{pf: the poetry peeps nab a naani}


It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

It’s the time of vivid skies and shaded leaves and the sharpest fading of the light, leading to long-blooming mornings and gray blue twilight that snuffs out sharply into deepest dark. It’s the time of low fogs and high winds and swirling leaves caught up and crunching underfoot… and being tracked into the house… starting off the cycle of more vacuuming and dusting and sweeping and giant spiders from who knows where just SHOWING UP and taking over your house, and also, who invited all the earwigs this year!?!?

Ahem.Irvington 709

Right. Wonderful. We were focusing on WONDERFUL.

No matter the pumpkin spiced nonsense that comes with, Autumn is A Good Time, and it seems we Poetry Peeps decided, in our infinite 2019 wisdom, that October was going to be a good time to explore a new type of poetry – new to me, at least. The name naani is a word in a Dravidian language of the ethno-linguistic Indian people of Telugu, who live predominantly in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh. Naani sounds playful and brief, and I like the idea of a poem whose name is defined as, and which addresses “of one and all.” That means our random meanderings are welcome here – as long as we keep them from 20 to 25 syllables. This is an accessible form for most of my Poetry Peeps – check out what Liz did with it. Laura‘s is here. Tricia‘s is here, Michelle’s naani is here, and Sara’s is here, and here’s Elle’s Poetry Peeps debut. Stay tuned for more links here as other Poetry Peeps check in.

Unlike the haiku form, this poetry isn’t going to be necessarily nature-inspired, but it’s more a poetry form for what catch-all topics cross the mind – housekeeping. Earwigs. Moods. In my case this month it’s …mail. Specifically, junk mail. Political mail. I’m quite ready to be done with it.


pen pal’s promise

(longer letter later) keeps me

through ads, bills & junk

hope holds on


each clamors

slick-bright pages loud

with entreaty: see me! believe me!

unheeding, I file.

Irvington 724

(Yes, that title and last line work together to create a pun on “circular file.” You’re welcome.)

In this neighborhood we have teensy tiny porch mailboxes, the flat kind with the little lid, which means there’s limited space in there for nonsense, and each day this week the box has been simply crammed. Between the door-to-door candidates who just slip something under the door mat, and the newspaper inserts and the mail, there’s so much paper trash, all of it yammering at me for my attention and my vote. 100% of it goes into the recycle bin, 99% of it without even meeting my eyes. Surely there’s a better use of politicians’ time? I know there’s certainly a better use of MINE – not to mention our poor mail carrier’s!

But, we’re nearly there, my friends. In just days the time changes, the election will finally be over, and we’ll be free to actually enjoy these blustery autumn days – light our candles instead of just leaving them to look pretty on the hearth, drink our tea, instead of just getting it as gifts, to take the moment we’re in and fully inhabit it for joy, before the next round of minor irritations and major worries gather to bracket our days. Breathe. Be.

Even more poetry today is brought to you by Linda at Teacher Dance, who is helpfully hosting our Poetry Friday with memories of Halloween past.

Irvington 728
This kind of mail I can get behind.

20 Replies to “{pf: the poetry peeps nab a naani}”

  1. Breathe. Be.->great advice, Tanita. I first want to comment on the beautiful opening to your post. The images are full of October joy. Thanks for the naani definition. Your poems are great, especially the ending lines of both. I have been thinking about writing a naani so maybe it will appear if the muse sits on my shoulder.

    1. @CVarsalona: Thank you! I hope the Muse does sit on your shoulder – as I poked through the other poems of the Peeps this month, I found some really beautiful stuff – this form lends itself to beauty and contemplation very well. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  2. Hey! I got logged in and can comment—I tried extra, extra, extra hard to log in this time. What a beautiful post and wonderful mentor naani to try. I love the mailbox. I am inspired to try to write a naani today. Here’s hoping we are all celebrating after Tuesday.

  3. Thanks for sharing the naani’s origin backstory –I feel we could use more “of one and all” around… I”m holding on to your “hope” from your MAILBOX poem. And yes to too much junk mail, addressed so succinctly in your clever title and ending of “circular.” Love the cornflowers–I have some in a package of seeds, waiting for me till spring–so there’s hope, I hope…

    1. @Michelle Kogan: Seed catalogues are my BEST and most hopeful mail item in the winter – I haven’t started obsessing over them yet, but it’s lovely to have flowers going to seed and already sending up little shoots – hope for next year, indeed.

  4. I love autumn, too, and in the intro, a favorite time the “gray blue twilight that snuffs out sharply into deepest dark.” That’s when I’ve been getting my mail. We have banks of mailboxes in my neighborhood & our route is particularly late in the day & I walk about half a block to them. I get almost no important mail, all of that online, so I understand your grief about those “slick-bright pages loud/with entreaty”, know that I stand at my re-cycle cart, discarding, discarding. I also wonder why it’s more now when most have already voted? Ah well, yes, nearly over, then I can shuffle through the leaves just for fun! Thanks, Tanita & enjoy your treasured autumn!

    1. @lindabaie: Ooh! A recycling CART! What a great idea! And YES!!! SO many of us voted early, and still the avalanche descends. You’d think we’d work out some way for that not to happen! But, perhaps this year, that’s far too ambitious…

  5. I hear you on the avalanche of political mail; I especially dislike the thick glossy flyers. But at least mail is quiet — the robocalls are another story entirely.

    Fun to hear about a new-to-me poetry form. “Naani” is quite a cute name :). And we also have GIANT spiders taking over our house — webs everywhere too.

    1. @jama: Indeed! Mail is quieter than the robocalls, or the eejits texting me!!! Since when is THAT fair?! Ugh, it’s impossible to escape it – and yet, we ARE going to make it through. One way or another – change is going to come…

  6. Tanita, I love that “hope holds on.” That’s what keeps me emptying the mail, too! And yes on the horrible tractor-loads of junk mail, election mail, all of it. The joy of a hand-addressed envelope from a friend can’t be matched! These are awesome!

    1. @laurasalas: I have this recurring nightmare that even the election won’t stop this stupid mail – but all things, even dumb things like political warfare, must come to an end… right? Right. That’s my hope and I’m stickin’ to it. We’ll survive this and get nice letters again soon…

  7. Love the addition of the Title and Last Word pun. (Maybe that’s a new kind of naani??). Anyhoo, a catch-all poetry form is what we all need sometimes. To catch our thoughts and maybe a bit of wisdom and then we can get on with the day. (We get our mail dropped into a slot through the front door so it just piles up on the floor if we don’t clear it. I will think of you and these poems as I do.)

    1. @saralewisholmes: I always love the idea of using short forms of poetry as a game of some kind – I’m all for a new kind of naani! It has so few rules that it was a little hard for me to feel like I had a grip on it, but I LOVED yours and I feel like we could do this again and do it a bit more justice next time!

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