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.
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.
Today the challenge was to write a poem in the style of Kay Ryan, whose poems tend to be short and snappy – with a lot of rhyme and soundplay. They also have a deceptive simplicity about them, like proverbs or aphorisms.
I’m not sure if I accomplished it, but here is my poem for today.
Ghosts in Late Summer
Words hung softly, but still too loud for a dead thing. All that remained of summer seemed spent, so I ran straight away into the chill of autumn nipping. Never mind the plotted hours of living where we found stolen strength to see past what was in front of our eyes. When I heard your last whisper through the wall, I wasn’t ready to face winter alone. I felt lost, for we loved deeply and without many words. Imagine then my surprise at the loud voice of your ghost.
The prompt for today was in honor of today being the 22nd day of Na/GloPoWriMo 2022, and they challenged me to write a poem that used repetition. I was invited to repeat a sound, a word, a phrase, or an image, or any combination of things.
So, here you go fellow poetry loving friends. Not as repetitious as some poems I’ve written, but there is that element throughout.
Happy Weekend to you!
The Owl Sees
Where the mind ends, the owl sees— through Ominous golden eyes It breathes in stealth and exhales darkness gliding through blue-black skies. Underneath the fern unfurls, shivers in the windy wake.
Where the mind ends, the owl sees— with certainty of vision and a clarity of mind; she free falls into the darkness, her mournful cry resounding into the boundless cosmos.
Where the mind ends, the owl sees— the wilderness unconstrained, the weeping child whose wailing seeps into the warping twilight. Inside echos of sadness the owl and child grieve as one.
Today’s prompt was one gleaned from the poet Betsy Sholl. This prompt asked me to write a poem in which I first recall someone I used to know closely but are no longer in touch with, then a job I used to have but no longer do, and then a piece of art that I saw once and that has stuck with you over time. Finally, I was to close the poem with an unanswerable question.
Happy writing to me! Happy reading to you!
When the sun is laid to sleep, Darkness drips in desperation The universe shifts and suddenly I become your enemy.
Wordless and wry, my will resolves into Nothing that will matter. But why then does hunger remain? Hunger is hereditary—
I read that once in a poem, At least I think I did. I can’t Seem to separate the silk sails from the flagpole standing still
But my strong knees and stiff back Can carry the weight of my will So all is well. Or is it? When the inky black beckons me
To lie down among the lilies, I resist. I draw all that is good, but the leaves still fall. Tell me why do the leaves insist on falling?
Today’s challenge was to write a poem that starts with a command. It could be as uncomplicated as “Look,” as plaintive as “Come back,” or as silly as “Don’t you even think about putting that hot sauce in your hair.”
By the time I started writing today, I was completely exhausted. I had so much work to do after I got home, and by the time I sat down to write, it was 8:20 pm.
Short and sweet is what the day demanded.
Open the book Read the prologue And you’ll know All my intent
Open the book Read the epilogue And you’ll know Where I went.
Open the book Read the chapters And you’ll know What I meant.
Today’s prompt is based on Faisal Mohyuddin’s poem “Five Answers to the Same Question.” I was challenged to write my own poem that provides five answers to the same question – without ever specifically identifying the question that is being answered.
It seems simple enough but proved to be quite challenging. This poem is definitely a draft and I will be revisiting to “tweak” for days to come.
I used the form and format-ish of Faisal Mohyuddin as a guide when I wrote this poem. It felt right to do so, and I enjoyed the clean look of the finished poem.
Five Answers To The Same Questions
I. After breath I found the wind full of sorrow and empty.
II. The baby robin perched still as death before taking flight.
III. Girls dancing unaware (just yet) of the rainbow.
IV. The hoops lit on fire created quite a spectacle
V. of light. I tried to wake myself and found the face of God.
Whew! Today’s prompt was a doozy and just what I needed to recharge my brain.
Today we were challenged to write a curtal sonnet. A curtal sonnet is a variation on the classic 14-line sonnet. The curtal sonnet form was developed by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and he used it for what is probably his most famous poem, “Pied Beauty.”
A curtal sonnet has eleven lines, instead of the usual fourteen, and the last line is shorter than the ten that precede it. The rhyme scheme is 11 lines rhyming abcabc dcbdc or abcabc dbcdc with the last line a tail, or half a line.
There is some mathematical formula Hopkins used to precisely curtail the typical sonnet, but the real cog in the works is the sprung rhythm that breaks away from the traditional iambic pentameter of Shakespeare or Dr. Seuss.
To be completely honest, I have no idea at all what I am doing. I researched and read a number of examples, but each one was different from the other in some critical form/stylistic way.
So, I’m not sure if this is really a curtal sonnet or not, but it is my poem for the day. I chose to use 12 syllable lines and the abcabc dcbdc rhyme scheme.
Over all, under and through, the mystery lasts. Look how I trust and hope even after I rolled Down the hill with darkness closing in on all sides. I realize now the truth of how light contrasts With hope invisible and her friend harrow bold. Oh the tragedy of how disaster divides!
Loneliness overstays; isolation befriends— And I am left wondering how the earth provides For everything missing or lost at the threshold. Look with wonder at how simplicity amends
Today’s challenge was an interesting one. I was to write a poem that takes the form of the opening scene of a movie depicting my life.
This year the prompts have all been similar in some ways. There’s not much focus on form. Instead, the focus is just on using words to paint pictures. It’s been a challenge and has tightened my connection with words (or the lack thereof).
I don’t always know where the ideas come from. As I fall asleep, I prick my fingertips and they bleed onto the page. When I wake, the words have formed a poem.
When folks say things like “it’s all about the journey”, believe them. Every word is true.
Here is what I have learned halfway through this month. It is nothing new or even particularly profound, but it is the story of my journey: embrace the past (you can’t escape it), face the future (it’s coming so you might as well face it), and live in the now.
I turn off Main Street and head south— top down, breeze blowing.
I push my hair back, and suddenly I can see.
Behind me lemon groves bear fruit; my trunk full of lemons as proof.
With the heat of midday, I smell delicate decisions— citrus songs, fermenting fruit.
Intersections define direction; not all roads lead back home.
I suppose home lives in the trunk with the lemons, fermenting into luscious limoncello.
Today, in honor of the potential luckiness of the number 13, I was challenged to write a poem that, like the example poem here, joyfully states that “Everything is Going to Be Amazing.”
Sometimes, good fortune can seem impossibly distant, but even if you can’t drum up the enthusiasm to write a riotous pep-talk, perhaps you can muse on the possibility of good things coming down the track.
As they say, “the sun will come up tomorrow,” and if nothing else, this world offers us the persistent possibility of surprise
Hum of Hope
I heard the low steady, insuppressible hum; it was always running like a droning dial tone from days gone by.
Many people looked curiously at me because they heard only silence.
But I am a gatekeeper with a finely tuned ear.
The cadence careens down the halls, dashing into rooms, echoing with memories, with experience, and with desire.
The hum of hope, is my song; it is the vibrance of being alive— my joy that cannot be hushed.