I know, I know. It’s a little crazy to be trying to write one poem a day for the entire month of April, especially when these last few months have been some of the most challenging I’ve seen in years for making time. In the past three months, I’ve had one weekend that wasn’t full of obligations on my time. I’ve got three fiction projects sweetly simmering and begging for attention. But. It’s April. It’s been more than fifteen years since I didn’t make an attempt at poem-a-day. Why?
It brings me joy. It provides a low-stakes opportunity to play with language, form, and concepts. It leads to an entire month spent doing what poetry does best: shining a light on the wonders of our lives, packaging those wonders in a short, concentrated form that can be taken in a short burst of concentration.
Here are the seven poems I wrote last week. Onward to week 3!
“But I was so sad that evening: I understand—as I have understood at different points in my life—that the childhood isolation of fear and loneliness would never leave me. My childhood had been a lockdown.” Elizabeth Strout, Lucy by the Sea
Sometimes for a long time, I forget,
and then I’ll freeze at the sight of her standing there,
just outside the door,
her hands tucked inside long sleeves, downcast eyes,
the me before me.
But, lately, I’ve been inviting her
to meditate with me at my imagined place
on the grass watching the still pond,
wondering at how the wind ripples the surface.
She just showed up one day,
sat down beside me, leaned in.
I put my arm around her shoulders,
whispered so glad you’re here.
Then the light broke through the clouds,
sent a shimmer across the surface.
“Toward the end of July, I had a massive panic attack, and as a result, many things in my life changed; huge changes were made.” Elizabeth Strout, Lucy by the Sea
Be grateful, she said,
as she coaxed us out of savasana
at the end of a practice
that brought me to the edge of possible.
Be grateful, for everything
that has brought you to this moment.
And I thought of how I’d gone to the emergency room,
my roadrunner heart in midair
not just one time, and doesn’t count
the times I decided to die alone.
I thought of how desperation brought me
to the yoga mat, where I began to heal.
“However, as each doll is placed inside a larger doll, over time the light of the innermost doll is forgotten. If you see the entire set of dolls put together, from the outside, you see only one doll—the outer shell. It’s easy to forget but you are so much more than just what you see, that you are the light and that light is radiance, truth, and beauty.” Tracee Stanley, Radiant Rest
A person inside
inside a person—
faces to meet the faces.
Inside, a gem
that’s polished up,
ready to shine.
“I know how to work. Rest requires devotion and practice on my part.” Tracee Stanley, Radiant Rest
It’s difficult to unlearn
when you’ve elbow-greased it
for epochs, and entire relationships
rest on the foundation of our doing,
and it is the stuff you’ve made you’ve made
your potluck offerings of since you learned to make rice.
There is so much patterning to unwind
and so many reasons
to recline in this hammock
counting stars to fall asleep.
“Hoping to live days of greater happiness, I forget that days of less happiness are passing by.” –Elizabeth Bishop
I’d like to apologize
to ever Monday I ever shunned,
every day I clock watched my way through
every cloudy sky I didn’t admire.
Hello, sweet sadness.
Let’s sit a while, see if
we can understand each other.
I want to be so angry
the dishes in the cupboard clatter.
I want to let my grief stay long enough
to say all she needs to say,
stay a while in silence.
I’ve wasted too much time
already waiting for the wanderer, happiness.
Prompt: Write a forgive poem.
Come hither, love.
Let me place my hands
where you are holding on
to fear or doubt or hurt or anger.
Give me all the weight.
Let it go.
Yes, even the weight of
my limited human imagination.
I can be so small and unkind.
Prompt: And now for something completely different.
Olives on fingers!
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Some past posts to keep you making time: