NaPoWriMo2021 Day 12


Valens Flavius on a Roman Gold Coin

The prompt was called “Past and Future.” This prompt challenged me to write a poem using at least one word/concept/idea from each of two specialty dictionaries: Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction.

I learned some interesting history and some lessons for the present day. Hopefully you will, too.

Time to Pay Attention

Valens should have heeded
the advice of the wise Mary Oliver:
He should have paid attention.

The Goths of old deserved
no lenity; they were as savage
and insidious as the Imperial army.

Marching behind a facade
of obsequiousness, they
bewildered and bewitched.

It was Valens who encouraged
them to make depredations
on the good people of Thrace—

to appease them in some way. So
perhaps he deserved what happened.
Alas, his eyes were opened—

too late. His men tried to hide him,
but Valens’ cave was found.
The Dirty Goths burned him alive.

The Force no longer covered
the likes of Valens; though fierce,
he was no longer impenetrable.

He should have listened
to wise Mary’s instructions
on living a life.

He should have paid attention.

-a draft poem by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Share the love, write a poem, appreciate a good friend. Each moment is a new beginning.

NaPoWriMo2021 Day Six

Photo Credit: From an article by Jason Stratton

The daily writing challenge for today had me traveling to my bookshelf. The prompt read:

“Go to a book you love. Find a short line that strikes you. Make that line the title of your poem. Write a poem inspired by the line. Then, after you’ve finished, change the title completely.”

Never one to eschew travel (or a challenge), I found this quote by Margaret Atwood: “War is what happens when language fails” and began to write.

I never know how the poem will end up when I begin, but true to past experience, the poem took on its own voice.

In the absence of language 

My mouth is open, but silence
ensues. I don’t mean for words
to freeze like ice shards in my throat
but they do—-stabbing at the souls
of unsuspecting victims.

At the end of the day, the smell
of dirt sears into my nostrils.
Is that right? Or is what I smell
really the scent of decay?
Winter comes and the ice freezes;

all that remains are rotting leaves
that shimmer in frosty silence.
My tenuous step seems wise,
until the ice cracks into shards
and pierces my own heart

shattering any misconception
of innocence. Come spring the world
should smell like dirt, but for now
the icy absence of language
seems to be a weapon of war.

--draft poem by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Share the love, write a poem, appreciate a good friend. Each moment is a new beginning.

Peace  NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Twenty-Five

Today’s prompt was to write a poem that begins with a line from a another poem (not necessarily the first one), but then goes elsewhere with it. Any poem will do to provide your starter line. Of course I chose a line from Mary Oliver’s newest work, Blue Horses.

Peace of God

Maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God that is inside each of us.

Maybe it is exactly the piece of God within us that longs for peace.

Maybe the peace that we long for is the divine sense of order trying to organize the chaos.

Maybe the chaos surrounding us is exactly what creates the desire for beauty.

Maybe I  could be wrong but what of the chaos beyond explanation?What of bigotry and hatred?What of war and injustice?

Maybe as we connect with our piece of God to create beauty, maybe in that space is where we find peace.

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Three

stories from syria: ayesha

ayesha from aleppo, active and agile,
grew up in the outskirt village.
not allowed to go to school, she married young and mothered prolifically–
13 children to be exact, hamdullah.
safe and warm in her three story house,
content and surrounded by family, yani, each day both an adventure and routine.

ah the joy and blessing of routine!

friends in nearby cities gathered,
drinking tea and savoring gossip.
ayesha from aleppo enjoyed a full and happy life with the husband of her youth, masa’allah.

until the siege of aleppo–
a metaphor for complex alliances
and families torn asunder–
robbed her of home and husband and history.
she recounts her story as her hand unconsciously wipes an invisible tear;
she cries so much these days, wallah,
her eyes are ruined by grief.
thirteen children spread over three continents and six countries.

oh for one day when her family can be reunited!

oh for the reunion to be soon, inshallah!

sweet ayesha from aleppo:
aleikum salaam wa rahmat
allah wa barakatuh.
upon you be peace
and the mercy of God
and his blessing.

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Two

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Two
 (Photo credit: Tracy Kaye Photography. Paintings by Syrian refugee children)

Through a God guided set of circumstances and connections, Tracy and I are privileged to be able to interview four Syrian families tomorrow for a video we are putting together. In our discussions about the project, Evan has asked many questions. Always, I try to answer as honestly as I can without going into unnecessary detail. In his own astute way, Little Wonder has absorbed the innuendo and essence of the refugee crisis.

I know this because during our evening prayers tonight, tears came to his eyes and he looked at me with a sense of urgency and earnestness: “I want to pray the best prayer ever, Mama,” he cried.

Then, with tears streaming down his cheeks he began, “Dear God, I just pray for the Syrians tonight for the families who have had people die and even children die, and God please please please help the good team win over the bad teams who have hurt and killed people. And keep the Syrians safe God. And help them be able to fight back against the bad teams. Amen.”

Up until Evan’s prayer, I had struggled with the writing prompt for NaPoWriMo today. I was supposed to write a poem that takes the form of a family portrait, and I was searching for what angle and voice to give to the poem. I think in the process of writing, I started and stopped it at least ten times.

After Evan’s prayer I realized why. Evan is so tender hearted and fully embracing of all people. He doesn’t see lines of division. Instead, he sees us as all connected. He sees us as one big family.

The poem wrote itself after that realization. Here it is…

family portait

we are family.

affiliation by consanguinity is only one definition of family.

family is an affinity by kinship however people choose to form that unit.

and seeing family love in action alwaysalwaysalways changes the face of the world for the better.

so often, we look at other families and perceive the differences even as we distance ourselves because of those differences.

when we get close–really, really close–the lines of difference become blurred, and we no longer see eye color and skin color and race and religion.

instead we weep with those in pain and rejoice with those in celebration.

we are family after all.

we are connected to one another in ways large and small, by blood, yes, but even more so by the kindred spirit of God who flows through our veins.

we are family.

like all families, we hunger for love, we long for acceptance, we desire respect, and we wish our stories to be told to future generations.

we are family.

all we need to do is open our hearts and listen to our common, beating heart.