This week I visited the website of teacher-poet-author Cristy Watson in British Columbia. On Wednesday I noticed she was busily writing comments on The Poetry Marathon site, so I stopped to read her bio. She is a poet and an author of hi-lo books for reluctant readers and English language learners — books I never get enough of in my context. I went to her blog to read more. She also likes poetry contests. The annual “2-Day Poem Contest” was one she entered in April. It’s one poem in two days using 10 assigned words.
I decided to try this poem challenge for fun because Poetry Friday was coming. The words for 2021’s contest were: palm, embank, sheer, wrest, lacuna, whizzed, runny, mustard, balter, and nubivagant. After spending some time with the dictionary, I decided to write an ars poetica (the art of poetry) poem. I used this poem by A. MacLeish for inspiration:
A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,
As old medallions to the thumb,
Caelestis Ars Poetica
By Denise Krebs
After Archibald MacLeish
A poem should be still
with sheer force, until
that lacuna of hope
is filled within a frenzied soul.
A poem should embank the heart
with love and joy to impart,
to wrest the indignant and bitter
from the toxic tank of hate.
A poem should be a seed–
a mustard seed of faith to plead–
held in a child’s palm,
so easy to lose,
but so much to gain.
A poem should be slow and steady.
Not whizzed through like a tempest
taking out a swamped ship–
Instead a calm, nubivagant journey,
a shelter from the stormy blast.
A poem should be license to balter,
open, unchecked, dancing at the altar.
Dulcet and dauntless,
liberating to Wholeness.
A poem should be free-flowing,
without fear of knowing,
Molten, melted and runny
in all the right places.
A poem should just be
and let the heavens decide.
Allusions and Inspirations:
Stanza 1 – Mark 5:1-20
Stanza 2 – Acts 9:1-19
Stanza 3 – Mark 4:30-32; Matthew 18:5-7
Stanza 4 – Mark 4:35-41; “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”
Stanza 5 – 2 Samuel 6:14-16
Stanza 6 – Luke 10:38-42