Writing

Poetry Avoided

For nearly half a century I avoided poetry.  

three books against wood background

I have fond memories of rhyming verses in Mrs. Miggawa’s third grade class.  I wrote a published poem senior year in high school.  (Although, to be honest, the small pamphlet printed as part of my Catholic all-girls high school curriculum had a minuscule readership.)  And, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Coney Island of the Mind is one of my favorite books.  But somewhere between early enjoyment and today, poetry assumed an impenetrable guise.  I blame this on too many instructors asking “What does it mean?” then being dissatisfied with my blue book reply when the real question was “What do I believe it means?” and, having missed his, her, their personal interpretation, my exam response messed with my college GPA.

My version of The 100-Day Project with Suleika Jaouad will be to read poetry.  It may be a single poem each morning but I want discover (or re-discover) a poet every day.  I intend to banish the judgmental “What does it mean?” question from my vocabulary and let the poem simply rest on the page.  The poet’s meaning may leap off that page or remain mysteriously obscure, either will be fine.  

Writing

Bloganuary?!?

Today’s whim – – join a blogging challenge.  I’ve done Squares times four with BeckyB of Winchester, reading challenges with The Uncorked Librarian and this month I signed up for Bloganuary.  (There is even a badge for participants!)  With a promise of daily writing prompts from WordPress, the challenge is intended to nudge writers to write.  Now, lest you worry you will be inundated with posts, I promise only sporadic musings.

With today’s prompt:  “What does it mean to live boldly?” Mary Oliver comes to mind.  While her poems, inspired by our miraculous natural world, might not on first reading seem audacious – they are. And, her advice in Sometimes is bold indeed. 

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
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Other items of interest

On the day of a verdict

Poetry, offered as prayer, that captures what my soul feels…

A verdict means to say the truth.
A judge and jury, in this case, convicted an executioner.
May the truth we say always be
that black lives matter
that justice is more important than order
that militarization of police hurts us all,
and we have a lot more work to do.

Some days, the world seems to wake up,
even just a little bit - 
still groggy, still bleary-souled,
asking us to notice the glimmers of hope
shining through this weary world.
We need to keep waking up, again and again.

Sometimes,
guilty is the glimmer we need
to keep doing the work
and saying the names
of George Floyd, of Sandra Bland, of Emmett Till,
and countless other sacred names,
speaking them with reverence as speaking the name of the holy,
until we can all breathe.

    Rev. Luke Stevens-Royer, April 20, 2021