What Poetry Can Do

(A sestina, for the (fun and fascinating!) collaborative photography and poetry prompts on “Conversation”: photography (click on the July 22 PhotoPlay article) at The High Calling, and poetry at T.S. Poetry.)

I returned from out of town to see
the “conversation” prompt and wanted
to yell, “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!
Do you really expect me to write
a sestina in TWO DAYS?”
(For crying out loud!)

But I knew no matter how loud
I yelled, you wouldn’t hear and couldn’t see
the mind-busting, hair-pulling, clueless daze
you drove me into. And yet, whatever you wanted,
I always did (“yes, ma’am”), so again I will write
like mad, try a line, stretch my mind.

And, really, dear unreasonable poet, I don’t mind
the testing and the stretching, so long as I’m allowed
to change my end words, try again, rewrite
and rearrange (the fun is in the trying), and simply see
what comes. According to my wonted
bent to try new things, I jumped in, remembering days

not so long ago, those eye-opening days
when, giddy and excited, I first mined
and explored poetry’s treasures. I wanted
to be part of that world both quiet and loud.
And, like a novice swimmer in a vast sea,
I dove in to write.

And still I keep discovering. When I write
a poem, sometimes, there is a kind of daze
that lifts, and I can see
what I couldn’t before, as if my mind
was in a fog, a cloud,
and only wanted

a poem to lift it out. I wanted
the rhythm, just the right
word, the crescendo from whisper to loud
celebration, and found them in the days
of trying poems. And I don’t mind
telling you: poetry has brought complacency

to a (wanted) end, turned upside-down days
aright, settled my unquiet mind,
and allowed me to clearly see.

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8 thoughts on “What Poetry Can Do

  1. Monica – fabulous!

    And this is your first sestina?

    So clever:
    “days/daze”
    “want/want”
    “mind/mined”
    …I’m sure I’ve missed some but the
    and the pièce de résistance: “see / complacency.”

    I love the truth of the ending.

  2. Wow, this is fabulous. I enjoyed your creative endings as others have pointed out, and the conversation and story you tell, and your conclusion. I also love these words:
    “as if my mind
    was in a fog, a cloud,
    and only wanted
    a poem to lift it out.”

    This I will say, two days are great but give you a week and you’ll blow it away! :) Nice to meet you.

  3. Pingback: The Village Watched: A Random Act of Poetry | Tweetspeak PoetryTweetspeak Poetry

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