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.

10 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Persistence

  1. This poem holds even more meaning for me — I found a mantis just that size in my garden last night when I was watering. I love how you wove observations of nature together with current events. We will have to find the strength to persist wherever we can find it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nature inspires in many ways & you’ve found a lovely example in the mantis. I am always overjoyed when I spy one. They are experts at hiding, & yet find ways to persist in the wild, which we must do, too, after this harrowing week!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Everything hangs out of balance, in fact–but yes, praying like a mantis toward light, toward love, and leaning on others–it’s the only way to find true North, South, East or West. Lovely, Catherine.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve combined so much in this poem Catherine. Thank you. I do feel that things are out of balance and we’ve all participated in some awful time warp dream…going back decades, unable to find a way out. Thank you, again, for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Possibilities evaporate…” A stab at the recent political environment. We need to persist. “Everything hangs in the balance.” Nature gives us so many lessons.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. oof! “Possibilities evaporate/ when we retreat,/Fail to stand up/ for ourselves, for what’s right.”
    That smarts but it’s so true and so good. The word “pray” in praying mantis reminds me of “thoughts and prayers” comments too — even though that’s not implied. Well done, Catherine.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is wonderful, Catherine. You’ve woven together so much here and it resonates. “Possibilities evaporate when we retreat” is a powerful line and the layered use of “balance” your final line really drives it all home. Beautifully done!

    Liked by 1 person

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