I’m taking a very interesting class, actually a MOOC (massive open online course) via Stanford’s Lagunita online learning platform. The course is “Ten Poems by Ten Premodern Woman” and features women I’ve never heard of, in addition to more familiar poets like Anne Bradstreet and Emily Dickinson. Lesson Three was about Lady Mary Wortley Montague, who wrote a poem called “Saturday the Smallpox” in early 18th Century England. Lady Mary wrote her poem in heroic couplets, and one option for the homework was to write a poem in that form. Here’s my offering/attempt/silliness.
To write a poem every day is mad!
NaPoMo deeply haunts me, makes me sad.
It’s bad enough that poetry is hard—
and aspirations fall short of the Bard—
to set an expectation high, so high—
to write a poem every day, to try
what can’t be done, by one in one’s sane mind.
Okay. Deep breath. Pause to fresh coffee grind.
The sound of water boiling senses calms.
Put down the pen. Turn up your empty palms.
In April cactus bloom by the front door,
a dogwood flowers white, and then no more.
Where orange poppies for a while were thick,
now urgent weeds perform their floppy shtick.
But still a windy afternoon can call
to you, to watch the lilies by the wall,
and wait for poems written from the heart,
to flow along your arm and hand, to start
with their small crucial voices once again.
Ignore the world’s demands. Pick up your pen.
(c) Jennifer Swanton Brown April 2015