National Poetry Month Post #1: Read “rhythm and ocean meditation #1” by Leslie Reese

rhythm and ocean meditation #1
for Pamela and Gerald

your hand molds the terra cotta of my soul
i am a bowl.

you may line me with mysterious fragments
of earth’s rough turf and rosebuds,
blanket me with a silken sky;
throw multicolored prayer beads in my bell,
pelting me with your deep lovecraft
your intricacies
your patterns
your wet grapefruit pulp
red and quick as pomegranate seeds.

basket my care in the willow branches of your smile
behold me.

tap tap tap on my hard root shell
release my watery sorrow
my berry-stained passion
my homemade music

dust my flint with your feathers and
sharpen my strength with your own.

you protect my spirit.

the hard and soft of me
the rust crust of me;
my unknowing, my not-caring.

douse my dry grasses with laughter, compassion, and the holiest
of your waters

eat my love
like pie.


Many years ago a friend of mine was getting married and asked me to write a poem to commemorate the event. I came up with “rhythm & ocean meditation #1.” I like the poem, but if someone asked me to write a poem for their wedding, today, I would go about it differently. Pamela and Gerald didn’t stay married, but I did publish the poem in my 2005 collection, Urban Junkstar.


  1. Leslie, there are poems and there are poems: I can’t quite describe how beautiful your poem makes me feel. I felt as if there was something very Maya Angelou about it, but I know it was all ‘Leslie Reese’.

      1. Leslie, your reply did not appear in my notifications. Luckily, I came here to re-read your gorgeous poem and saw that you had replied. You are most welcome!

  2. Oh, this is so very beautiful! I love the careful pacing you take with the repetition and the senses. I’ll need to hunt down Urban Junkstar. 🙂

  3. WOW! The imagery blew me away.

    Is your book available in print or is it an e-book?

    Are you going to write another poetry collection? ‘Cause the world needs more of this deliciousness.

    Please tell me more about that beautifully crafted bowl.

    1. A few years ago I took a ceramics class and found myself doing more hand-building than working on the pottery wheel. Now I have all these little strange vessels I made sitting on shelves around my home! It occurred to me that I could photograph one and use it to accompany this poem.

      Urban Junkstar is out-of-print, but it is a book that I am proud of and plan to post more poems from – thank you for your interest, Nadine!?

  4. Well done, Leslie. Very vivid imagery and feeling combine well with the occasion, which (as you note in comments) must have been a bit intimidating. I’m glad you kept the poem and shared it again.

    1. Hi Daniel: Musicians and singer-songwriters tend to gravitate toward that line?! it makes me want to compose a new tribute – to “homemade music.”

  5. What a delicious poem with final lines that made me smile and made me hungry. And what an intimidating honour to be asked to write a poem for a wedding! You did them proud even if the marriage didn’t last. Your poem did!

    1. Thank you, Susanne. When close friends/family/loved ones – who otherwise don’t have any use for poetry (and don’t quite understand why you do!) – ask you to write something for a wedding, a memorial service, a new arrival, a birthday, a retirement – ” intimidating honor” is exactly what it is!

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