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  • Writer's pictureShana Ritter

Poetry and Community

It’s poetry month and I am writing a poem a day with a small group of friends. We are posting up to a private shared page where we get to read each other’s poems and shout out lines. So far I have written eight poems, I may even go back to a few of them, but for now the important thing is not just that I am writing but that I have a community to share the joy I find in playing with language, a group of voices that cheer each other on.

Community and poetry are two words we often don’t put together but when I think of the workshops I’ve attended, the groups I’ve belonged to that have met regularly and irregularly, in person or on line, I realize how important that community is. How much I value a sense of belonging.

Last weekend was Passover, I attended two Seders and at each we had long conversations about what community looks like now. Most of us were over the age of 50, and so of course the comparison between virtual and three-dimensional community came up.

I almost said “real” community but I held back because my virtual communities are real – different – but real. The words on a page hold the light and texture of the wood paths around my home but never take the place of a walk. My “friends” can’t replace my friends and family but neither are they just numbers, they are connections, the threads of community.

Aubade with Praise

I want to rise into the day in praise of every little miracle yellow forsythia breaking open the flash of red winged song the woodpecker’s echo each unfolding leaf and newly flowering branch my own working arms and legs. Let me offer thanks for sight gratitude for touch even when I do not reach let me recognize the shape of your hand.

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