Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Imperfect wonder

Today is the fourth day of the November 5 Day OpenWrite with Dr. Sarah J. Donovan's Ethical ELA. Thus far, we have written in response to "thanks," "giving," and "receiving." Dr. Donovan continues this thoughtful series today with a focus on "breath" and her inspiration is:

Now, I invite you to name what you breathe in. What do you want to, need to breathe in, to receive (yes, return to yesterday’s poem)? This may be abstract or concrete.

And then name what you breathe out. This may be something toxic in your body or life that you want to expel, or it may be something that you are giving to others, the world. Perhaps what you exhale is a wish or a gift.

For the poem's structure, we were encouraged to try a nonet duo or a diamante. Both of these poetic structures are new to me. I decided to try the nonet duo, and I wrote about my forest walks. (These always help me to breathe!) Here is my poem:

walking through the forest in autumn

winds shifting branches with a groan 

craggy old trees standing stark 

sad crunch of leaves dying

light and warmth waning

tired world is 


take a




look again

notice the worn

the broken branches 

hear their groans as exhale

absorb how old trees stretch high 

sun and shadows weave together 

write into this imperfect wonder

Here are the comments I received on the Ethical ELA website:

Glenda M. Funk

This is truly beautiful. The way you personify nature speaking in

tired world is
take a

offers permission to pause, reflect, and heal. I love the last line, too. It’s cathartic in its purpose:

write into this imperfect wonder

Amanda Potts, who sometimes writes in this group, posts pictures each day from her walks. All summer she shared flower images on FB and IG. Lately she’s shared dying flower, leaves, and other images revealing the beauty of a tired world. Your poem honors this fall beauty. 

Erica J How lovely to take us through this walk in the woods. I love how as the poem got shorter, it matched the scenery around you also “waning” — it was prefect! And then when it starts to expand again you bring this hope to the poem. I really appreciated that twist.

I absolutely love the line ‘write into this imperfect wonder” — that aspect of nature is my favorite to capture as well

Thank you for sharing this poem!

gayle sands

Maureen—I needed this. In the last week, three close friends have lost—or are losing—family members. I need some solace.

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