Happy NaPoWriMo Eve!

I have barely written a single creative word since last April. Yet here I am, on the eve of National Poetry Month, feeling something like…enthusiasm?…to tackle another poem-a-day challenge. As in previous years, I plan to use prompts from both NaPoWriMo.net and my local poetry group’s 30/30 challenge in order to generate the poems. I aim to write something every day, though not necessarily post here every day. If pandemic life has taught me one thing, it’s the importance of embracing both uncertainty and flexibility.

The prompts traditionally begin on March 31st in preparation for a productive April. Today’s “early-bird prompt” asked writers to spend a few minutes looking for a piece of art in the online galleries of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. After finding something that piques interest, study the photographs and the accompanying text to inspire your poem.

I chose this photo, more for the title of the piece and the description than the actual image. Then a draft came out. Whether or not I will ever shape the poem into something more is a six-months-from-now decision, after the words have settled.

Cosmetic Vessel in the Shape of a Cat ca. 1990–1900 B.C.
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 111
Cosmetic Vessel in the Shape of a Cat 
 
Where cosmetic implies to beautify
 
        	improve the face       	not just of the body
                                	but of things as they seem
                                	impress with transformation
                                	superficial dusting that somehow
                                	makes me feel more here
 
        	the shape of a cat      	is some classic ideal
                                	grace unmatched but mystery too
                                	the way the lithe muscles of a back
                                	in motion, toward prey or affection
                                	convey a power I have yet to hold
 
        	how a vessel             	is a place to contain
                                	something utilitarian, necessary
                                	or simply coveted and kept
                                	a swift vowel switch and
                                	vassal I become to perfection

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