Spilling The Beans: Why #PayWithAPoem Day Is For Everyone

The Poet-Tree, Robert Montgomery
The Poet-Tree, Robert Montgomery
The Poet-Tree, Robert Montgomery

Spilling The Beans: Why #PayWithAPoem Day Is For Everyone

Take me to Croatia on the 21st of March! I only need 12 hours. I need this time to feed my soul and my body; poetry for the soul, coffee for the body. And if not Croatia, then fly me to Turkey, UK or Romania!

On this day only one can pay with a poem for one’s cup of coffee.

Would you do it?

Did you know that one in five people believe poetry is for professional writers only?

Poetry excites the mind and enlightens the soul. You could say: “Whoa, Babe, poetry ahead!” or “Yay! Poetry!” Either way your eye acknowledged it and your mind engaged with it and your heart, most probably, slowed down its pace. “I know this”, it pulsed. “It is my language.” Because poetry is the universal language of our hearts.

Pay With A Poem Day is a fresh, new approach on literature. In 1999 UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) declared March 21 World Poetry Day, celebrating writing, publishing, reading and teaching of poetry worldwide, as UNESCO says, to give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements.

Pay With A Poem Day has been initiated in 2013 by the Viennese manufacturer and coffee retailer Julius Meinl and all participating coffee sites are supported by a global campaign. If not lucky enough to be in a participating country on the 21st of March, you can follow it on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtags #PayWithAPoem and #PoetryForChange.

In 2016 over 250 cafes around Croatia gave FREE coffee in exchange for a… poem, 34 countries from around the world, 1 300 coffee houses where over 100 000 poems have been written! This year four continents will be joining in this brewing frenzy – with Netherlands and Singapore taking part for the first time.

From a bartering point of view, does this mean that a poem is worth a cup of coffee? If so, then I would definitely like to know how many cups of coffee is Karen Blixen’s Our Of Africa worth. How about Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None? Christie was a teetotaler. How many tea cups had she consumed until its completion? 500? 1,000?

How about Farewell To Arms?

Pay With A Poem Day does put book prices in a different perspective. And considering just the coffee price today, picking up a book at your local bookstore suddenly seems like a bargain.

Feeling uneasy about that poem? Two genres of short poetry come to mind for this fantastic occasion.

  • Write a Haiku.

Traditionally Japanese a Haiku is a 17 syllables verse formed of three lines with 5-7-5 syllables. Usually a Haiku is inspired by nature. Keep it short and count your syllables.

  • Write poetry of your own heart.

Just put pen on paper smile and listen to your heartbeat.

What Coffee is to Poetry by Patricia Furstenberg

Coffee is brewed for all of my sense,

Hot, steamy like a heart

Pulsating into my cup.

Nurturing me,

Giving me life

Day in and day out.

Poetry grows like a tree of life,

Words covering the nakedness of its trunk.

Cover my heart,

Fuel my emotions.

Coffee and poetry

For eternity.

Pay With A Poem Day around the world

London

A visual image for #PayWithAPoem day is The PoeTree. A red tree trunk with leafs of poems written all over the world on this singular day and planted right in the heart of London, on the pavement on Finsbury Avenue Square.

“We need poetry as much as we need nature. We need it to repopulate the places devoid of emotion with our dreams and our imagination. Poems can change our days for the better. They did it on March 21st. They are doing it now, once again.” (Robert Montgomery, Pay With A Poem global ambassador and artist.)

Milan

A bridge over Navigli River is draped in poems and thoughts written by coffee lovers. Imagine strolling under the Italian sun, taking in the sights and sounds of history, your heartbeat slowing down. The fresh aroma of coffee rises teasingly when a gush of wind makes the bridge hum, a low hum of paper being tossed and turned like the pages of an open book, spread out, invitingly waiting for you. Go ahead, read it, it’s ok, it is La Dolce Vita.

Lucchetti? …no grazie, POESIE!#poesia#emozioni#pontenaviglio#Milano#paywithapoemhttps://t.co/kzqg4oIQHApic.twitter.com/Ln7YxlCvTT

— Patrizia Franzina (@LaPatty1) May 4, 2016

Because POETRY is for EVERYONE.

It is as much mine and yours as it is Shelley’s or Frost’s. POETRY is not a past tense, poetry is NOW, contemporary and ALIVE.

“I love how Pay With A Poem provides a little pocket of freedom, where money is replaced by poetry. Instead of using a banknote or a credit card people can transfer value to poetry, and use it as an alternative form of payment.” (Robert Montgomery)

There’s more to look forward to as Julius Meinl also initiated the Meet With A Poem campaign on the 1st of October:

“An experiment to rewrite the way we show our feelings”

Just go ahead, put your heart on paper and write that poem. I know I will.

This article was written for and initially published on the Huffington Post SA on 21st March 2017.

