Well, it looks like I should start giving myself a limit on time spent on the NaPoWriMo site. Between yesterday’s prompt and today’s, I probably spent two good hours poring over the linked content. Yesterday’s Bosch painting really sucked me in, but so did today’s bizarre news with catchy titles. And of course that led me down another rabbit hole! I’m going off prompt today…
It’s good enough just to breathe.
Bonus points for bathing.
Bonus points for dressing up like you’re going to work…
But it’s totally understandable
if all you want to do is stay in bed.
Sometimes I feel that way too.
Just remember that you deserve your own kindness,
gentleness and understanding.
Remember that you aren’t alone,
even when you’re feeling lonely.
Be generous with your praise;
everybody needs some kindness
right about now.
Mostly, just trust…
Trust that everything will turn out ok.
It will, you know…
Everything will turn out just fine.
Well. Ahem. It is the fault of this prompt that I just spent the better part of an hour looking at Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights. My mind is so discombobulated by what I have seen that I’m not sure I’m even capable of selecting one of the people/animals/beings in the painting, imagining what their experience must be like and then writing an entire poem from that being’s point of view. I mean, the person with flowers sprouting out of their butt, or the owl getting embraced by a tiny man, or the unidentifiable yet strangely cute creature to the left of the giraffe would all be great, but my mind is saying, “Um, nope.” So I guess I’ll just have to write a poem about the contents of my mind after viewing that painting.
The Contents of My Mind After Viewing Hieronymous Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights
I think Bosh experimented with psychedelics
Or he was a lunatic or a visionary
or maybe all of that.
I mean, before CGI and virtual reality
this dude created mind-blowing scenes
with oil paint.
What did I just look at?
Did he get his inspiration from nightmares?
What was all of that…stuff…I just saw?
And now I can’t un-see it.
I mean, I don’t necessarily want to un-see all of it,
but there are some disturbing images in that painting.
What was it like to grow up as Hieronymous Bosch?
Over at the NaPoWriMo site, today’s prompt inspired me to think a little differently. I like the idea of twenty little poetry projects.
Only birdsong can save me now.
Taking no joy in the television,
growing tired of virtual chats,
I am the introvert who now
to be in a crowded restaurant.
They flutter around the birdfeeder
hopping, singing, pecking.
Their togetherness is so normal,
Only their song can save me.
Hello friends. If it were a normal day, I’d be singing to my yoga students right now, during their relaxation at the end of class. But, Pandemic. Therefore, no public yoga. So instead of teaching, I’m home distracting myself with NaPoWriMo and poetry and words. Today’s prompt is about dreams. I can totally do dreams. I have obsessed about dream recall, dream interpretation, and lucid dreaming for a great portion of my life. So here you go, a poem about something I saw in a dream.
Into the Blue
I had just strolled out of a conference room
and found myself walking in the old city of Briançon.
Instead of the scenery I was familiar with,
there was only vast blue sky stretching out in all directions from the old city,
an ocean of sky…no ground to be seen below the city,
only this feeling of space.
I realized suddenly that I was dreaming,
and I could do anything I wanted.
I wanted to fly.
I stepped onto the parapet and leapt off,
began swimming in the sky ocean
like a mermaid in ocean water.
My body undulated and I moved gracefully
through the sky. I never knew such freedom,
the exhilaration of open sky, open space,
and the power to choose my direction.
I had this dream in late 2003. I was experiencing tremendous angst in my relationship with a man 17 years my senior. We lived in an apartment in Briançon and I felt deep ties to the town, the mountains, the country of France, but there was so much unresolved pain in my relationship and I knew something had to shift.
At the time of the dream I was back in the USA visiting my parents for the holidays. I had performed a space clearing ritual in my room the night before and prayed for guidance from the dream realm. This dream felt like a great gift to me. I woke up realizing I needed to end the relationship. I need to leave Briançon in order to move toward my destiny. Realizing this, I felt a great sense of relief and expectancy about the good things to come in the future.
