Poetry Friday: One Little Word

Happy New Year! My Sunday Night Swaggers group challenge for January (thank you, Heidi, for this particular challenge) is to write about our One Little Word for 2020. I have been on the fence about even choosing a word. But over the past week, I’ve encountered the idea of perspective so often, I took it as a sign to consider this word. Without getting too political, it seems like perspective is in short supply these days. While I can’t change the willingness of others to see issues from a viewpoint other than their own, I can be more vigilant about being open to other perspectives myself.

To chose one word to guide my life over the coming year feels somewhat limiting, so it seems important that this word help me face challenges that will inevitably present themselves in the year ahead. Keeping these events in perspective may not be easy, but it will help me navigate them.

My mother once asked me why I write poetry. She thinks I have enough to do already. I thought about this as I tried to figure out how to write a poem about perspective. How on earth could I do this? The answer presented itself, as it usually does, while I was reading. In her essay, “The Mercies,” (which you can read in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage) Ann Patchett contemplates the life of the nun who taught her to read.  She writes “…when I can manage to see outside the limitations of my own life.” The perfect strike line for a golden shovel.

Be sure to see how my fellow Swaggers tackled this challenge by visiting their blogs.

Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
Linda at A Word Edgewise
Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone

And don’t forget to visit Carol at Carol’s Corner for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

17 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: One Little Word

  1. Oh Catherine, I really love your poem. You did it!! So much depends on perspective AND on belief in yourself. If I lived a different life….powerful words and ways to look at perspective which I believe should/could/might lead to empahy.

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  2. Again, you leave me saying, Wow! Your thoughts on choosing a word to finding a word in a strike line of a work of fiction confirms my belief that we live in and through story. I love the rose-gold light and the illusion of growing out of rock. Without being too political…let’s pray that we can see growth this coming year in our nation. Thank you, Catherine. I think you’ve created a beautiful beginning for 2020.

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  3. What mysteries? Love that question. Perspective is a great word to think about. Doesn’t it seem the universe tells you what you need to hear if you listen? You are a good listener. Continue!

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  4. Wow! What a fabulous final line! I love how you approached this challenge and how the form arose so organically for you. “Perspective” is a wonderful OLW and one we all need to embrace (Margaret’s word!).

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  5. If only we tried to solve those mysteries, it seems that life might become a little lighter, right? I enjoyed your intro to your poem & OLW choice, Catherine, & then the poem, so sound with important musings. Thanks for the questions!

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  6. Perspective seems like a great word for this year! And I love the idea of writing as “a way of seeing beyond our own lives.” I agree, too, with several others who commented on your last line! Wow to the wow to the wow! Such an important question for all of us to ask.

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  7. Your theme song could be Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” 🙂
    (Hmm…this has me wondering…what would MY word’s [actually…words’] theme song be…)

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  8. Catherine, your description of how you got there is succinct and powerful–“She thinks I already have enough to do” shows a wisdom some of us CAN’T embrace! We must read, and write, and strike, and strike, and may we keep perspective and plumb the mysteries of others’ experience EVEN AS we get political, which really is not to be avoided. Perspective is one little word that re*uires an array of possibilities…and a great choice therefore.

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