NaPoWriMo 2022 Day 24 Of Certainty

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Thanks and shoutout to Tim Marshall for making this image available for free on Unsplash.

Dedicated to my dear friend who has so graciously allowed others to experience with her how she has processed the religious environment in which she was raised. She is smart and witty and writes so articulately about how she has grown and changed through the years.

I was also raised in this sort of religious environment and can relate on many levels to her story of deconstruction and reconstruction. It is here I find myself in wild-waters, the waters difficult to navigate with grace.

All the stages of grief live in this space of deconstructing and reconstructing—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. They don’t follow a natural progression and sometimes even after I think that acceptance has settled over my bones, denial and anger can revisit.

You know, just for old times sake.

I didn’t follow a prompt today, instead I let my spirit wander over words until they settled into a poem. This poem and life is a process of growth. My only hope is that I continue to grow and change until I take my last breath.

Of Certainty

She looked as certain
as the sky without a cloud
never questioning life,
never doubting God.
Her life was as settled
as her eternity,
and she liked it that way—
without a glimmer of mystery
and brimming with the loveliest
of certainties. After all,
on what could she rely
if not that certainty?

She found out unexpectedly
that it wasn’t the destination.
it was the journey
that mattered most.
When the unthinkable happened,.
the restorative property
of a palliative remedy
moderated more than mere words.
In the middle of her misgiving,
she plucked some half-dead daisies
and put them in her favorite vase
while she quietly waited for certainty.

She found instead the pull
of the undertow was so much stronger
than the weight of her will. In the end
it was the absence of nothing
and everything that was the final blow
to her certainty. It seemed
the questions came, all at once,
wrenching and pulling her apart
before slowly reconstructing her heart.
All that remained certain
was the presence of uncertainty
and a lingering regret for years lost.

—cjpjordan

Rest Trumps Tired

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Thanks to Clément Falize @centelm for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/WZ2V1j2a1K8

A “golden shovel” poem is a poem within a poem—like a puzzle or a mystery. Oh and puzzles and mysteries are challenges that I love.

A poem within a poem? How does that even work? I’m so glad you asked.

First I had to choose a poem to “hide” inside my poem. I chose David Whyte’s poem “Enough” because I love it.

You can check out my “golden shovel” like this: first, read my poem as a complete unit. Then read it again using only the last word from each line and you will read David Whyte’s beautiful poem, “Enough”.

After the week (or three) we’ve been experiencing over here I really felt the need for rest because somehow I can never seem to get enough rest.

Trace is walking really well. We are both amazed at how straight her shoulders have become. She can raise both arms straight up high (she hasn’t been able to do that in years) and her shoulders are even and no longer slumped.

Another benefit since surgery is that her CRPS foot pain has subsided a little. She is so grateful for that!

Lizi is still struggling with pain and trapped gas in her body from the surgery. We are praying it is absorbed into her body or released out one way or another. Ev has been staying with her to help with Little E, and she has been really grateful for his help.

The dogs are finally home, and we are continuing on with their training.

As for me…well…

I. Am. Exhausted.

Sometimes overwhelmed.

Anxious.

Well, you get the idea.

Perhaps you feel the same?

It’s ok to not be ok.

It’s ok to decide to rest.

rest

I find it enough.
moments like these
when sounds are few
and fewer still are words
these moments are
enough.

no space for what if
or worries about what not
to do or say. Yes, in these
moments I find soul words,
I find space within this
time to catch my breath.

if only, if
only this time were not
just like this
life--a fading breath

if only this
space for sitting
for being here
and present in this
life of wondrous opening
would allow me to
receive the
joy of living life
in the present. we
know the places we have
said no--where we refused
to live again;
where we struggle and
strive again.

I find it enough until
pressures of the now
rage against the still; until
again I rest in the still now.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Nguni Cattle

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This painting is by the artist Annelea. She has many beautiful pieces on her brand new website. Check her work out here.

One of the great privileges I have enjoyed is travel. Beginning with an opportunity to teach in China when I was in my early twenties, I’ve experienced teaching many different countries and cultures through the years.

On one of those journeys, I made a lifelong friend, a South African girl who was heading to Croatia/Bosnia to do humanitarian work. Through the years, Annelea has travelled and lived all over the world, and we have remained fast friends.

Annelea has been painting for many years. In different countries she has taken classes, made community connections, and grown as an artist. She has finally launched her website and has many beautiful pieces and prints for sale. She’s one of a kind, and her work is as delightful as she is!

This poem highlights one of Annelea’s paintings. I hope you visit her website and enjoy the beauty and movement of her paintings.

Nguni Cattle

They move with the wind heavy
feet plodding as dust rises—
to them there is no today
and there is no tomorrow;

there is only now and grass
and eating and digesting.
So the days move day to night,
only in their dreams they move

beyond the roaring fire,
beyond the crystal clear night
beyond all the shining stars
to the magic of the moon.

I wonder if other worlds
like this one exist —- worlds where
people and creature alike
remain unfettered by time.

—by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Birth of a Poem

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Photo Credit: Thanks to Dewang Gupta @dewang for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/qNlQ5MJWZDg

The prompt for today challenged me to write a poem that recounts a creation myth and so, I thought I’d let you all in on the secret world of creating poems.

You see, each poem has a unique life form. You might think that I create poems, but actually more often than not, they create themselves, the words falling in to place with rhythm and order and beauty.

Writing poetry is an act of passion—writer and poem must come together in love and single-mindedness. I imagine if there were a mystical story of the creation of a poem, it might go something like this.

in the beginning: the birth of a poem

crisp cadence of sound bytes
dancing across the page;
marginal moments light
momentous mysteries
marching on.

letters swirls like atoms
forming ionic bonds.
how i cannot fathom
those molecular fronds
marching on.

yet unknown, the story
tumbles out in stages;
rolling rhymes unfolding,
memories outrageous
marching on.

ideas shift and shape,
pulling without tether
yet binding all the same
bringing us together
marching on.

the joyous pain birthing
small words that time sustains;
rejecting or rejoicing
the simple small refrain
marching on.

—a draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

What is your passion? What keeps you marching on?

Day #5

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was a little complicated. The challenge was to write a “golden shovel” poem. This form was invented by Terrance Hayes in his poem, The Golden Shovel. The last word of each line of Hayes’ poem is a word from Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem We Real Cool (one of my favorite poems). You can read Brooks’ poem by reading the last word of each line of Hayes’ poem.

A poem within a poem. A puzzle. I love a challenge!

I chose David Whyte’s poem “Enough” which you can read by reading the last word of each line in my poem.

rest

I find it enough.
moments like these
when sounds are few
and fewer still are words
these moments are
enough.
no space for what if
or worries about what not
to do or say. Yes, in these
moments I find soul words;
I find space within this
time to catch my breath.
if only, if
only this time were not
just like this
life–a fading breath.
if only this
space for sitting,
for being here
and present in this
life of wondrous opening,
would allow me to
receive the
joy of living life
in the present. we
know the places we have
said no–where we refused
to live again;
where we struggle and
strive again.
I find it enough until
pressures of the now
rage against the still; until
again I rest in the still now.

Enough

Enough.
These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now

David Whyte

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