This poetry month was an extra special month for me. As a part of poetry month I had the great opportunity to meet Rupi Kaur who is the author of the wonderful book Milk and Honey. I have been writing poetry for quite a while now but sometime last year I had the misfortune of losing all my work when a virus crashed my computer and I lost everything. I had printed out much of my work, but as Murphy's law would predict, I, had misplaced it, and of course had not backed up any of my work.
(Future Advice* : ALWAYS BACKUP YOUR WORK!)
When it seemed all my poems were lost, I also lost any inspiration to write. I tried sometimes, but nothing came. Early this year on a trip to the chapters in Brampton I came across a book of poems called Milk and Honey. My significant other Khristian found out that the author would be visiting that very location in the month of April. I began reading her book of poems and began to feel inspired again. My mom then informed me that she had many of my poems printed out from times when I had emailed them to her in the past. She put them in a package and sent them to me. They arrived the week before Rupi would be sharing at Chapters. I was so happy to have them back. I typed them all out again. It was like being reunited with an old friend.
I was excited to hear that Rupi was going to give time for a few local poets to share their work. I thought, well I'm going to be there anyway so maybe I could share some of my work (something I had never done with more than a few people). I was nervous about it, but thought being nervous was maybe reason enough to share my poem. The event information said that there would be an opportunity to sign up to share our poems on the day of the event (first come, first serve). Since I was still a little nervous I thought I would sign up as soon as I arrived. If there was any space available I would share, but if not that was ok too. As I got there I discovered the sign up list was full (too bad, I thought). The person organizising the event noticed that I had brought my poems and mentioned to me that even though they were fully booked, if anyone scheduled to read their poem backed out they would let me take their place. There we were with the event scheduled to start in an hour, and quite a few people already there. I figured I would just enjoy the event, and get Rupi to sign my book after. About 20 minutes before the event was to start a Chapters’ employee came to me and said with encouragement that someone had dropped out, and asked would I like to share my poem. I froze for a moment, and thought; I’m scared, I’m nervous, I don’t do spoken word. The thought that came so clearly to mind was; you’ll regret it if you don’t. I squeaked out the letters O.K, and left my seat to take my place amongst the other presenters. They were all very friendly, they all seemed to do spoken word, or had their work memorized. Most had done similar things before, either at school or church, or at similar events and were very encouraging to me. Everyone also seemed to be nervous in their own particular ways about performing. Rupi, had after all, drawn a rather large crowd. Rupi ushered her was so unassumingly to the front of the stage. Her book so familiar in her hands, she began to share the intimate truths therein. She shared some of her favorite poems from Milk and Honey, all with such artful and resonant honesty that the crowd could not deny its truth. She also performed some of her beautiful spoken word work. Her work is so honest and insightful. I recommend it to everyone, but especially to women. There are some powerful words for women in her work.
Rupi took a break and now it was time for us to share our work, and then one at a time the MC called our names. Each aspiring poet shared their work. The room was receptive, and encouraging. As my turn came, I told the crowd that it was my first time and to be gentle. I shared part of a poem I wrote a few years ago called Celestial Haze. Even with the papers in front of me I got nervous and messed up towards the end of the poem, I froze for about half a second. The crowd cheered in encouragement, I shrugged my shoulders and with it shrugged off my nervousness and continued as best I could on to the end. Once it was all over I was glad it was over, and I was so very glad that I read it. I remember the old adage that says to try something that scares you everyday. Every day may be a bit extreme to me, but once in a while doing something outside the comfort zone has to be good for you. It has been good for me.
This is Rupi's book Milk and Honey. If you're interested in the book here is a link: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/milk-and-honey/9781449474256-item.html
And if you would like to learn more about Rupi and her work check out her site: http://www.rupikaur.com/
Here is one of my favorite pieces from Rupi's book Check her out on Instagram and Facebook:
I would also like to share with you the piece I shared that night:
Day passes on and ushers in night
And stars to fill up the sky
Surrounding the moon on a late summer’s eve
The falling ones passing me by
They hold lore of old celestial gods
Painted throughout the night
Seeing but shadows of tales forlorn
Perhaps now they only bring light
These fiery beings so far beyond
What we can see and feel
Were they once deities upon this earth
Maybe their stories are real
Old heavenly beings of cultures long gone
Do some still pray to their thrones?
Or look to the sky in the dead of night
Remembering the tales carved in stones
Spirits who granted the wishes of some
And sent others to their doom,
Those who paid homage and sacrifice
To the ones in a heavenly room
More than mere royalty these deities were
With power and beauty from above,
They toyed with the people who praised their name
Sending message with only a dove
These beacons of wisdom
With guidance and light
Selected patrons for mercy
Illuminating more than the night
Their prophets claim favour
For duties foreseen,
Demanding a sacrifice
For fear of being forever unclean
Their stories live on
In the people who tell
Of the earth carved from nothing
A once hollow shell
Perhaps one day
It will return to that state
The tabula rasa
And emptied clean slate
But what of forgiveness
Repentance and sin
Who will now judge us?
From killing our kin
Must we believe?
In more than ourselves
Should we give praise?
Through the book on the shelf
Of a god or the many
On a celestial throne
Will all enter heaven?
Or will we suffer alone?
Is it the one?
Who worked for six days?
Or the many on mount Olympus,
Made famous in plays
What about the different
Names that they are called
Does it matter is we send worship
To one not known by all?
Or will we suffer forever
For our naive gaze
Towards the gods in the heavens
In their celestial haze