Hello friends. Today is day 3. Except it’s close to midnight, which means it’s almost tomorrow. Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was all about using a rhyme generator and playing around with sound, but I’m not a very rhyme oriented poet—maybe I should try to be more enthusiastic about rhyming? At any rate, I must admit I am totally not in the mood to attempt to generate a word bank right now, so I’m going rogue on this one.
Too Many Words
I don’t need to search for words. I have too many in my head right now.
Virus. Curve. Shelter. Pandemic. Isolation. Crisis. Collapse. Fear.
I attempted to keep myself busy with yard work today.
It’s what normal people do on a normal spring day.
I even got my kids involved.
(Part of me was thrilled to have them outside.
If it were a regular day they would have been in school).
I found myself in tears hours later,
after my kids went to their dad’s house for the weekend,
and I found myself alone, knowing I’d see no one else for days.
Quarantine. Ventilator. Masks. Intubation. Social Distancing. Death.
I call my sister in tears. I tell her that I’m not passing the yoga test,
that I’m not doing this as well as a yoga teacher should do a pandemic.
I’m hearing the inner critic, she said. More tears.
I distracted myself with rare vintage footage of Terrence McKenna,
me and 5000 people on Crowdcast…totally alone, watching together.
I guess that this is how I’ll get through this.
I’ll face my aloneness. Like everyone else in the world.*
*I feel a need to acknowledge those of you who are shut inside with people you don’t necessarily want to be with, my heart goes out to you. Maybe my situation (days of isolation) sounds like paradise. Well, I’ll breathe for you as you long for solitude, and I ask you to please breathe for me as I long for company. I’ll take in this peace and quiet, and I’ll radiate this feeling out into the whole world for you to feel. My friends who are with loved ones…please take in your feelings of warmth, being seen, being loved, and radiate this feeling out into the whole world for all of us who are lonely, that we might feeled loved even in our loneliness. Thank you. 🙏🏻❤️🌈🙏🏻
I loved today. The kids and I had a sweet hike in the woods. So much sunshine and wind! It’s also day 2 of NaPoWriMo. Today’s prompt got me because it invited us to write a poem about a place, including details to help portray a mood. I always want to write about natural places, so here we go…
Loch Raven Reservoir Hike, Take 1
We hadn’t been there in a while
and I was excited
Until we walked up to the signs
saying “NO TRESPASSING’.
another sign said “CORONAVIRUS.
This park closed to public,
One of my favorite trails, now forbidden.
Loch Raven Reservoir Hike, Take 2
We drove further down the road.
I followed my nose,
crossed a bridge,
parked the car just beyond.
There were no signs,
just an inviting trail,
going straight up.
I thought about the miracles that spring up
the possibilities that open up
when the routine is shaken up.
A Little Later
A blustery wind
made the still leafless trees
creak and groan
as their naked tops whipped around.
The water sparkled green.
Tiny pink flowers on the forest floor.
And more frequently than I want to say,
bits of trash,
Signs that humans have been this way.
First a young man
then twenty minutes later
an older man
passed us on the trail,
warmly keeping their distance.
My house is not spacious like the forest
but there is no wind chilling my bones
or signs telling me I am unwelcome.
Thank God for Home.
I’ve been keeping this blog for years now, and this is my 6th consecutive year of NaPoWriMo. Hey, a pandemic can’t stop poetry, good news, right? Today’s prompt on the NaPoWriMo site recommended trying out a metaphor generator. I had some fun with it, but it didn’t inspire any poetry. So, I’ll just be doing my thang today…which is simply showing up and allowing what wants to be said to come forth…
As I grope for some kind of sane rhythm
in the aftermath of our loss of normalcy
I am comforted by what doesn’t change.
I still grow tired at night.
I still eat, drink, use the bathroom.
I still breathe.
It’s good to know that some things don’t change.