I am always yammering on about getting out of my comfort zone and going for a stretch.
For an introvert, during Covid restrictions, this means poetry.
Something I’ve never done and never thought I’d do. After registering for the class I asked myself repeatedly, “What was I thinking!”
It was surprisingly gratifying and illuminating. Words can lie, but it seems poetry cannot.
Here are my efforts:
Bantu (two line, call-and-response) poem. Can be written by two people, but in this poem I wrote both lines, inspired by a vase in my office.
Vase has a thin brittle edge with one small chip
Life is fragile and breaks without warning
Ode (poem celebrating something you love).
Ode to Tula
Small enough to pick up and hold
Always gets up in my lap to talk to “grandpa”
Relentlessly begging for treats, behavior learned from going hungry
Back to treats, she knows the drawer they are in and she sits and patiently waits
Imploring with her big eyes and tiny whine
She has not found a way to open the drawer herself, but she would like to
Why make life easy,
When you can have something complicated,
With a troubled past you’ll never know or understand
And can only infer from her difficult and needy behavior
She makes me remember compassion
She makes me remember when you meet someone on the street you don’t know what they’ve been through, how they’ve struggled, their pain
So much love in her small body
So much warmth under a blanket having a nap together
So much gratitude for a warm home and a water dish and a predictable dinnertime
So well-behaved in the car because she used to live in one
Big ears give her a comical expression
Short reddish-tan fur warm and soft to the touch
Makes her the third red-head in the family
Tail that whaps back and forth with excitement
Reactive in ways I wish she wasn’t
Impossible to manage at times despite her small size
I can’t know the memory she is reacting to
She reminds me of me
She deserves love and tenderness and I give it
I’m glad I wanted her despite complications and complexity
I’m glad I rescued her
I’m glad she rescued me
Free verse form (anything goes) on what is absent, missing, broken, used up, longed for.
Loss Of A Year
We won’t get the time back
To travel to Italy
Or celebrate Dad’s 91stbirthday, or Natalie’s graduation
We won’t get our innocence back
Our belief we want the same things,
Believe the same truth,
Share the same values
We won’t get back our ability to look away
In the face of inexplicable brutality
We won’t get back families that are broken by death
Deaths we didn’t see coming and never dreamed would number so many
What we have found is the joy of small things
The pleasure of tiny moments that make a year
Do we grieve and grieve and grieve
Or do we move forward from here
Collaborative poem. These are verses I contributed to a collaborative poem Advice to Humankind. Everyone in the class contributed individual lines, based on our current day existence, and the contributions were assembled into one larger poem by the teacher. A unique experience. The whole was indeed more than the sum of its parts, but I’m sharing only my writing out of respect for the other contributors – they choose where and when to share their work.
If you find yourself vacillating between stress eating,
go outside more, and for longer.
Let the sun warm your face.
Sit or walk, see something green and growing,
Enjoy the outdoors, even the rain.
Or sit by a window if you can’t go out.
Recognize you won’t use all your extra time to clean the house
sort the drawers
learn new skills, or exercise in online classes.
You might fall short
on bettering yourself, with all the stress
All poetry was written in the Portland Community College writing class Little Moments: Poetry of the Everyday taught by Angie Ebba, February 20, 2021.
© 2021 Carol Merwin, All Rights Reserved
All images are property of the author and may not be reproduced without permission.