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Carry April

30 April, 2021: Carry April

Read a Poem

Carry April

By Mary M. Chadbourne

Along with old grocery lists,
shoe repair claims, bills,
I find on May 1st of my Recorday
this note to me: "Carry April forward."
I consider for a moment if the tulips
and daffodils will hold until I finish
my human agenda, or if I can possibly
take on May with April clearly in arrears.
Unsure now if I've finished March, I feel
unkind to these months that come
all these years, asking nothing of me
but to be April in April, May in May.
Besides, which parts of any
could I rightly reassemble—sunscapes,
the sweet, broken trill of robins?
The backlogged life of all I've tried
lies behind me like a long, lean hunger,
as I note under Things to Do Today
"Carry forward all loves, all summers."
“Carry April” by Mary M. Chadbourne. Copyright Mary M. Chadbourne 2020. Used By permission of the author.
Mary M. Chadbourne, BA, MA, BSN, taught English at Kent State University and the University of Akron. She was an environmental educator and consultant for over 30 years at the Institute for Environmental Education and Chadbourne & Chadbourne, Inc., and later worked as a medical-surgical RN for the Cleveland Clinic at Huron and Hillcrest Hospitals. Her poetry has appeared in The Brand-X Anthology of Poetry: A Parody Anthology, A Gathering of Poets, The Human Issue, The Kent Quarterly, and others. Her poems were also performed in “The Mirror of the Arts” series of the Poets’ League of Greater Cleveland.

Write a Poem

Write a poem about what community you have had during the Covid slowdown. Human, animal, virtual, face to face. Try to convey specific moments that created the sense of community.
Laurie K
@Mary, Tovli, Bill, Sydney, Pamela: Thank you for your kind words and faithful participation! HUGE gratitude to and appreciation of Diane Kendig, curator of all 8 years of this library poetry blog.
5/1/2021 12:00:50 PM

Mary M Chadbourne
Thank you so much for your thoughtful and generous comments on my poem. And thank you, CCPL, Diane Kendig, and all others who made possible this lively and lovely 30-day community of poetry and reflections. Peace and gratitude.
4/30/2021 4:36:01 PM

A special thank you to Cuyahoga Library for April Poetry Month. The prompts were awesome as were all the poets. I enjoyed every poet and made an attempt to read every poem. Very special. Thanks!
4/30/2021 3:20:21 PM

RE: Carry April
By Mary M. Chadbourne
What a poignant little story-poem; perfect to end 30 days of April Poems! A joy to read.
4/30/2021 3:17:38 PM

POEM DAY 30: Write a poem about what community you have had during the Covid slowdown. Human, animal, virtual, face to face. Try to convey specific moments that created the sense of community.

Finding Community

Not a foot print
left. Not the slightest reason to open the door.
Windows are ok—but only an inch at a time.

Nothing moves outside.
Under the kitchen table, Kafka hides like
yesterday’s dead mouse.
He still writes inside the book Old Man River gave me.

Old Man River…our mother’s youngest sibling.
Telephone rings: “Ah, Old Man River.
What you need? Why bother calling?”

“This morning, be a poet…Kafka doesn’t matter
any more. Let’s write the shortest poem we’ve ever imagined.
Stretch it, like a table cloth.
It hides everything, even Kafka’s dead mouse.”

Old Man River is lonely.
I hope he never stops talking.
I hope he never stops pretending to write.

“Your poem is too quiet, make it a community,
a story, an address so everyone belongs somewhere.”

“Like the Covid War?” I laugh.
My sound; my poem.
Let’s make noise, so I announce:
“‘A Country Doctor’ remember? Your favorite
Kafka story! Someone to knock on the door when you need a visit.”

“Like the Covid War!” He coughs.

His words; his sound…
…muscle stripped off a feverish bone.
“Nuh-Uhh. No longer. It’s ‘The Burrow.’ That’s my
favorite story now. Shapeless, hidden placement for when it all goes wrong.”

Got it…hung up the phone…
…picked Kafka off the floor…
…decided the dead mouse looked like my uncle.

No more voices; the telephone stopped ringing; the internet
was chiming vs. knocking. The door stayed closed, but I unlocked the windows.

