To My Friend, With Love

All is still; all quiet;
The world seems to be at peace.
My soul is singing its rhythmic melody
And I'm led like in a trance to write its tunes.
The lyrics are for you.
The essence of friendship.

I have what so many people in this world
Yearn so desperately for: a friend.
A friend who's closer to me than skin
And worth more than life itself.

You have shared in my pain, as has no other
And touched my wounded spirit
With tender expressions of compassion.
Your heart bled when you felt my grief;
Your empathy and sensitivity
Transmitted affection no words ever could.

Your unfailing loyalty has been inexhaustible,
Regardless of what it may have cost you
Personally.
You have made great sacrifices
On my behalf
Unconditionally.

You accepted me as I was and am;
Appreciating my strengths,
Challenging my weaknesses,
Guarding my vulnerabilities,
Accepting my imperfections,
Valuing my humanity.

You have buttressed the arrows
People often shot in my direction;
Willingly absorbing suffering
Meant for me.
Adversaries tried to put a wedge between us
To no avail;
Our friendship too secure,
Our commitment too strong

Our friendship has been tested
In so many diverse ways,
But we have a love and strength of will
That refuses to let go.
Though sometimes charred, we healed,
And discovered a closer union in the process.

I'm possessive of our friendship
Because I know how rare it is
And how difficult to find
And keep.

You have earned the greatest title
That can be bestowed
Upon any human being.
The title of: Friend.

In friendship honor of Marjorie K. Thomas

Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, veteran social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. http://www.clergyservices4u.org She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, will be available soon.

In The News:

