Celebrate!

There’s so much poetic goodness going on in the kidlitosphere this month–that’s certainly a cause for celebration. For National Poetry Month I’ve paired up with Liz Steinglass, and we’ve agreed to write and exchange a poem each day of April. I love Liz’s poetry, so it will be a treat to receive a daily poem from her. And I hope that having a partner will keep both of us on track! Unlike Liz, I don’t have a specific topic for the poems that I’m writing this month (but I’m hoping a theme will emerge.)

I’m also celebrating the end of March Madness Poetry! It’s too late to vote in the final match, but you can read my gargoyle poem here if you’d like. I had a lot of fun writing six(!!) March Madness poems–but I am also happy for that challenge to be over. Thank you to everyone who read and voted for the March Madness poems and who shared links and spread the word about the competition. Your kind words, support, and enthusiasm meant so much to me!

UnknownOne more reason for me to celebrate is that tonight is the first night of Passover. I was delighted that Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong included my Passover poem in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. The seders of my childhood were led by my father, who did not believe in leaving anything out. He and his sisters would race along in Hebrew, while we kids would participate or not–there was always plenty of squirming. I tried to capture the mood of those seders in my poem, especially the pride I felt when I recited the four questions.

At the Seder

My family gathers together,
the table is gleaming and bright.
We tell a great tale of our freedom–
a story for Passover night.

My brother slides under the table—
he’s lurking beneath Grandpa’s chair.
He’s waiting to snatch the afikomen*
while Grandpa is leading a prayer.

My cousin has learned the four questions,
she blushes and sings them with pride:
Why are there matzos, salt water, and herbs?
Why must we lean to one side?

The answers are part of the story–
each year we recite it anew.
We remember a season of slavery,
we’re thankful that season is through.
–Buffy Silverman, all rights reserved

The afikomen* is a piece of matzo that’s broken during the Seder and eaten at the end of the meal. In some families children steal the afikomen and ask for a reward for its return. In other families an adult hides the afikomen and the child who finds it receives a prize.  Neither of those options happened in my family–my dad was an oral surgeon and everyone got toothbrushes when someone found the afikomen! I recently learned from a cousin that toothbrushes are still featured in her family’s seder. My kids made out much better when they were young.

Happy National Poetry Month and Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Amy at The Poem Farm for the complete roundup of today’s Poetry Friday posts.

19 thoughts on “Celebrate!

  1. Heidi Mordhorst

    I can’t believe that I’m just getting around to congratulating you on winning the MMPT by writing Poetry with a capital P! It was a good matchup, actually, but you deserved to win and you did. And you’re right–there’s so much to celebrate right now, not only victories but traditions and –toothbrushes!

    Reply
  2. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

    I’m too late to wish you a happy Passover (but I hope it was happy). March Madness already feels like a long time ago (but maybe not for you, if you’re still recovering). Thank goodness there’s no expiration date on telling you how much I like this Seder poem! The fact that you based it on personal history shines through. It’s the spark that makes it so appealing… even without the toothbrushes. 😉

    Reply
  3. jama

    What a fine seder poem. Love learning more about your family traditions and smiled about the toothbrushes. Happy Passover and Congrats again on winning March Madness!

    Reply
  4. Liz

    Hi Buffy, I too am celebrating our partnership! What a lovely passover poem. Yes, I think you captured the ritual–from the pride of asking the four questions to the squirming under the table. And congratulations on your March Madness victory! You wrote great poetry, under time pressure, for weeks! Time to get to my daily poem.

    Reply
  5. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

    I love your gargoyle…her
    “stirring of pride
    from deep in her stone-hearted chest.”
    – her reminder that there is so much any of us can do. Congratulations, Buffy!

    What fun you and Liz will have being poetry pen pals this month. Thank you for this seder gift today. I am taken back to my childhood in which my mom taught at Hillel Academy, and we were invited to many such a family meal. Wonderful days.

    Happy Poetry Friday!
    xo,
    a.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Me