Sunday, March 19, 2017

Poetry Sunday: "Consolations in Harsh Landscapes"

I love Rattle's feature "Poets Respond," which the journal describes this way:  "Every Sunday we publish one poem online that has been written about a current event that took place the previous week. This is an effort to show how poets react and interact to the world in real time, and to enter into the broader public discourse."

But I rarely have myself together enough to create/revise/come up with an idea for a poem in time for the Friday deadline.

This past Friday, as I was feeling sorrowful about the budget and simultaneously thinking of Saint Patrick, I wondered if I could revise this blog post into a poem.  I thought I would cut and paste lines into the shape of a poem and then revise, but that's not how it happened.  For the most part, I came up with lines inspired by the blog post, and then this poem emerged.

Consolations in Harsh Landscapes

Today patrons shall drink gallons
of green beer and cheer
at parades and watch
the green currents of many rivers.

I will look at the federal budget and remember
that even in a harsh
landscape like Saint Patrick’s Ireland,
strange shapes can flourish.

I will till my own soil, rocky
and marbled with thorns.
If truly desperate, I’ll suck seaweed
from the stones for nourishment.

I will set sail in my coracle,
casting away my oars.
I need no supplies that federal dollars
can bring me.

I will create new communities
on these stony shores.
The larger world may not yet know
but it needs our new brand of faith.

The poem didn't win, but that's not really why I wrote it.  I decided to post it here, since the topic is so timely that a more traditional publication is unlikely.

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