National Poetry Month: Oolitic Strata #Poem

April is National Poetry Month. The event got started in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. The place of poetry in our daily lives is too often over-looked, and yet anyone who listens to music with lyrics is a fan of poetry. During the years I spent as an English teacher, I most looked forward to teaching my poetry unit. Poetry gives us free reign to simply play and find glory in the power of language.

The poem below is written in free verse which means there is no set rhyme scheme. The inspiration initially came from my all-time favorite word, which I encountered in a geology class. Hands down, oolitic is just a fun word to say. It refers to the porous composition of sedimentary rocks like limestone and sandstone. My wordplay eventually resulted in a poem that became an extended metaphor in which I compare students’ disengaged mindsets to being similar to rocks full of holes.

Oolitic Strata

Beneath the lens the oolites show
Fascinating porosity; repelling density
Stones of relative lightness
Up close revealing an unchartered world
Sedimentary rock—sedentary blocks

Vapid brains disinterested in all
Myopically concerned oolitic mind masses
Brains supposedly malleable like clay
Are akin to heads of cement
Unfocused, unused, and unalterable

Unwilling or unable to connect?
These oolids before me
So full of holes that I want to fill
What impression do I make?
That I cannot say…

I am an alien to them who reads books

Admittedly, I don’t write poetry nearly as often as I would like. At least National Poetry Month gives me an excuse to dabble in composing a few lines of verse. Maybe what I like the most about poetry is how alluring it is to strip language down to the most essential words needed to convey meaning. I just know I like it. Does poetry need any other excuse?

Do you have a favorite word and when and where do you remember first encountering it? What role does poetry play in your daily life?

Learn more about National Poetry Month.

Permission must be granted by Jeri Walker-Bickett to use the image in this post.

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