Wednesday I started my day with poetry. I wish I could say that I do this every day, but sadly, I do not. I try hard to be intentional on at least 3 days a week, so that I'm not starting my day with scrolling through Twitter or Facebook.
One way I have done this in the past has been to stay away from the computer. But that's not what I did on Wednesday. I decided to try to write a rough draft on the computer, which isn't usual for me. Lately, though, when I'm feeling like a dried out husk with no poetry ideas, I open my Word doc of evocative lines, choose one or two, and see what comes up. It's amazingly effective.
I wrote a few lines, then turned back to Facebook, where Dave Bonta had posted photos from his daily hike, along with a poem. I was taken by these lines: "i go off looking for / my lost winter glove." I decided to open another Word document to see where that line took me.
Those evocative lines led to a poem of my own. Once this process wouldn't have been unusual enough to take note of, but these days, it feels more rare that I write a poem that eventually ends up finished. I sent it to Dave, who posted it on his Via Negativa site. You can read it here.
I wandered over to Facebook, where I saw a post by Daisy Fried, who introduced her students to Robert Hayden's "Middle Passage." Along with reading the poem, they listened to this podcast that contains a discussion of the poem--great stuff! After the podcast, I read this article that talks about the history of how this poem has been received by larger communities (the poetry community, the black community, new generations of activists).
Eventually, I shifted to seminary writing. I like to think that my seminary writing was deeper and richer because I began my morning with poetry. I know that my life is richer each day when I begin my day with poetry.