HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

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siblings on a couch

4 Poems to Celebrate Siblings

April 10 is National Siblings Day, a day to cherish the unique bonds we have with these special family members. Sometimes our siblings are our best friends. Other times, they’re our worst enemies. Whether you and your siblings tackled awkward adolescence side-by-side or you’re many years apart, seize today as an opportunity to celebrate your one-of-a-kind relationship. We’ve selected four poems about siblings to help you do just that. 

 

My Sister Teaches Me How to Ululate” by Seema Yasmin

Emmy Award-winning journalist, medical doctor, and writer Seema Yasmin shows how sisters can be teachers in this memorable poem. The speaker tells the story of her sister teaching her how to make a new sound. While they learn the physicality of this sound, they also reckon with what it means to be a woman in their culture. 

 

Yallah habibti, move your tongue like the sea

easy. My big sister teaches me to ululate, rolls

her tongue in waves. Dips thin fingers inside

my mouth to pull out mine, stretches it long

and pinches the tip. Watch, we move tongues

like this. I see the walls of our father’s house

collapse and we swim free leleleleleleleleleee

 

Sisters” by Michelle Boisseau

A Guggenheim Fellow and author of five poetry collections, poet and professor Michelle Boisseau literally wrote the book on poetry with Writing Poems, which is now in its 8th edition. Her poem “Sisters,” which appeared in the March 1985 issue of Poetry magazine, tells the story of three young sisters who sneak out in the middle of the night. Despite its dark and cool backdrop, this poem extends a heartwarming memory to those who’ve dared to venture into the night hand-in-hand with our siblings. 

 

We strap our sandals and sneak off. 

Madeline trips on a tree stump.

Nancy and I hold her mouth

to stop the laughter. 

 

Brother” by Mary Ann Hoberman

This short and sweet poem with a traditional rhyme scheme is great for both children and adults. Author Mary Ann Hoberman has authored roughly 50 books, many of which are written for children. In addition to earning a National Book Award, she served as the Poetry Foundation’s children’s poet laureate from 2008 to 2011. Her poem “Brother” is told from the point of view of an older sibling learning to love a new addition to the family. Those of us who remember the birth of a younger sibling will adore this sweet and funny poem. 

 

I had a little brother

And I brought him to my mother

And I said I want another

Little brother for a change.

 

Excerpt From Goblin Market and Other Poems by Christina Rossetti

For those of us with a sister who has stood by our side no matter how difficult life has become, this poem is the perfect pick to celebrate her. From one of the Victorian age’s finest poets, this poem offers a sweet and simple sentiment that reminds us to hold each other dear. 

 

For there is no friend like a sister

In calm or stormy weather; 

To cheer one on the tedious way, 

To fetch one if one goes astray,

To lift one if one totters down, 

To strengthen whilst one stands