On Reading: A Poem for Poetry Potluck AND Monday Morning Writing Prompt

Woman reading

Image by National Media Museum via Flickr

 Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck: http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com/  This week’s theme is Hobbies and Pastimes, Passions and Entertainment. Stop by  the Potluck to read some poems offered by both seasoned and upcoming poets. Also posting to One Shot Wednesday: http://oneshotpoetry.blogspot.com/

On Reading

These days I spend my evenings in Ethiopia.
Torrential rains flood the shores of the Blue Nile.

I cut for stone in Operating Theater 3,
outside I hear the blaze of failed coup d’etat.

Dear Africa, I’ve trod the single file paths of
leafy jungles, ‘neath trees of Poisonwood,

through forests that devour, that feed on lives
of those misled in service of God’s holy name.

With Little Bee I, too, would flee to distant shores,
escape atrocities (only to be hurled once again upon your mercy.)

From Haiti also I’ve sought refuge. The slave of Valmorain set free but lost
to love forever and to my land, the island far beneath the sea.

As well would I take leave from Oklahoma’s dust
only to be lost to greater desperation in the land of wrathful vines.

In silent (though not passive) observation, I stand by, witness
the demise of hope, the emptiness of Gatsby and Buchanan

or see a tree spring forth from wretched poverty in Brooklyn’s
tenements where branches spread if roots grow strong and deep.

For those who read, there is no place forbidden,
no mountain that cannot be scaled, no culture

left forgotten, no life condemned to end in an obscure whimper.
No era will I leave untouched if I but open up a book and read.

This poem is based on a few of my travels in the land of fiction. If I were to exhaust the list of my favorite books in this poem I’m afraid I’d crash the site and definitely weary the reader. For today’s MONDAY MORNING WRITING PROMPT  I invite you to write a short poem or essay based on one (or more) of your favorite novels and post a link in the comment section of this post. Thank you!

34 thoughts on “On Reading: A Poem for Poetry Potluck AND Monday Morning Writing Prompt

  1. Judy Black says:

    Wow, what an amazing poem on reading. I love the images and the travelling around the entire world with your words. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Gigi Ann says:

    I loved your poem and passion of reading, that is my pastime also.


  3. Madeleine says:

    Gosh a very emotive powerful subject. very thought provoking.

    My entry is at http://scribbleandedit.blogspot.com/2010/12/going-loco.html


  4. hedgewitch says:

    Very good take on the world of the imagination, and of course, reading is the flip side of writing. Have to admit I’ve spent, overall, a lot more time with books than with a keyboard. Been a lot more places, and in some very congenial and also not so congenial company as well. Nice one, Victoria.


  5. Lisa says:

    OMG – this is SO SO good, awesome!! Over and over lines just compelled me, how beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing this with me



  6. moondustwriter says:

    Love the travels through fiction that your address with delight.
    I can never get enough of books- ever. Though I’m not reading as much as I’d like.
    We are so glad you stopped by One Shot today – please feel welcome anytime

    Dont know if you have heard about our anthology that is being published in early spring – it will be a compilation of our finest submissions. If you are interested, there is a button on our home page.

    Best to you and Happy Holidays



  7. Kavita says:

    I felt this one, Victoria!! Gosh… your poem has REALLY given me more than sufficient reason (and motivation) to resume reading! I haven’t read a book in months now…grrr!!!!
    Thanks for this BEE-YOU-TIFUL poem/reminder, my friend!!!
    Book shelf (with at least 12 unread books), HERE I COME!!!!



  8. Eric says:

    “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” – I know the name, but have yet to read it. (So many books, so little time!) Nice One Shot!


  9. Luke Prater says:

    Let us not forget the book! Personally I don’t think it’ll ever die, even with advancements in technology. Nice homage to it here



  10. signed .............bkm says:

    my favorite of yours….wow, I can feel the passion in this piece…really a classical that last line…thank you so much for sharing….blessings…bkm


  11. Shashi says:

    Great work of bringing it all together.. I enjoyed it

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya


  12. Reading is fantastic habit.

    Reading people and their bodies and visiting inside of various abdomen is much more thrilling for me.

    Enjoyed the poem very much.


  13. Nanka says:

    You are an avid reader and through your poem have transported us to many places.

    The most magical lines being

    For those who read, there is no place forbidden,
    no mountain that cannot be scaled, no culture”

    Great work for the day!!


  14. Carl says:

    The geographical power of books is one of the most important. Thank you for sharing this big journey!


  15. danroberson says:

    There is no stone unturned, no star forbidden, no atom ignored, whenever books abound. With books paths less traveled, destinations sought, passage bought, it’s all there. Thanks for taking me along with you.


  16. Bodhirose says:

    Love this adventurous poem that showcased the joys of reading so very well. It was a toss-up for me to write about reading or gardening–I can’t do without either.

    Thank you, Victoria!


  17. Especially loved the Steinbeck mention of Oklahoma dust and wrathful vines. What a marvelous life, the life of a reader!

    Thanks! Found you on Jingle’s Potluck. Will be back again – your writing reflects carefully considered choices of thought and wording.

    Amy Barlow Liberatore


  18. hope hayduk says:

    awesome! perfectly expressed!

    thank you


  19. trisha says:

    that was a very vivid journey victoria.


  20. A.B. Thomas says:

    I am in total awe of such an elegant way to describe the act of reading!


  21. “For those who read, there is no place forbidden,
    no mountain that cannot be scaled, no culture”

    I totally agree!!! reading takes us places, keep us dreaming and believing 🙂

    lovely poem




  22. Jessica says:

    Lovely poem devoted to your passion for reading! Full of interesting references.



  23. You beautifully desribed the power of books, reading and writing.


  24. Dennis says:

    Reading fiction brought you to a hundred places. Reading your poem brings me to a thousand. 🙂


  25. Mary Bach says:

    Such power in reading, and in your words. Kudos.


  26. You’re a true lover of written words.I love to read ,too.reading your words made me realize it more.

    Fabulous work as always,Victoria.Amazing how you captured the magic of book reading!

    Truly passionate post.


  27. Truly a reader’s poem AND a writer’s poem. Captures the adventure. I love it. Well done and thank you! 🙂


  28. Teresa says:

    What a wonderful journey through fiction! I love how you chose to pay tribute to your hobby/pastime.

    Mine are here http://razzamadazzle.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/hobbies-passions-pastimes-entertainment/ and http://razzamadazzle.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/i-am/


  29. Bill Sigler says:

    Hm, lemme see, Barbara Kingsolver, Isabelle Allende, John Steinbeck
    F. Scott Fitzgerald … oops I see it’s on the tags, just in time for the one I don’t recognize, Betty Smith — hers was a wonderful world to inhabit as well. Nice job on this.


  30. Kelly Hay says:

    Reading definitely has the ability to transport us to other worlds! One imagines, learns and grows through the pages of a great book!


  31. timkeen40 says:

    I love the post. Reading is one of the most personal things you can do. The writer, no matter how disciplined, can not help leave just a little trace of themselves in the work.



  32. Jingle says:

    love it,
    reading is such a magical hobby.

    read 10, 000 books, it is equivalent to traveling 10, 000 miles…
    reading is beyond time and space.

    Thanks for sharing with potluck!



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