Poetry Friday: Challenges

T.S. Eliot claimed that “April is the cruelest month” but I think teachers might argue that August is a close second. Unfinished summer projects taunt us; unorganized classrooms beckon. Add to all that the Inklings’ monthly challenge. Something had to give. You guessed it. It was the challenge.

For our September challenge, Margaret Simon asked us to “Choose a photo from the month of This Photo Wants to be a Poem and share your poem and your process.” Every week, Margaret shares a photo on Facebook as a poetry prompt, a tradition that began with Laura Purdie Salas.

I knew immediately which photo I wanted to write to:

The fields around my house are full of this grass right now and I’m always awed by its beauty. But what to write? I pondered and wrote notes. After several false starts, I began looking at the other photos. Then, while Heidi Mordhorst, Mary Lee Hahn, Michelle Kogan, and I were discussing Ada Limón‘s enchanting new book, The Hurting Kind, someone said that many of Limon’s lines would be good strike lines for a Golden Shovel. All at once, everything clicked. I knew which line would work perfectly with this photo.

“…amidst the perpetual
scattering that unspools the world.”

Ada Limón
(from “It’s the Season I Often Mistake”)

Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2022

Thank you to Margaret for posing this challenge. Thank you to Heidi, Mary Lee, and Michelle for the insightful and stimulating conversation about The Hurting Kind. If you haven’t already read how my fellow Inklings responded to this challenge, please visit them at their blogs:

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

Also be sure to visit Kat Apel for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

14 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Challenges

  1. Catherine,

    I love this draft of your poem you posted a few minutes ago. I had just ordered Ada Limon’s book. Her line works so perfectly to build your poem— beautiful. I kept moving back and forth between your words and the photo— “invisible threads keeping us tethered to the world.” Thank you for the calm of this poem in the chaos of this world.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marvelous found line & I love your special words surrounding it, Catherine, especially “as the year unspools its invisible thread”. The grass is beautiful, an autumn treasure!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That word, “unspool” is the star of that poem. I just love it. Maybe we teachers should sing, “A Little Help from my Friends,” at the end of every August. There is just SO much to do!

    Liked by 1 person

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