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National Poetry Month: April 16, 2020 — Combat Coronavirus with Compassion

April 16, 2020

Do you see the nest?

Prayers yes but we combat COVID with compassion, constructive acts.

Today’s American Sentence is inspired by an essay composed by the Dalai Lama and published on April 14, 2020 in Newsweek and on Facebook where I saw it. The Dalai Lama points out that just praying aren’t enough to fight the Covid-19 pandemic; instead, we need to face the challenge with compassion and constructive acts.

He means, I think, that with compassion, to combat COVID we must get out there AND DO SOMETHING. Don’t just stay slumped on the couch, as tempting as that might be.

Grow something; notice what’s happening in the natural world by you!

I’ve seen a pair of scrub jays at my feeder and perched on the top of my sycamore tree. Today the pair of jays were fending off a pair of ravens (maybe crows?). I went out to disrupt the action and saw above my head the nest the jays had been defending.

I don’t know the fate of the lives within the nest yet, but I do know the jay is back on the regular spot. And now I know why.

American Beat Poet Alan Ginsberg came up with the idea of American Sentences: an American sentence is like a haiku in that it has 17 syllables but it’s not three lines in a stanza but one line. As a haiku offers an image that generates emotion and conveys a moment in time, the best Sentences do more than just offer a sentence in 17 syllables. I learned about American Sentences from Paul E. Nelson who I met at the Taos Poetry Circus in 2000; my friend who turned me on to the Baudelaire quote above I also met at Taos. According to Paul, the key to writing a good American Sentence comes from Ginsberg’s notion that poets are people who notice what they notice. He has been writing one a day since January 1, 2001. Learn more about American Sentences and how to write good ones from Paul here.

What’s your American Sentence?

Matilija poppies with sycamore and fremontia in the background.


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