April is the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Month, a celebration of poets and poetry, started by the Academy of American Poets. I’ve selected poetry by Abria Smith for my second poetry post this year. Reading the poems of Abria Smith, whom I’ve known for some time, I am struck by her sensitivity and keen observations in her book Somebody Soup. I am amazed by how many times in reading her poems I think, she’s felt what I’ve felt, she’s observed what I’ve observed. Despite being born in different decades and raised in different parts of the USA, we are connected. Such is the power of art, in particular literature – there is unity and recognition when we are able to listen to and come to know each other.
Abria’s poems invite you in. She is warm, with a ready if shy smile, and goofy. She is a poet, actor, singer, and arts administrator. She has gorgeous eyes. She is a generous person. Her generosity is encoded in this book which includes poems from her family and friends (in the final section). The sections of the book are: (1) Somebody Lost, (2) and Found, (3) Somebody Sensual, (4) and Proud, (5) Somebody Faithful, (6) Somebody Spoken, and (7) Somebody Else’s Soup.
Selecting which poems to share is difficult – I can’t choose all that I like. Some I would share should be discovered by readers as they turn the pages of Somebody Soup. So, I’m just sharing two and hope that you are inspired to purchase the book.
Behind the Glass by Abria Smith (Somebody Soup poems by Abria M. Smith, copyright 2019))
The NICU always seemed inviting when
I’d see my tiny child behind the glass,
In the glow of bilirubin light,
Amidst a vast entanglement of tubes
That breathed artificial life into my hopes.
This life that started on its course too soon
And slow blossomed from a fate unclear,
Does not remember those cribs with bars of steel.
Nor the sting of intravenous meds
Given to a child too weak to breathe.
I’d feed her through a nasogastric tube.
My breast milk, pumped for her, was liquid strength.
I watched her sleep, so hopeful she’d grown stronger.
Knowing not if I would have it in me
To help her grow and someday let her go.
Now once again I watch her through the glass
With ponytails and tales of what she’ll learn.
Reluctantly, I leave the toddler class, knowing…
From here she’ll grow, explore the world,
leave home and merely be
Behind the glass, a picture framed for me.
(#NICU – neonatal intensive care unit)
Given a Chance
Given a chance, a bud of hope will bloom.
As do all living things when given room.
Give a chance, a friendship can grow
When you open your heart to someone you don’t know.
Give a chance, inner beauty shines through
Those you once thought were so unlike you.
And given a chance, we can all be whole
If we judge with our minds less
And more with our souls.
Thank you for your poetry, Abria. (By the way, Abria is a fellow with the Creative Entrepreneur Fellowship of the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston.)
Order Somebody Soup
To learn more about Abria
I’ve done lots of poetry sharing on my blog over the years, here’s a couple of posts you might like:
Can I Poet With You? – Clarence Major