Happy New Year! The Roundup is Here

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.

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

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27 thoughts on “Happy New Year! The Roundup is Here

  1. Akram Kahn’s reasons to change are inspiring and true. I have hope that every action we take to protect our planet is important — the small as well as the large. Your poem turned out lovely, and that ending question is poignantly perfect.

    Thanks for rounding us up on this first Friday of the year!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing Akram Kahn’s fascinating thoughts on why people change. I’ve been thinking a lot about change lately and his insights will linger. I love how you worked with our lines to create your own poem. Ending with a question is so effective! Thanks for hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Change is a constant in our lives. Do we submit, challenge or simply ignore? Are we jellyfish or salmon? Catherine, I very much enjoyed your response. Your poem possesses a gentle provocation. I found myself revisiting my own attitude to change. Thank you for this thoughtful piece. While I love the line- ‘leaves understand and submit without challenging the direction of the wind’ I have decided I am more inclined to adapt, rather than benignly submit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I knew this would happen, but I promised myself not to look until I had my own final draft. I love what you did with it. The slight changes of placement create new meaning.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love those wise words from Akram Kahn, Catherine, and your own choice of response: “The wind unwinds us day by day.
    Do we challenge? Or submit?” And the word “shifting” feels so true about life. Thanks for hosting and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful! How great to have a screenshot of your one-minute progressive poem! What a special experience and community. And yes, so many gateways to change. I often think of this quote by Anais Nin: “Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one’s courage.” All change requires courage. Wishing you and all our PF friends a courageous 2023! xo

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  7. Catherine, how lovely–and I agree that any work (or play) we do to create change in our poetic lives has reverberations in other areas, like our climate change responses. Everything is connected! I like the way you reordered the lines and added questions. And I appreciate what you’ve shared from the choreographer’s wisdom! Thank you for hosting us today.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Catherine, thank you for an inspirational post on change, a significant opportunity at this time of year. Your poem moves me and your ending question sparks time for thought. Thank you for your thoughts to connect with mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Catherine, What a work of art you and the inklings created this week. I admire all of you for your creativity! Thank you for sharing the revised version of the poem. It is a great statement on change and also on how some things stay the same (steps and stones still lie) from Margaret. I also like in the opening of your post, the fourth reason for change,
    “Finally, people change “when they receive enough that they are able to.” This is so true. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for hosting us so graciously, Catherine. I saved your questions by Akram Khan. Something to remember and ponder. It’s interesting to think about the “wind” and whether we challenge it. I think we must, every day, despite various “do we have free will” conversations with my kids. (One took an entire philosophy class about it!)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for hosting our first Poetry Friday gathering, Catherine. I love those Inklings poems and the theme of #change is so compelling. I’m sharing my 2023 “Sneak Peek” list of forthcoming poetry books for young people at my blog. Happy Poetry New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Catherine, you’ve given us so much to reflect on – I was especially stopped by the idea that we change when we receive enough to enable it. So often we expect others to change themselves (when THEY are ready). This casts change into a different light – a light that suggests we must help where we can. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the Inklings’ versions of the exquisite corpse. I love yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think growing as a poet totally can change things. All change begins of something personal, and I think we mostly can only make the world better as we become better. Thanks for this thoughtful post and for hosting, Catherine!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What a marvelous background you were able to give your poem. That was a very thought-provoking discussion on the ballet. I love the phrase “challenge or submit?” That’s the crux of so many questions…

    Liked by 1 person

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