• First, Old Man River called out, trying to say goodbye to everyone at once.
• Then it was every elder we had left.
• Nursing Homes locked their doors.
• I stayed outside, waving at their windows until no face waved back.

It took less than a year and a Maslowian attempt guaranteed to dismiss writers’ block.

Who listens anymore? Who talks? Who writes?
Not one finger pointed in my direction.
Proof there’s no one to mourn.
Might as well leave Kafka under the table,
like a coin in a charity box
or start writing poems small enough to cover a dead mouse.

I see what Old Man River meant:
it never ends—poets that is…
…somewhere there’s a tent with every voice kissing an air-pocket;
it’s all covered, perfectly arranged.
Every attempt to end a sentence eventually succeeds;
every country doctor about to knock on your door in the middle of the night finds their way back home.
Every word draws a cute little hideaway, dreams up salvation
and chooses the place you start running toward.

© Tovli 2021
4/30/2021 3:13:14 PM

Wiliam S Pennington
Thank you CCPL for Daily Poetry! That there are so many good poets associated with Northeastern Ohio inspires me.

Bill P.
4/30/2021 2:11:00 PM

Rob Farmer
I carry no seasonal accounting skill but suggest dropping five dark days from February.
4/30/2021 1:36:20 PM

Leigh-Anne D
KUDOS, Michelle Sokol! Your poem really connected with me.
4/30/2021 1:24:27 PM

This is a beautiful poem. The message I received is to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of each day and month.
4/30/2021 1:23:52 PM

Andrea Csia
Ms. Chadbourne, As someone who is obsessed with flowering trees and swimming pools, your poem filled my soul with beauty. "sunscapes...backlogged life...Things to Do Today
"Carry forward all loves, all summers." I love the way you write!
4/30/2021 1:13:46 PM

Bill Ritz
“The Community of Believers”

We are family:
The community of believers.
They gather at a place of worship.
The community has wained in number,
for fear trumped faith.
Oh, the constant mantra from news source,
or was it the government?
I can no longer tell the difference.
But family members endured.
The women no longer wore makeup.
The men no longer shaved.
Surgical masks held redeeming benefits.
Some saw a God looking down.
Some saw a demon looking up.
The community endured,
this round, anyway.
4/30/2021 12:53:38 PM

Sydney Landon Plum
I have really enjoyed this month of poetry. Like today's poem very, very much — especially "clearly in arrears." Although I read a great deal of poetry, I have also appreciated the book recommendations.
4/30/2021 12:48:19 PM

Pamela R. Anderson
Beautiful. Thank you...and thanks for 30 days of poetry.
4/30/2021 11:57:56 AM

Michelle Sokol
was divine
all my friends
were already
my house is alive
there are so so many of us
hearts beating
attitudes collide
one, two, three, four, five children surround me at all times
there is never
a space
to think
to speak
the difficulty in sustaining conversation
is neurologically
Thanks Dr. Greene
New ways to socialize
This is the way the life beats
sometimes I get to socialize
cashiers in the store
strangers in line
next to me
overly chatty
casually convertible
with the woman in the waiting room with me.
You really would not think a heart transplant could be such an amazing thing
Until it is walking and talking and thriving
Modern technology is beautiful
I would not have known
unless I was crammed
like a socially distanced sardine
in the waiting room
that day.
The general consensus
is that the whole world is a bit cleaner
less grimey
people smell better
and the distance is nice.
People are such an overload
In Covid time I thrived
normal rhythms
label me
'an island of our own'
In Covid times
the world was equal
to what I know
as normal
4/30/2021 11:53:42 AM

Sierra Polsinelli
A Covid Community

It has been ALL
about canines.

Candle Hill German Shepherd
Happy, silly, excitable

She teaches me patience
and perseverance.
She brought me friends
Chris Silvia and Willow,
fellow dog lovers,
pack walks,
training opportunities.

She brought me
Chris Ramsay
with his good humor,
his passion,
his calm, happy, smiling demeanor

We joined a canine community
and had adventures
big and small.

We learned as much about
as about our dogs.
We helped each other.
We walked, we waited
we observed
we pushed forward.

It was a special time
Life slowed to a walk
to a breath
the sound of
feet on pavement
of leashes and rattling tags.
4/30/2021 10:40:16 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.