out when Sara posted it, and it’s on the bulletin board over my desk here at work (along with another one Sara posted, a rearranged poem, “Grace,” which is very library-appropriate: http://saralewisholmes.blogspot.com/2008/06/poetry-friday-patron-handbooks.html).

  5. Yes! Love this one. Wonderful to read it again, and to be reminded to go out into the world. You, forty? Just a baby. 🙂

  6. I love it. I’m new to Poetry Fridays and can’t wait to dig in!

    Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Thanks, you all. Adrienne, that would be a good one to print and hang.

    Jama, edging 40. I’ll be 38 soon. I’m not in the fetal position on the floor or anything. It’s just ….interesting. Anyway, what I love about this poem is how it fits many moods/prompts many questions.

    Thanks for visiting, all.

  8. I took my own advice and went out in the world. Then came back to read these lovely comments. Now to the real task — handicapping tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby.

    P.S. I’ll bet many of you know Tony Hoagland’s poems but if not, check them out!


  9. LOVE this poem, and especially today, when I am cooped up inside, “sitting dutifully at my desk”. Oh, Jules, you are SO old at almost 38! I had to snicker (ok, laugh quite loudly, but not too hard, for fear of falling over and breaking my hip, at almost-but-not-quite 49) at that one. But that is very good advice for the “young ones”. Thanks for the reminder.

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