Over twenty years ago I fell in love and wrote a flurry of poems because that’s what new lovers often do. But when new love settled into daily love, I returned to prose. Now I’m writing poems again, this time because I’ve fallen in love with living and reading and writing again.
For the first three years after the pandemic began, I could barely concentrate to read, let alone write. My father died, and it fell to me to handle his estate and figure out how to care for my mother, who has Alzheimer’s. Many days, all I could do was listen to audiobooks while walking Laika.
But as the most intense grief ebbed and probate closed, I began to feel stirrings of the need to write again. My friend, writer Jennifer Munro, suggested a workshop with Sage Cohen, writing a poem a day for the month of April. Why not? About thirty of us joined a Facebook group and responded to the prompts in Sage’s book, Write a Poem a Day: Thirty Prompts to Unleash Your Imagination. We gave each other feedback, focusing on what surprised, startled, and moved us. Sage generously commented on every poem.
Each morning, I read the day’s prompt and headed out with Laika for our walk. Instead of listening to a book, I spoke lines into my phone. Back at my desk, I had the seed, and the poem grew from there.
The poems I wrote are new and raw and not ready for publication. But what matters is that the writing was my morning meditation, and it brought my writing self back to life. And not only the writing — the reading! Sage’s book introduced me to poets I didn’t know, like the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet, whose poem “Things I Didn’t Know I Loved” is one I didn’t know I needed. Oh, the last lines: “I didn’t know I loved so many things and I had to wait until sixty/to find it out sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train/watching the world disappear as if on a journey of no return.” As I look toward my sixtieth birthday later this year, I am so grateful for the gift of poetry this month.