A Poem to Share: ‘Smile’ by Gloria Carter

Listening to Jay Z’s latest album released, 4:44 , I was moved by one song in particular, more specifically it’s ending passage. Given the beginning of a new week, I wanted to share with you all the beautiful words of Gloria Carter, Jay Z’s mother, and her reasoning for our choice to Smile:

Good morn or evening friends,

Living in the shadows, can you imagine what kind of life it is to live? In the shadows people see you as happy and free, because that’s what you want them to see.

Living two lives, happy but not free. You live in the shadows for fear of someone hurting your family or the person you love. The world is changing and they say it’s time to be free, but you live in the fear of just being me.

Living in the shadows feels like a safe place to be, no harm for them, no harm for me. But life is short and it’s time to be free. Love who you love, because life isn’t guaranteed.

Smile.

– Gloria Carter, ‘Smile’

A Poem to Share: Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese”

Today while listening to Tim Ferriss’ most recent podcast episode, #223: Calming Philosophies for Chaotic Times with Krista Tippett, I was introduced to the beautifully crafted poem below by Mary Oliver, which can be found within her New and Selected Poems, Volume One. Enjoy…

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

If you enjoy posts of this type, let me know! It goes without saying, a poem every now and then is good for the soul!

Respectfully,

CityReads NYC

Subway Poetry…

If you live in New York or have traveled here in the past, then you have seen this before. If neither, enjoy…

“As you fly swiftly underground with a song in your ears or lost in the maze of a book, remember the ones who descended here into the mire of bedrock to bore a hole through this granite, to clear a passage for you where there was only darkness and stone. Remember as you come up into the light.”

Brought to you by MTA Poetry in Motion, theĀ Poetry Society of America, and artist Sarah Sze.

– CityReads NYC