My name is Brooke Carbaugh and I am a current Hope College sophomore from Orbisonia, Pennsylvania. I am a newcomer to the lakeshore community, but I love the proximity to Lake Michigan, eating ice cream, and hiking through Michigan’s beautiful landscape. As the newest member of the BigRead team, I am excited to begin the month of May with some thoughts about poetry. April was poetry month, but the BigRead team wanted to continue sharing some of our favorite poems.

The first week of May brings Holland’s Tulip Time Festival with blooming flowers, street vendors, and years of tradition. This is my first year in Holland for Tulip Time and I have been reminded of the beauty of celebrating and participating in new traditions.

Poetry has a long-standing tradition of granting insight into the experiences and emotions of others. Even though the language is sometimes confusing, the images and stories within literature create understanding between the author and reader. There are many ways to connect with and appreciate poetry when the meaning of the poem may be difficult to understand. I challenge you to choose a favorite line or lines after reading the selected poem and reflect on why those lines speak to you.

Relic by Jennifer Foerster 

An atlas

on the underside of my dream.

My half-shut eyelid—

a black wing.

I dipped sharp quills

in the night’s mouth—

moths swarmed

from my throat.

I pulled a feather blanket

over my skeleton

and woke—

a map of America

flapping in the dark.

Once I dreamt

of inheriting this—

my mother

who still follows crows

through the field,

my sister’s small hand

tucked inside hers,

me on her breast

in a burial quilt.

Foerster, Jennifer. “Relic.”, 2015. 

As I was reading this poem, the phrase “I pulled a feather blanket/ over my skeleton/ and woke-” stood out to me. These lines reminded me of the countless times I crawled into bed with a blanket and slowly drifted to sleep. Additionally, the decision to use “skeleton” instead of “body” grabbed my attention. I could clearly see this image in my mind and admired the simplicity of these lines. This poem contains many vibrant images and appreciating a poem can be as simple as choosing a few lines that speak to you as the reader.

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