Sunday, November 5, 2017

Highlights from a Creative Week

It has been a good week in terms of creativity.  Let me take a minute here and recap:

--On Monday, I helped orchestrate a successful decorate-a-pumpkin day for students at my college campus.  The very act of putting together a table full of decorations felt creative--and it was cool to see so many students respond enthusiastically.

--On Tuesday, we had a costume contest at school.  I delighted in the variety of costumes.

--On Thursday, I had a great poetry writing morning.  Steeped in Halloween and the feast days of All Saints and All Souls (Nov. 2), I sat down, and a poem just flowed out of me.  I've pasted it at the end of this post.

--On Thursday, I created a Veteran's Day art project for us all.  I'm asking people to post a picture of their favorite veteran or to write a thank you note to a veteran.  So far, we've had some participation, which makes me happy.

--On Friday, I revised my book-length manuscript.  The book-length manuscript included most of the poems that have since appeared in my chapbook Life in the Holocene Extinction.  Awhile ago, I made the decision to only have a few poems from each chapbook in any book-length manuscript--the audience for both chapbooks and longer books is likely to be the same, and I want readers to get mostly new content.  But at the same time, I know that a book-length manuscript might last longer, so I don't want to exclude poems, simply because they appeared in a chapbook.  Plus, some just really fit thematically.

I want to have the manuscript ready for entry to this reading series open only to women over age 50.  I felt a bit overwhelmed when I first realized how many poems might need to be removed.  But in the end, it wasn't as hard as I feared.

--I've done some cooking and baking--delightful!

Here's a poem for today, the day when many churches will be celebrating All Saints Sunday.  It first appeared here, on Dave Bonta's wonderful Via Negativa website.

All Saints Songs
"with all the evening music
great as a prayer" 
        Dave Bonta, “Red-Lined
I awake early on the Feast
of All Saints and take
my coffee to the porch.
Once I would have stayed
awake until this hour, wringing
all the celebration possible
out of our All Hallows Eve.
I say a prayer for all those departed,
the ones gone much too early from the party.

Once I would have lit the candles
and declared my love
of thin spaces. Now I fear the hunger
of ghosts who are not ready
to leave and the hooligans
who take advantage of the dark.

I touch the pumpkin’s crumpled face
collapsed from the candle’s heat.
I put the gourd on the pile
of tree limbs ripped from the body
of the tree canopy during September’s storm.

 I hear one lone bird singing
either a prayer to greet
the morning or a lullaby before sleep.
I look to the sky, still dark,
no message in the stars.

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