Thursday, April 9, 2020

Apr9Poetry - Go out into it

I'm trying something new, taking a risk this month - participating in
#VerseLove with Sarah Donovan,
hoping to write poetry every day this April.

Today's poetry inspiration was suggested by the author Jennifer Jacobson:

As a writer of fiction, I’ve long believed in the power of what Pam Houston calls glimmers or what Lynda Berry calls aliveness: objects or snatches of memory that seem to have more staying power . . . perhaps an electrical charge.

Poet, Marie Howe, asks her students to write down ten observations of the actual world. She doesn’t want observations embellished with meaning, but pure descriptions that lead the mind to new ways of seeing. A keyhole if you will. This is harder than it seems.

I spent the day taking notes on things...just trying to pay more attention to the world around me. This intention, in and of itself, seemed like the perfect remedy for this umpteenth day of this pandemic, shelter-in-place, trapped. Trapped but looking and paying attention! Quite fun, really! 

Go Out Into It

I ran into the early morning rain,
in pajamas and bare feet,
to grab the newspaper, 
before it was soaked.
I jumped back inside
giddy, and

As a child,
I loved a soaking rain,
water coursing
down the street.
We'd run outside with
plywood scraps from the shed,
and surf the gutters.

I was also
terrified of thunder.
Loud booms
sent me under my bed,
child's pose,
arms wrapped around my head,
seeking refuge.

In what ways am I still a child?
Why have I
forfeited the play?
Why have I
kept the fear?

after the rain,
the wind has raged,
lashing at the awnings,
tumbling the trash cans,
slamming the fence gate.
When it screeched like a tea kettle,
I jumped and
turned to see who was there,

This wind is the stuff 
of my fears.
It isn't going anywhere.
Not any time soon.
We may not be halfway to calm.
Throw open the door
and go out


  1. [Anne Roseboro, from Sarah Donovan's website] Maureen, your closing stanza is particularly poignant. Today, in the middle of a sunshiny day, the wind stormed through and it snowed for about five minutes!

    We can’t predict before we head out, we just have to go on out into whatever the weather blows our way!

  2. [Barb Edler, from Sarah Donovan's website] Maureen, I love the progress of your poem. At the end, it feels as though it’s a challenge to yourself. I appreciate the joy you share from your childhood and how you counterbalance this with the fears a storm can have. I really like the action words in the second to last stanza. They are powerful and insistent and set up the close to the poem well. Now, going out into the world is a new challenge.

  3. [glenda funk, from Sarah Donovan's website] Maureen,
    Do you know the poem “Storm Warnings”? Immediately your poem took me to that one, one of my favorites. Your centering the questions “ In what ways am I still a child?
    Why have I
    forfeited the play?
    Why have I
    kept the fear?” gives me pause. At what point do we lose the balance? Love this subtle focus on Perspective. Thank you.

  4. [Susie Morice, from Sarah Donovan's website] Maureen — The opener…dashing out into the rain… caught me right away. And then the reflection… the images of you as a little kid…that fear… “arms wrapped round my head” — so visual. You pose a question that resonates: “In what ways am I still a child?” and those very sensory wind words (raged, lashing, tumbling, slamming…) good stuff. As you approach those ending lines, it is the “throw open the door and go” that made me smile. Yes! I like the strength in that ending. Thanks, Susie

  5. [Shaun, from Sarah Donovan's website] The line that really resonates with me is the question “why have I mostly forfeited the play?” It almost works as a rhetorical question and I pose it to myself. I love the ending which commands the reader to “throw open the door and go out into it.”