We are reminded…


n times of crisis and societal upheaval when it appears that chaos and misinformation is fueled by fear and apprehension, insightful leaders and creatives in all aspects of human interactions step up and provide guidance, hope and the light at the end of the tunnel. These visionaries unselfishly bring society illumination, joy, hope and focused pathways to a brighter, stronger and bold future propelled by unlimited possibilities. 

Now, as April 2020 is infected by the worldwide ravages of COVID-19, creatives in various artistic genres have stepped to the “plate” with live streams, Facebook chats, blog postings, YouTube videos, commercial-free TV specials and “words” exclaimed in online and print periodicals to help us weather this unexpected health threat.

While it has been an American tradition since 1996, April remains National Poetry Month in the United States. Introduced by the Academy of American Poets, this April tradition has become global in its impact and generated continuous appreciation of poetry in all its diverse iterations no matter where the poet calls home. 

National Poetry Month April 2020 Official Poster 

aaduna, as in past years, celebrates this tradition by providing a blog platform for poets from around the United States and the world to share their work with a global readership. And that platform is “aadunanotes.”

It is with gracious appreciation that aaduna’s National Poetry Month festivities are kicked-off by two poets whose works are grounded in the complexities, dynamic simplicities, and intricacies of human emotions and life experiences. Please welcome

Michael Jennings and Rachael Ikins.

Michael Jennings [photo provided]

Michael Jennings was born in the French Quarter of New Orleans and grew up in east Texas and the deserts of southwestern Iran before attending the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate and Syracuse University as a graduate Fellow. He is the author of 10 books of poetry, most recently Crossings: A Record of Travel, winner of the 2016 CNY Book Award for Poetry. In 2017, Michael won a national audio contest for poetry called The Miller Audio Contest at The Missouri Review He is also a world-renowned breeder and judge of Siberian Huskies, and author of three books on the breed. He lived for over 36 years with his wife and muse, poet Suzanne Shane, and several of their Siberians on a hill overlooking Otisco Lake in upstate New York. Since 1993 Michael has been a member of the faculty at Cayuga Community College, State University of New York and his work has been translated into Czech, Lithuanian and Chinese.

These two poems penned by Jennings will appear in the September 2020 release of THE MOON'S CHILDREN by Kelsay Books:


My son guides me up the long hill
squelching in run-off, along trails
narrow as goat paths through the trees
to show me the strewn bones of a deer
nested in her shed shreds of fur,
almost golden, where some wood spirit
laid her to rest, and the coyotes
5and crows stripped her, leaving only
a hoof and furred knuckle intact
5among a clutter of collapsed ribs.
He shows me the clean white vertebrae,
the pelvis with its odd eye hole,
the knee still attached with some last rope
of sinew.        
               This is his find, stumbled on
as he tried his new spring legs in a downhill,
helter-skelter run, and stopped, and stared,
and in his eleven-year-old mind knew
that this was the stuff of running
undone, something the receding snow
left for him personally, a sign
of winter’s weight.
                                We eye it together.
We go down on our knees to gather pieces
of the witchcraft mystery. The gray trees
around us are also bones that click
and chatter in the wet wind
of almost spring. The brown limpid eyes
are gone. The crumbling gnarl
of spine, once nerved and tremulous,
is now only a train wreck the grass
will hide in a month’s time. We feel
the doorway of earth opening.
We feel the thinness of our skins
and the prickling of short hairs rising.
We know what’s at the bottom of things,
how soon the mayflies will be dancing
their measured reels of the evening.


His Mountain Gateway
                           —for Will Hier
All day death hovered—
Coming through weeks of the gray of November—
Becoming the friend
Who would not last the year

And did not last the week.
The lake of his dream
Became a fuming of crystals
And polished obsidian.

The cold deepened and the ice whistled
And the lake thundered
And the scarred ice vanished
And the whitecaps foamed

Till spring became a reflection
Of olive placidity, browns
Transforming to the delicate
Hairy greens

Of a thousand shades and nuances
Before the leaf-loaded abundance
Of summer dreamed
Purple evenings etched in shadow,

His photographer’s eye
Honing beauty out of the hard edges
Of weather, season
After season drawn on the lens.

And in the long view south
The mountain named for Song
At the gateway between two mountains
That told us we were home—

The gateway
Where I imagine him still—
His farmer’s trudge—
Bull shoulders, dexterous hands—

Casting a warm
But slightly squint eye
On life, on death,
And passing by.

* * *

Rachael Ikins [photo provided]

Rachael Ikins, associate editor, Clare Songbirds Publishing House situated in Auburn, New York [https://www.claresongbirdspub.com/shop/featured-authors/rachael-ikins/] is a 2020 NLAPW Biennial Letters Competition 3rd prize recipient in the Children’s category; 2019 Vinnie Ream & Faulkner poetry finalist; 2018 Independent Book Award winner in Poetry; 2016 and 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee; 2013 and 2018 Central New York Book Award nominee.  She is author/illustrator of nine books in multiple genres and resides in Baldwinsville, New York.

Evening Sky, Clouds and Constellations Rising

Blue/white zebra bares his belly,

gallops toward night. Sun, his eye.

Western sky purples. Wolf chases. Spangled hackles silver. Zebra snorts his fear, caught on a silver hook-

one thousand meteors showering.

* * *

Intimations of Spring

Spring exhalation, 

a sinuous snake flowing in

window-crack, licks lips

tasting air. House sighs.

Tongue caresses found

scents; book pages,

asphalt, and jump ropes.

Peepers’ fragile flame,

sound, reedy. 

Swamp heats rot’s perfume,

a lip-smacking drool.

Sickle moon swells.

Cardinal cheers

single scarlet notes,

bleed into blue.

Collect in that silver bowl-

Spring overflows.

* * * 


elebrate National Poetry Month by sharing the blog postings to your social media platforms and encourage your social networks to visit this blog every day in April. Ask them to experience the intriguing words of that poet and then share that person's work to social media platforms. With this gesture, everyone can support each poet’s work and broaden her/his name recognition throughout the world.  

You are graciously invited to continue to celebrate National Poetry Month even in a time of crisis.

With poetry, as well as your willingness to embrace other forms of artistic expressions and listen to the factual guidance of effective political leaders, we, as one global community, will be triumphant over this current cloud of darkness and foreboding. So, in closing...

Jennings and Ikins… what a way to start the 2020 April National Poetry Month!

* * * * *

aaduna - an online adventure with words and images - a globally read, multi-cultural, and diverse online literary and visual arts journal established in 2010.  Visit us at www.aaduna.org where we put measurable actions to our words.

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