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In These New Essays, John McPhee Finds Poetry in the Material at Hand  The New York TimesThe Patch,” his seventh collection, probes landscapes from New Jersey to Alaska and profiles a vast cast of characters, from Joan Baez to Thomas Wolfe.
The best Canadian poetry of 2018  CBC.ca2018 was a great year for books. Here are CBC Books's top 12 Canadian works of poetry that came out this year.
Can Poetry Help Us Create Meaning Out Of Despair?  wgbh.orgPoet Richard Blanco highlighted his favorite works by poet Ada Limón, which are united by a common theme of searching for meaning in "seeming oblivion."
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West Hollywood Welcomes the Holidays with Poetry from City Poet Laureate  The Pride LAThe holiday are just around the corner, and the City of West Hollywood knows how to celebrate! - Advertisement -. Each year, the City's Art Division creates a ...
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PEN America Mourns Meng Lang, "Exquisite Poet, Courageous Activist"  PEN America"Meng Lang was an exquisite poet, a publisher and promoter of the work of colleagues, a courageous activist, and a strong believer in freedom and human ...
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Two Canadian collections make New York Times' top 10 poetry picks  The TelegramNEW YORK — Two Canadian poets have made the New York Times Book Review's list of the best poetry collections of 2018. Richard Sanger of Toronto was ...
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A Poet Takes Aim at the Literary and Political Patriarchy  The New York TimesIn Anne Waldman's latest collection, “Trickster Feminism,” her verses argue on behalf of collective expression — and collective responsibility.
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Two New Volumes by Adrienne Rich, Game-Changing Feminist, Poet and Essayist  The New York TimesSelected Poems: 1950-2012,” and “Essential Essays: Culture, Politics, and the Art of Poetry,” are laden with insights that, six years after Rich's death, remain as ...
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Poetry plagiarism: All the twists in row surrounding Deepa Nisanth and Sreechithran  The News MinuteOn Thursday, writer, teacher and occasional orator Deepa Nisanth, teaching at the Sree Kerala Varma College in Thrissur, was accused of plagiarising a poem.
The importance of poetry and reading between the lines | Letters  The GuardianLetters: Mary Gameson wants to see poetry on our front pages, while Joan Lewis looks into Sats results and reading ability.
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Award-winning poet Ted Blodgett overflowed with inspiration  The Globe and MailPoetic inspiration could strike Ted Blodgett at any time. While he was sitting at a concert, for instance, or in the bathtub. He would then have to get up and ...
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Complicated, Challenging 'Revolution Sunday' Mixes Prose And Poetry  NPRCuban writer Wendy Guerra has lived under surveillance in her home country, and she works that experience into her intense new novel about a young poet in ...
Monday's Google Doodle Honors Poet Nelly Sachs  ForbesMonday's Google Doodle honors poet and playwright Nelly Sachs, who escaped from Nazi Germany in 1940 and gave a voice to the horrors of the Holocaust ...
Poetry Programme preview: TS Eliot Prize nominee Ailbhe Darcy  RTE.ieIn the Poetry Programme at 7:30 pm on Sunday 16th December on RTÉ Radio 1, Olivia O'Leary meets Ailbhe Darcy, whose collection Insistence has been ...
Prize-nominated poet's debut cancelled as plagiarism accusations build  The GuardianSeveral authors have accused Ailey O'Toole of using their poems to write her own, including the Pushcart-nominated Gun Metal. Alison Flood. Thu 6 Dec 2018 ...
Patrick Kavanagh, a poet who never shunned hard truths, inspires a new generation  The Irish TimesThe Lea-Green Down features more than 60 new poems responding to Kavanagh's work.
Instagram poets make me ask: What is good poetry?  America MagazineIf one more Instagram poet tells me how to feel or what to think, I am going to lose my mind. I was bursting to scream this as I read through Nikita Gill's book of ...
Poetry spot: 'Teeth of Our House' by Jennifer Conlon  AZCentralPoetry spot is part of a collaboration with local poets to bring poetry closer to the center of our everyday lives.
Young poets compete in Lakota Nation Invitational poetry slam  KotatvRAPID CITY, S.D, (KOTA TV)- To celebrate the arts, several poets battled it out with poetry at the Rushmore Civic Center. Several poets competed in a few ...
Poetry Twitter Erupts over a Plagiarist in Their Midst  VultureAiley O'Toole tattooed a poem onto her skin from her Puschart Prize-nominated poem “Gun Metal.” It turns out she'd stolen those words from Rachel McKibbens.
On Poetry: Finding the spirit of holiness | Local News  Traverse City Record EagleI know, I know, not all of us are Christians. The poet himself was Jewish. But it seems like this poem, this story, opens itself to multiple cultures. The story.
Full Episode: Seth Moulton, Former Mass. House Speaker Sal DiMasi, Using Poetry In Medicine  WBURHost Deborah Becker speaks with Rep. Seth Moulton as the federal government is on the verge of another shutdown. Also, now that he's out of prison on ...
Best books of 2018: Poetry  Financial TimesThe Coming of the Little Green Man, by John Agard, Bloodaxe Books, RRP£9.95. In the year when we learnt of the damage and cruelty that the UK's ...
UW Researcher Promotes Use Of Poetry In Science  Wyoming Public MediaA paper published in BioScience looks at how poetry can be used to teach scientific concepts and how researchers can use poetry to gain a new perspective.
Listen: Poetry in Atlanta shows another side of city culture  Atlanta Journal ConstitutionListen now or open in iTunes or Google Play: Atlanta poet Ryan Jones may have felt defea...
Poetry in motion (0-5)  FC BarcelonaSensational football sees Barça power their way to victory in Valencia. Yet another hat-trick for Leo Messi's collection; Luis Suárez and Gerard Piqué get the ...
Poet Laureate shares meaningful message  Houma CourierTracy K. Smith is on a mission.Smith, the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States, has been touring the nation in her American Conversations: Celebrating ...
The Problem With Silence as Festival Poetry Calabar opens  Guardian NigeriaWith 'The Problem with Silence: Poets in Crisis Periods'as theme, Poets in Nigeria (PIN) will on December 20 through 22, 2018 hold the fourth edition of this ...
The best poetry books of 2018  The Irish TimesOur critics choose works by Mahon, Jamie, O'Sullivan and others.
