The Poetry Box

For my birthday a few years ago my sweetheart made me a poetry box for our front garden.  It’s surrounded by an old lavender bush and is a weathered thing of beauty, all wood and amber glass, with a window to view the poem from the sidewalk.  I make sure the font is large enough to read when I place a new poem out each week.  

Sometimes I peek from behind the curtains and watch as passersby read silently or aloud, to their companions.  My favorite “customer” stands slightly stooped and softly reads them to his dogs. His reverence for the words is like honey. 

Today the Poetry Foundation sent me a poem by the brilliant Twyla M. Hansen and I held my breath through the reading of it.  It felt like she was telling my story.  I simply had to share it.  The poem is from her new book, Rock. Tree. Bird.  It was published by The Backwaters Press this year.  Please support her and buy the book. 

For No Good Reason

by Twyla M. Hansen

As if you needed one,
as if you could help it,
for no good reason
a tune out of nowhere
pops into your head
when you least expect,
riffs effortlessly in the
folds of your cerebrum—

your own private jukebox,
your personal music device
on random minus the earbuds—
drumming itself up to keep
you company: here, a little
Janis Joplin while you vacuum
cat hair; there, a John Denver line
as you peel potatoes at the sink.

How can others not hear it,
this frequent odd gift?
Sometimes you forget
and blurt the words to the chorus,
which, after all, is all you can remember,
those take me home, country roads,
that feelin’ good was good enough
for me
, even conjuring

the gas station in Colorado
back where you, wearing
those bell bottoms and that
paisley, were about to fill a tank
of freedom into the blue VW Bug
when Carole King belted out
and it’s too late baby, now it’s too late
though we really did try to make it

and you couldn’t move, couldn’t
quit sobbing to the steering wheel
that would not console those blues
or say what you had left to lose,
wouldn’t question why in hell
you were going down that road
where for no good reason
you seemed to be heading.

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