Using the NaPoWriMo.net suggestion to stop fighting the moon. Lean in. Accept the moon. Do what poets have done and keep on doing and write a poem that is about, or that involves, the moon. I added a dab of the 30/30 prompt, “house I used to live in,” too.
Another Moon Poem
Nothing new can be written about the moon.
No question or tribute that hasn’t been said better,
brighter. How its round face has been held
responsible for madness, but also revered.
Relief in the dark. I’m remembering it now,
on the back deck of our first house, no-cloud
night with a handful of stars tossed in patterns
that scattered differently than the ones we looked
to growing up. I know you’ve marveled at it too.
Felt tethered, just like the inevitable ocean.
A little short on writing time again today, but still wanted to answer the Poetic Asides call for “The Last _________ ” poem. In my house, we used the pandemic as an excuse to stock up on a lot of treats during our last big grocery shop. But now that some of the most popular items are dwindling, each bite comes with more thoughtful consideration. I even took a photo to document the evidence.
A bit pressed for time today, which means I’ve gone with a compressed poem in my attempt to hit two prompts in one. I combined the NaPoWriMo challenge to write a poem that deals with the poems, poets, and other people who inspired you to write poems, with the Poetic Asides call for a form or anti-form poem. One of my favourite forms is the haiku or senryu, and of course that means appreciating the work of 17th-century haiku master Bashō. Since this is hardly a traditional haiku, maybe I have written an anti-form poem after all?
The NaPoWriMo call today was to write a concrete poem. That is, a poem in which the lines and words are organized to take a shape that reflects in some way the theme of the poem. I decided to be cheeky (lazy?) and write a poem about concrete using a block shape. (In my word doc it came out in a perfect rectangle shape, but I can’t get it to work here!!!) I took much inspiration and a few phrases (including the last line of my poem, which is taken verbatim) from this Wiki page on concrete.
Committing to Concrete
When fine and coarse bond together, something hardens over time. A cure for solitude. Binders are necessary. If not limebased, than lovebased. Words that seal the deal. Actions that keep it from crumbling. Many non-cementitious types will be skeptical that the concrete block is better than gravel. No chance for this stone to roll, to scatter dust they might say. But aggregate strength is its own sort of freedom — knowing the winds of the world may wear on you less. The most romantic may link their initials in wet slurry. Wait for the united letters to become rock solid. If favoured, the mixture may be reinforced with rebar or two gold rings. How concrete is handled after it is poured is just as important as before.
One week into Poetry Month and I’ve written a poem (sometimes more than one) each day! Considering how creatively stunted and numb I’ve felt lately, I’m happy that any words are rising to the surface. Thinking about how to revise them into good words is a May problem.
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt asked for a poem based on a news article. It was a bit of a chore to find a story that wasn’t about the pandemic, but then I hit upon this interesting one about discovering the age of whale sharks. But, true to my nature, I ended up turning it into something with an undertone of doom.
This one is an erasure poem taken directly from the text of the article. I don’t do those often, because I find them extremely challenging, but this month is all about experimentation and breaking out of comfort zones (without leaving your house), right?
Whale sharks swim in mystery.
Count lines in the vertebrae
like rings in a tree trunk.
Reasons behind age, what persists —
every living thing decays
the older the creature, the less you find
The hard part is these intensely vulnerable humans.
I am super excited to be reading at the Edmonton Poetry Festival today for Poetry Central 1 at City Hall, and honoured to be on the bill with four other poets I admire. The theme of this year’s fest is HomeWord, and I have tried to keep that in mind when I chose the pieces I want to share.
The fest actually kicked off yesterday morning with a BYOV (local poets organizing their own events at various city venues) called Poetry and Stillness. It was meditative and beautiful. The words were enriching. It gave me the focus and energy I need for the rest of the busy week.
Hoping to catch as many events as I can, and then finish with a workshop by Arleen Pare on Saturday. The Fest always puts on spectacular workshops.
Still plan to post the Poem-A-Day to finish out the month. If you’ve been reading any of my posts, thank you so much. And hopefully you’re poeming along too. The world needs your words. Poetry can be the force that makes us protect what’s important, and fight for the world we want. But Alice Walker said it better, with one of my favourite quotes about poetry:
“Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.”
The last day! Unfortunately, also a day when I am feeling quite under the weather, so didn’t have as much time and energy to devote to the final poem as I would’ve liked. Today’s Writer’s Digest prompt was the very wide open suggestion to write a “The ____” poem. I decided to narrow it down a bit with the NaPoWriMo prompt to write about something that happens again and again.
The Sun & You
when you’re in my bed
hot on my neck
the midday sun
next to you
My last Alberta poet of the month is Edmonton writer and artist Laurie MacFayden. In keeping with the “The ___ ” theme, I thought of Laurie’s stunning poem “The Last Night,” from her book Kissing Keeps Us Afloat. It resonates with me especially well, as it reminds me of things I’ve written (or tried to write, perhaps less successfully) about dealing with my Mom’s death. Listen and watch Laurie give a wonderful reading of it here.