Poetry Friday: A Monotetra

I woke this morning to the news of an unexpected snow day as well as news of the expected defeat of changing the filibuster rules in the Senate to allow the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to become law. My immediate reaction was to begin doom-scrolling through Twitter. I soon stumbled upon a tweet about this prompt from Stacy L. Joy on Ethical ELA:

Write a monotetra (or try any form of poetry) that can serve as resolutions for 2022, reminders to pursue peace, hope, and change, or perhaps write one that can bury the hurts and losses of 2020-2021.

A monotetra consists of mono-rhymed quatrains with 8 syllables per line. There is no set number of quatrains. The final line of each stanza should contain a repeating refrain.

Writing a monotetra seemed like a better way to spend my day, so I got to work. For the most part, I was able to achieve 8 syllables per line, but the repeating refrain eluded me.

Be kind to others. Help. Assist.
Raise your voice. Demand. Insist.
When Justice fails, step up. Resist.
Don’t give up. Carry on. Persist.

These empty-sounding platitudes
remind us that our attitude
relies on strength and fortitude.
Ideals aren’t reached in solitude.     

We haven’t any time to waste.
Each day our values are erased.
Our country’s hope has been defaced.
We can’t forget the dreams we’ve chased.

I’m still debating if the poem should end here or if the following stanza should be included:

Each day feels like an uphill climb.
We are running out of time
To strike a chord, make our lives chime.
We cannot stop; we’re out of time.

Either way, this is still very much a draft. It did help strengthen my resolve, though, and not give in to despair. At least for today.

Please be sure to visit Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: Ellen Bass’s “The Thing Is”

This poem by Ellen Bass was exactly what I needed to read this week. Maybe it will strike a chord with you, also.

The Thing Is

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you down like your own flesh
only more of it, and obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?

Read the rest of the poem here.

Please be sure to visit Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: The Forest Pond

Happy New Year! The Inklings are kicking off the 2022 with a challenge from Heidi. She suggested that we use the “The Lost Lagoon” by Mohawk poet, Emily Pauline Johnson (d. 1913) “to build your own poem FOR CHILDREN about a treasured place that you return to again and again (geographical or metaphorical).”

I really didn’t have to think too long about what to write about. There is a pond in the woods behind our house where my family and I have hiked, fished, searched for tadpoles, and skated since we moved here 35 years ago. Johnson included people in her memories of the lost lagoon, but I decided to leave the pond to itself in my poem.

This form was definitely a challenge. Coming up with two rhyming lines per stanza that make sense was hard enough, but THREE? Even though I wrote and rewrote each stanza several times, I’m still not sure everything works, but here is my response to Heidi’s very challenging challenge.

The Forest Pond

It’s spring time at the forest pond.
Geese return, led by a starry map,
turtles emerge from their winter nap,
red-budded maples ooze with sap
as nature waves her magic wand.

It’s summer at the forest pond.
In mama’s wake, fat goslings trail,
while tadpoles lose their legs and tails,
over glossy water dragonflies sail,
then nature waves her magic wand.

It’s autumn at the forest pond
and honking geese fly overhead,
beneath the pond, critters make their bed,
soon trees are bare and all seems dead,
then nature waves her magic wand.

It’s winter at the forest pond.
Noisy geese have taken flight,
white ice has water tucked in tight,
but days grow longer, there is more light
as nature waves her magic wand.

Draft, © 2022, by Catherine Flynn

Please be sure to visit my fellow Inklings to read their responses to Heidi’s prompt.

Heidi @ My Juicy Little Universe
Linda @ A Word Edgewise
Margaret @ Reflections on the Teche
Mary Lee @ A(nother) Year of Reading
Molly @ Nix the Comfort Zone

Then head over to Carol Varsalona’s blog for the Poetry Friday Roundup.