Huffington Post SA
HuffPostSA
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Waiting for Snow

Waiting for Snow Image courtesy Unsplash

Waiting for Snow

Waiting for Snow Image courtesy Unsplash
Waiting for Snow
Image courtesy Unsplash

Dad cheerful said: “We’ll have Snow tomorrow!”

So my human pup and I, brave Eskimos,

Early before breakfast went down below

And sat by the window, waiting for snow.

 

It must be someone special, went through my head,

Since we could, this morning, and quite by chance,

Not eat at the table. “Toast! Can I have some more?”

“On one condition: not a crumb on the floor!”

 

I’m looking left, towards the deep, dark woods.

I’m looking right, towards the town with goods.

Where will she come from, Mrs. Snow?

Will she take the bus? Will she arrive by noon?

 

There’s a little bus station right by our house,

It’s busy in the morning, you couldn’t spot a mouse.

Buses stop here often throughout the day.

But Snow doesn’t get off. What’s causing her delay?

 

Maybe she’ll ride a bicycle, red and bright and shiny.

Like the postman does each day, even when it’s rainy.

Maybe she’ll come by yellow taxi, honking any minute.

Like the doctor does; arriving in an instant.

 

But what if Snow will just walk here, like grandpa likes to do.

“Exercise is good for you, I’m never sick with flue!”

He always tells my human pup and winks at her some more.

Grandpa’s old and wrinkled; his exercise advice might work!

 

What if Snow arrives at tea time? Mom always sais to us:

“It’s fashionable to do so, but always come announced!”

Aunts and quite so many Ladies visit once a week.

And tea, cookies and cakes, so yummy, they always like to eat.

 

Who is this Snow? Nobody mentioned her before!

Why is she coming? Did Mom even agreed?

My human pup expects her to play games;

I just want to know: will she throws sticks, twice in a row?

 

Will she tell bedtime stories and like pups like me?

Is she a stern or friendly Lady? I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

Will she share crumbs? And mostly,

Where will she sleep, if feeling lonely?

 

It’s way past lunch, we waited for sooo long.

My human pup is restless, Mom even hums a song.

I’ll tell Snow, when I’ll meet her, whenever that will be,

That being late is a no-no, please Ma’am, excuse me.

 

She didn’t come at all and it’s already time for bed.

Pajamas on, the story read, my human pup still sad.

“She’s here!” shouts Mom, so excited. “Hurry, get dressed!”

Get dressed? Go OUT? Why everyone’s so restless?

 

Is Snow a President?  What do I say, maybe she’s the Queen!

For all I know, from what I’ve seen, she’s a most expected being!

I won’t mention being late, but offer her some tea.

I only hope she brings presents, a little bone for me?

 

by Patricia Furstenberg

This is an edited version of the poem initially written for mypuppyclub.net

 

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The newly adopted puppy: Time Out (Puppy Story – part 4)

Dog digging

The newly adopted puppy: Time Out

Dog digging
Dog digging? Oh no!

I’ve got to be quiet; I’ve got to lie still. They didn’t put me in a corner, but they did give me… time out. Only inside…

It was because of shredding the newspaper to bits on Sunday morning… and bumping over the trash can in the kitchen, which spilled the garbage…

I only tried to clean up!

Oh, and for scratching Mom’s bedroom door. But I tried to get in! It was a matter of life and death! It was past breakfast time and everybody was still sleeping!

I’m in the hallway now, on the carpet. This one is a rough carpet, not soft like the one in our bedroom. It tickles my tummy. I’ve got to scratch.

But I’ve got to sit still.

Oh, the carpet itches. My tummy itches.

“Sit still, puppy!” Mom had said…

But I’ve got an itch. Just one scratch?

Quick, while nobody’s watching.

Thump! Bang!

“Puppy!”

“The umbrella stand?! Whatever next?!”

I lay flat on the carpet. I wish I could melt in it and disappear.

I really didn’t, didn’t, didn’t want to bump it over!

It was just an itch.

A big itch and I’m a small puppy.

I’ve got to be quiet; I’ve got to lie still.

Now I’m outside.

Time out SHOULD take place outside? It only makes sense.

Mom hasn’t told me to sit still; she just opened the door and pointed outside. But I want to. To show her I’m a good puppy.

What does a good puppy do? I wonder if my friend Mole knows. He seems to know so much… There he is! He’s always busy digging. He’s such a good digger, he keeps all the plants fresh, Mom’s flowers pretty.

Mom loves flowers.

Maybe that’s what I should do! Pick some flowers for her. Dad brought her flowers last week and she was so happy she danced!

If I should make her so happy she’ll forget all about being upset with me!

I’ll do it! For Mom!

Here, a mouthful of flowers for Mom; freshly picked!

Flowers for Mom
Flowers for Mom

They did got a bit squashed in the process, but it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?

“Mom, my puppy’s barking outside the door! Can I please let him in now? I’m sure he learned his lesson.”

