Happy New Year! Welcome to the first Poetry Friday of 2023! I’m happy to be hosting this week and can’t wait to read all your poetic offerings.
It’s also the first Friday of the month, which means it’s time for another Inkling challenge. This month, Heidi asked us to “write a poem which weighs the pros and cons of #change.” She added, “for extra fun, use any form, but consider starting in one form and gradually transitioning in the course of the poem to a quite different form.”
Many of us vow to make changes as we welcome a new year. Even as we make these vows, we know our chances of making lasting, meaningful change is small. But the impact of even small changes can be huge. How can we ensure meaningful change? Coincidentally, a segment of The New Yorker Radio Hour this week was about choreographer Akram Khan’s recent reimagining of the classic ballet, Giselle. The episode ended with Khan listing his views on why people change. The first reason, in Khan’s opinion is that “they hurt enough that they have to.” Next, he said, “people change when they see enough that they’re inspired to.” Thirdly, people change “when they learn enough that they want to.” Finally, people change “when they receive enough that they are able to.”
The wisdom of these words can guide us through changes large and small. In the big scheme of things, changing and growing as a poet may not seem as significant as say, slowing climate change. And yet, I don’t think the two are unrelated. Who knows what impact our poems may have?
My fellow Inklings constantly inspire me, teach me, and give me the support I need to keep growing. When we met last week, we were all pretty well worn out from travel, bouts with Covid, busy holidays, and new babies. Then Mary Lee shook things up and suggested that we write an exquisite corpse poem on the spot. We agreed that we could use the resulting poem as the basis for our #change poem this week.
Here is how it looked after we’d each written our line:
My line came from a draft of a #change poem I’d been working on before our meeting. But with so many lovely lines to work with, I rearranged and revised the lines above. Here is the result:
On the forest floor,
where steps and stones still lie,
leaves understand and submit
without challenging the direction of the wind.
Shifting clouds wander and wind along our way
shining light or casting shadows.
The wind unwinds us day by day.
Do we challenge? Or submit?
What will you be striving to change this year?
Be sure to visit my fellow Inklings to see how they changed our exquisite corpse poem, then leave your link below.