Robin Robertson: ‘Writing poetry has very little to do with the intellect’  The GuardianThe Scottish poet and editor on defying conventions of genre, the elusive nature of what he does, and the importance of external validation.
Hurling and poetry: Ó Bhéal’s word-clash of the ash  Irish ExaminerBy John Tynan. IF EVER there was a field sport so poetic that words can only but strive to do it justice, it is hurling and its proponents, the Cúchulains of Croker, ...
Here's to another poetry plagiarism scandal – and here's how to fix it  The Globe and MailPlagiarism scandals seem to be popping up more frequently in poetry than in any other genre. Every week there is incontrovertible proof that some poet has ...
Lemn Sissay’s Superkids — can poetry help troubled minds?  Financial Times“They're thought of as intrinsically bad,” says poet Lemn Sissay, referring to children in care. I would have thought most people would realise that such children ...
The power of poetry to bring different cultures closer  Daily News & AnalysisThe power of poetry to bring different cultures closer - It will be hard for people living today to believe that his sole subject of discourse was Tamil poetry.
A Puschart Prize-Nominated Poet Has Been Accused Of Plagiarism By Numerous Poets  BustleAnother literary prize, another scandal. Poet Rachel McKibbens, whose latest collection, blud, came out earlier this year, has accused Pushcart Prize-nominee ...
National Student Poet shares gifts with hometown  Huntington Herald DispatchHUNTINGTON - Huntington's own National Student Poet Darius Atefat-Peckham shared his talent with his hometown Tuesday at the Cabell County Public ...
Poetry Corner: Silver Lining  coloradoboulevard.netPoetry Corner: Silver Lining, with Natalia Kuznetsova, Christina Sng, Pat Geyer, Wendy Bialek, Hazel Hall, and Gerry Jaconson. Hosted by Kathabela Wilson.
First time out: Debut poetry by Duy Doan, Chanda Feldman, July Westhale  San Francisco ChronicleOpening Duy Doan's debut poetry collection, “We Play a Game” (Yale University Press; $20), we enter an elusive world of syllables and animals, where past and ...
Road-Tripping With California's Poet Laureate (Who Helped Invent The Jello Jiggler!)  LAistCalifornia poet laureate Dana Gioia made it his goal to visit all 58 counties in California. He made most of those trips in his 10-year-old car. (Carla Javier/LAist).
North Pole Poet Laureate Amy Marschak Spreads Christmas Cheer, Poems  WestwordAmy Marschak has assumed the mantle of the official North Pole Poet Laureate, and she's pulling plenty of poems out of Santa's bag. “The job of a poet laureate ...
Jazz Pianist Helen Sung On Poetry, Being Asian-American And The Debt She Owes Harry Connick Jr.  WBURAs a student at the University of Texas Austin, pianist and composer Helen Sung was set on a classical career. But when she saw Harry Connick Jr. play at a ...
Refuge uses reversible poetry to highlight life or death domestic abuse issue  The DrumIn a bid to turn attitudes to domestic violence on their head, the domestic abuse charity Refuge and McCann Bristol have developed a number of full-page ads ...
Sheffield’s first hip-hop poet laureate: 'gone are the days of tradition'  The GuardianThe poet appointed by lord mayor Magid Magid to champion creative arts wants to change the face of poetry.
Poetry Programme: Vona Groarke, Mary Costello & more  RTE.ieIn the Poetry Programme on Sunday 25th November, at 7:30 pm on RTÉ Radio 1, Olivia O'Leary meets poet Vona Groarke, and novelist Mary Costello chooses ...
Tabloid headlines inspire Tom Smith to publish poetry book “Poet Steals Headlines”  WebWireTom Smith loves to write poetry. In fact, he has published 11 book-length collections of poems to date, the latest of which is “Poet Steals Headlines: Sentenced to ...
Akeem Lasisi: Novel ride through musical poetry, video  GuardianOn the Nigerian cultural scene, poetry is being reborn in many interesting guises. No longer is it satisfied with just being confined and read on the pages of a ...
AM Juster's translation of Maximianus, the Last Roman Poet  The Weekly StandardA.M. Juster makes the bawdiness and decrepitude of the forgotten 6th-century poet Maximianus available for the first time to 21st-century readers of English.
A Poetry Collection That Opens Up Like a Cabinet of Curiosities  The New York TimesJ. Michael Martinez's “Museum of the Americas” takes on the white gaze, colonial trauma and Mexican migration.
Free Poetry Skool @ Downtown Public Library  Boulder WeeklyPoets gather like words on a page scribed in their own handwriting. as illustrious lines they embody poetic form — such as , a tercet , perhaps —. where this ...
Official proclamation: The 20 best poetry books of 2018  The SpinoffAll week this week we present the 20 best books of the year. Today: the 20 best collections of poetry. Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart ...
Poetry on a Budget  New York TimesIn Sullivan County, N.Y., an architect set out to build the bare minimum of a rural retreat: a pared-down house with soul.
A Debut Poet Confronts the Sexual Violence of an Earlier Generation  The New York TimesIn “A Cruelty Special to Our Species,” Emily Jungmin Yoon memorializes the Korean “comfort women” who were forced into prostitution during World War II.
South African Anti-Apartheid Veteran Tapped for Top Poetry Prize  LasentinelA grand old man of liberation poetry, Mongane Wally Serote, the poet of the revolution and one of the foremost South African poets to emerge during the Black ...
Poet Michael Robbins offers picks for best poetry collections of 2018  Chicago TribunePoet and critic Michael Robbins offers his picks for best poetry collections of 2018, from a debut by Vanessa Couto Johnson to a new translation of Bertolt Brecht.
Wollongong girl's heartbreaking winning poetry for a brother lost  Illawarra MercuryI wanted to let go of what I was holding in my heart”.
Bethel names first poet laureate  Danbury News TimesBETHEL — Bethel's new poet laureate finds that it's the experiences that hit close to home for a writer that tend to be the most relatable to others. “In poetry, I ...
Poet Tracy K. Smith, winner of Hall-Kenyon Prize, to appear in New Hampshire  The Laconia Daily SunCONCORD — United States Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith is the 2018 winner of the Hall-Kenyon Prize in American Poetry, honoring the late Donald Hall and ...
Christian Wiman's memoir reflects on years as editor of Chicago-based Poetry magazine, plus Anne Lamott, Elaine Pagels  Chicago Tribune“He Held Radical Light” by Christian Wiman, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 128 pages, $23. The epigraph, perhaps, whispers the secret of what's to come in the ...

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