Raprochement, Part 2

Or perhaps instead of “Part 2” I should say, “pas de deux,” since I seem to have dancing in mind a lot lately. Last night I wrote about an imagined reunion with an old love. Tonight I’m thinking about the epistolary flirtation that provided a welcome shift in focus during some of the rougher moments of the past year. Hey, it’s spring and sometimes this is where my brain goes …

The sources text for tonight’s Golden Shovel is, at last, some lines from Lucille Clifton’s poem, “to thelma who worried because i couldn’t cook.” I’ve been looking at these two lines every day this month, and not hearing what I could do with them, just knowing that I loved them. What I’ve written doesn’t match what I had in mind, but I’m okay with it.


In this season of thorns, you revealed yourself a rose
climbing toward sunlight, always looking up
yet firmly planted here, solid like
the trunk of an oak or a 
stubborn resolution. While I -- pliable as dough -- 
watched, hesitated, questioned. And
tried not to trust, waiting for the bubble to burst.
And a year later, still cloistered in
our separate spaces, tentatively approaching the
world outside, you send brick oven
pizza, flowers, fruit. What am I to make of
any of that, of you and your
insistent, slow-burning hunger?

National Poetry Month 2021: the Golden Shovel

As I’ve done for the last forever, I’ve chosen a poetic form, and I’m going to try to write a poem in that form every day for the month of April. I don’t always succeed, but I always give it my best shot. The “Golden Shovel” was created by Terrance Hayes in tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks. I learned about it from my friend Sonia (aka Red Emma). I’ll be using Lucille Clifton’s poems as my starting point this month. Here are the rules:

  • Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire.
  • Use each word in the line (or lines) as the end word for each line in your poem.
  • Keep the end words in order.
  • Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines).
  • The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.

If you pull a line with six words, your poem would be six lines long. If you pull a stanza with 24 words, your poem would be 24 lines long. And so on.

Should be interesting!

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