Sunday, September 28, 2014

West Florida Literary Foundation Poetry Challenge

Today, I wrote my 28th poem for the WFLF Poetry Challenge. Since Sept. 17, I've written two poems a day from the challenge. Some are garbage; some have promise.  I've enjoyed writing all of them (Well, except for the second villanelle.  Who needs to write two villanelles in a single month?)

In graduate school and before Connor was born, I kept the practice of writing a poem a day.  I wrote a lot of terrible poems, but the joy and discipline of daily working with words nourished me, and all of my writing improved from the daily practice.  I had to explore new forms. I had to pay attention to the world.  I had to learn to play.

WFLF hosted the first poetry readings I ever attended, so writing poems for this challenge was a coming home of sorts. They are still fresh, and they need much work in all the ways that poems need work: syntax, rhythm, word choice, theme, line breaks, figurative language, etc. But I've rediscovered a practice that makes every day better.

Here is the poem from Day 15.

Fall Away

I raise my right hand overhead, place the tip of my thumb on my index finger
jnana, binding my self with the soul of the world.
I raise my left hand, shoulder level, palm out, varada,
my open hand a gesture of forgiveness.
My left hand says there is much work to do; my right, I cannot do this alone.
Forgiveness is the work of fall.  The brittle limbs and fading leaves I’ve held close
long to fall away, to nourish the soil for next year’s growth.
I might have shed them in spring,
but I waited to see if they would blossom.
In summer, new leaves and bursting blooms hid them.
Now, I can feel into the places
where wounds I’ve held seek release.
I let the wind move me.
Gravity adds her tug,
and the branches, dead and hollow in their core,
pull away.  Somewhere on the end
of the limbs I’m letting go, there is a seed. 

Read more about the WFLF Poem a Day for September Challenge here.  Thanks to Elizabeth Cantonwine Schmidt for telling me about this challenge.

As always, words and images on this blog copyright Lori Gravley-Novello, 2013 & 2014.  Use only with written permission of the artist/author.

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