Every year that I’ve given myself the challenge of writing a poem a day for April, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about what a crazy endeavor that is because I’m so not a poet. I go on and on day after day about how much I’m not a poet. And it’s true that I don’t think of myself as a poet, but it is also quite obviously true that I continue to write poems in spite of that self-perception.
I started this month in much the same way — talking about how not-a-poet me was back again, planning to sully the internets with my feeble attempts at poems.
But then that stopped. And stopped really early on. And I didn’t notice, didn’t see that it had stopped. And I didn’t feel any compunction to badmouth the work I was posting — and even had the audacity to post beyond the confines of this little-visited corner of the web.
What happened? Are the poems I’m writing this year better than each of the past years? Hardly. Much more interestingly, I think what’s happened is that I’ve stepped out of my way — at least a little bit — and given myself permission to just write my poems without having to fire up the neon signs of disapproval every time I post one. It’s a nice change, I won’t lie. As nice as it is completely unexpected.
Today’s Poetic Asides prompt is to write a family poem. About time the prompts got in sync with my one-track mind! I’ve been writing family poems since I found that first mystery relative at the Underground Railroad Museum.
bow my head,
give thanks, give praise.
We’re here, still alive,
across the gulfs
of time and silence.
one, one more.
Fill the spaces,
bring every child home.
I didn’t go to church today, but I thought about it, a lot. On my way out of town to have an early Easter dinner, I passed the wide open doors of a church about 15 blocks from here. What I could only think of as a clarion call flowed out to the street: a single horn playing a beautiful fanfare, calling me, calling me, welcoming me in. It was a church I’d never noticed before, and I wanted to let myself be drawn in. Never mind the train I had to catch. Never mind that it wasn’t “my” church. I wanted to climb those steps and walk in, wanted to share that song and the soon-coming moments of silence and prayer with the room full of strangers. I wanted to send up my quiet “thank you,” amid the praise songs.
I went to the train, stayed with my original plan. But I’ve been hearing that trumpet, remembering the feel of that pull all day.
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An Arun is a 15-line poem with the syllable count 1/2/3/4/5 — 3x. It may be a new thing in the world, made up by me last year. “Arun” means “five” in Yoruba.