“Puppy!! My flowers! And LOOK at ALL this mud! PUPPY!”

by Patricia Furstenberg

Initially wrote for mypuppuclub.net.

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It is my first Sunday in my new home (Puppy Story – part 3)

First Sunday Morning

It is my first Sunday in my new home

First Sunday Morning
First Sunday Morning

It is my first Sunday

In my new home

I open my eyes,

My human still sleeps.

 

I’m hoping for some bacon smell,

For the kettle to hum.

No flavor coming up,

No noises at all.

 

The house is quiet,

What could be the matter?

Surely IS the right time

For food on the table?

 

My human pup snores,

Sounds just like a baby kettle.

I lick her ear;

She doesn’t budge.

 

I jump off the bed,

I am on a mission.

To wake everyone

Before it’s too late.

 

I grab at her blanket;

It is a pup’s play

To pull it off the bed

And onto the floor.

 

But this puppy is small

And the blanket is heavy.

I try my best

And head for the door.

 

I listen for noises:

Where is Mom’s room?

That is the only room

I haven’t been into.

 

“No puppies in here.”

I remember the rule.

But surely for emergency

We can bend it a bit?

 

The door is closed

But I push with my nose.

I push with my paws,

I push with all my might.

 

I’ve got to get it open.

I’ve got to get inside.

They have to wake up,

It’s well past their time.

 

I can’t open the door.

It’s too heavy for me.

My paws slide off,

I even hurt my snout.

 

I whimper, I cry.

As quietly as can be.

Surely they will hear me,

Open for me?

 

A thump at the door!

Someone’s outside!

I’ve got to protect them!

Stand up for my pack!

 

I run down the stairs.

It was a big mistake;

My paws slide,

My bum gets ahead.

 

Thump! My bottom hits the floor

Then my head hits the carpet.

I need a second

To regain my balance.

 

No time to spare,

Someone’s at the door!

I’ve got to protect my family,

I’m heading ahead.

 

I’ll bark and I’ll fight.

I’ll tear them apart!

This is my home!

It’s under my guard!

 

Silence.

Whoever it was,

It got scared.

I am sure.

 

Such a vicious pup

Got them on the run!

They got so scared,

Didn’t even come inside.

 

They left just one thing,

Small item behind.

A paper! I’ll show them!

I grab it right away.

 

I’ll fight and I’ll bite

And if they dare come back,

They’ll see what’s waiting for them.

And be scared of me!

 

Good, now the paper is gone.

What did Father said?

Garbage belongs with garbage.

I’ll clean up in a sec.

 

Such a big mess

And such a small pup.

I’ll do my best,

Let me find the trash.

 

It’s easy to spot it,

My nose takes me straight.

There’s the trash can,

Hidden in the darkest place.

 

Sooo big,

Me, so short.

But I’ve got to clean

The shreds from the floor.

 

I jumped. It fell.

BUMP!

Its lid came off.

More trash rolled onto the floor.

 

Footsteps upstairs! Coming down the stairs!

I’ve got to hide,

But where? Where?

Sorry about the mess!

 

I had to protect…

I had to protect
I had to protect

by Patricia Furstenberg

Initially wrote for mypuppuclub.net. Images courtesy Unsplash

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The newly adopted puppy: The Worm. (Puppy Story – part 2)

Looking for my doggy treasure.

The newly adopted puppy: The Worm

Looking for my doggy treasure.
Looking for my doggy treasure.

I love my new place.

I love it during my sleep for I can smell my human pup cuddled tight against me. She smells of milk and of love, the stuff sweet dreams are made of.

I love my new place in the moments just before I wake up, when the aroma of freshly cooked breakfast creeps through under the door and through the keyhole, conquering our bedroom. What better way to start the day but knowing what sorts of scraps will fly off the table? And if I catch the titbits before Mother ever sees us I get a pat and a scratch behind my ear for showing such super skills! For it is against the house rules to feed me like this, but my human pup loves me so much she shares everything with me.

I share with my human pup too.

My new place comes with a big yard, so big that if I run all around once my tongue spills out of my mouth in search of water, so tired I am. It took me a few whole mornings to sniff all around it and learn it off by heart.

At its far end, by the corner of the fence, my new friend lives, Mr. Mole. He likes to dig tunnels through the ground and to share his wiggly worms with me. Nobody seems to feed him so I share some of my tasty morsels with him. I hope he likes them; he keeps on burying them into his tunnels.

It was here that I found the biggest, juiciest worm!

It made me remember my human pup and her toes. Mother calls them wiggly worms and she keeps on counting them each night at bedtime. I thought how she would laugh to discover an extra one! Would she be able to tell the difference? I thought not; they smelled the same to me.

That night I found out that…

Mothers can scream VERY loud.

I still want to make my human Mother laugh; when she does so she smells so much more of love. I’ll have to find something else to share next time.

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