Poetry Friday: Seeking Joy

This week I was fortunate enough to participate in part of the Poetry Foundation’s annual workshop for teachers. To say that this experience was inspiring is an understatement. I’m still processing the multitude of ideas, wisdom, and poems shared by the presenters. My initial reaction to the incredible poets who presented was “thank you!” Thank you for voicing so clearly what I sometimes have trouble articulating: That poetry is not a luxury, that poetry is full of all the feelings, and that, in the words of Yolanda Sealy-Ruiz, we should all ‘’be deliberate about seeking joy.”

Later, while “seeking joy” in my backyard, I noticed two goldfinches flitting in and out of the branches of our cherry tree. Goldfinches truly do bring me joy. I’ve written at least twice about their merry-making. (Here and here) In that moment, in the words of musician Mic Jordan, their “music [was] medicine” to me, medicine worthy of celebration.

High in sun-spangled
chitter-chattering goldfinches
bestow their poem
to the world.

Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2022

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

Poetry Friday: Persistence

The first Friday of the month already? Wasn’t it just the first of June? The calendar is persistent, isn’t it? This month, Heidi noted that “there are so many ways in which we’ve all (but especially as women, as educators) had to be persistent, despite our weariness.” Her challenge was to “write a poem (for kids or adults) about PERSISTENCE.”

The political and cultural landscape of our country has changed dramatically since Heidi first posted her challenge. I had several ideas for how this poem might go, but after a week of what feels like one assault after another on our democracy, it’s hard not to write this poem as though persistence has a whole new meaning. This poem began as an acrostic. Some of those bones are still visible. I tried to keep politics out of this very drafty poem, but it wasn’t easy.

A young praying mantis, 
Not even two inches 

long, scrambles away
from my rake.

Possibilities evaporate 
when we retreat,

Fail to stand up 
for ourselves, for what’s right.

High above me, the mantis
clings to the house

Stretching, reaching
Toward light, toward love.

Expand your heart
Toward your true North.

I marvel at this tiny insect’s
courage; try to summon my own.

Everything hangs in the balance.

Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2022

Please be sure to visit my fellow Inklings to read their responses to Heidi’s challenge:

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

Then head over to Salt City Verse, where Janice Scully has the Roundup.