The Missourian kicked off National Poetry Month on April 1 sharing two community poems. Nearly 100 people, ages 9 to 84, submitted writings about what “home” meant to them and three local wordsmiths, Maria Brady-Smith, Aimée Appell and Nathan Adam, used the submissions to create the poems — one from adults titled “I Am From” and another from children titled “Home Is.”

“Each entry was beautiful on its own,” said Brady-Smith. “But together, these two poems transcend anything that any one of us could have created on our own. In that way, it demonstrates the very essence of community.”

With help from more than 30 volunteer readers — again of all ages — we leave National Poetry Month with a community of voices reading the poems. They remind us again that it is no coincidence these poems were created right now.

“We are in the middle of a national emergency that requires our community to rally together to overcome a once-in-a-lifetime adversity,” said Brady-Smith.

“The irony of this particular crisis is that we come together most lovingly by staying apart. That’s the hardest part for many of us — not being able to be close to the people we love. Still, we find ways to connect. As each of these poems reminds us, home is each other and we are from the people who loved us and we are always going home.”