Poem of the Month provided by ELAR 9-12
  • Every month we take a look at a new poem that allows us to be a part of a human experience collectively.


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  • January Poem of the Month

    January Poem of the Month

    At the Time of My Birth, by Oliver De La Paz
    is a picturesque poem that will get your year started with fresh child-like eyes. The sharp contrast between new life and the humdrum of what becomes of them is what drew me to this poem. The newborn uses a cacophony of words such as nerves, boiling, snapped and throbbed to describe these strange and novel experience. A harsh reality they have unwillingly entered. The child states, "I kept/a fist in my mouth..." as if to indicate the need to have a familiar tactile feeling close by. The word 'kept' let's the reader know the fist is recognizable from initial birth and the 'fist' indicates the uncertainty and and jarring awareness that is settling into this 'strident' child. This unweildy feeling begins to dissipate as the child's world becomes smaller and smaller. From outdoor sounds of cars and unrelenting world to the sweeing feeling of being embraced, this child reminds us that when the noise outside becomes too much, we need to find a soft, natural space to breathe.

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  • At the Time of My Birth

    I wondered how long I could go on
    once the rain had stopped. My nerves
    were wedged like wings under a hat.
    Corncobs bobbed in boiling water. I kept
    a fist in my mouth. I was strident.
    The neat house curved like a draining sink.
    Hot cars shined outside. Their engines
    snapped like a chamois. I never
    wanted to leave. The streets were suet-thick.
    The hucksters had tinny voices. They had
    swollen drums. They had gravel underfoot
    and tongues that could peel citrus.
    Radios throbbed. The wet hush
    of my breath flung itself to mother.
    The soft dark skin. The sweet
    curl of the arm. The hum.