105 Ways to Give a Book

Poetry Friday: Reaching for Sun

This poem is from Tracie Vaughn Zimmer’s book Reaching for Sun.
choked by kudzu

There’s this vine
called kudzu
someone brought over from
trying to make
look more like

Thing is,
that vine goes
crazy in this climate,
blanketing whole forests.
No sunlight
or even fresh air
can get under the umbrella
of its leaves
so things can breathe
and grow.

The way Mom and I don’t talk
out what happened
grows between us
until the air
As you drive south through Virginia, you see where the kudzu has taken over patches of trees along the highway, so I felt a connection to this particular poem in this book of verses. I also really like the poem “Poppies,” but Little Willow had used it before for Poetry Friday, so I picked something new.

Reaching for SunI read Reaching for Sun while my daughter took her ballet class, and while I enjoyed it, I felt that I had not honored the book somehow by reading it while occasionally giving my daughter the listen-to-your-teacher glare. So today I sat outside in the sun, to read it surrounded by the daffodils, the crocuses, and that yellow flowering bush... thing. And if you can, that’s the way you want to read this book, with beauty all around you and beauty on the pages in front of you.

Josie has celebral palsy and struggles with her desires for friends and independence. She is isolated in school where she is either ignored or teased. She hates the painful and embarrassing sessions of occupational therapy. While her mother and grandmother are loving, she feels babied and restricted. She only feels valued unconditionally at the nursing home and is only at peace in the garden. Things begin to change for her as she finds a new friend and grows up, allowing her voice to be heard.

Two personal notes. One, I was excited to see the reference to Tidewater Community College, which is in my other home, Virginia Beach. Yeah, Greater Tidewater Area! Two, I tried to get in the mood for reading this book by weeding my little garden. I thought it would make a lovely post for me to make the connection between the book and my own forays in the fertile soil. But instead of having a spiritual experience preparing the garden and sprinkling the seeds that I received with the review copy of the book, I managed to turn up a termite infestation which gave me the willies for a solid half-hour. Chalk it up, again, to my irony-prone existence.

Chicken Spaghetti does today’s Poetry Friday round-up. Leave her a comment if you want your post included.


Three Silly Chicks said...

We also love this book! It is lovely and eloquent and beautiful and tender. Like a sip of sunshine.

This is one of those books that makes us want to review non-silly books!

Btw... we finally responded to your meme! Sorry it took so long! thanks!

The Three Silly Chicks

Little Willow said...

I am glad that you read and enjoyed it. I hope your daughter does the same.