When it rains it pours. Those aren’t the five words I intend for you to ponder in this post, but a reflection of my current state of the union. The appliances arrive tomorrow, the HVAC company will be here as well to install the heat pumps and AC, the wood for the trim arrives on Wednesday, and the couches will be delivered next Tuesday. My evenings are filled with announcing high school soccer, chasing the cross country team on my bike, completing our bi-weekly food shopping trip to Costco and Whole Foods, and entertaining guests. Saturday morning, it’s the SATs, and there’s a meal after church on Sunday. Somewhere in the midst of this fullness I need to put down the floors in the addition, while still watering the grass seed outside and being a husband, a father, a son, a teacher, and a worship leader.
When it rains it pours.
But perspective changes everything. As much as I’m mourning my lack of creativity, scratching out ideas for poems rather than finished pieces, I am delighted by those moments of life that greet me every day, if I’m still enough to receive them. Like my father’s text on Sunday to just take the day to spend some time in Sabbath rest. I needed that. Or perhaps it’s reading Tuesdays with Morrie and encountering this sage advice from Morrie: “The fact is, there is no foundation, no secure ground, upon which people may stand today if it isn’t the family…As our great poet Auden said, ‘Love each other or perish.'”
So I don’t have something “new” to offer you, but I do propose this challenge. As I have done over the years with my AP English Literature students, here is a five-word poetry challenge (my example follows). Use the following five words in a poem. It need not rhyme nor fulfill any particular stanza format (I opted for the sonnet in honor of John Keats – follow the link below). Just follow the words. They might just take you somewhere wonderful. And if not, you at least put a hard stop on the day and took some time to deepen.
FREEDOM, MILKY WAY (counts as one word as a proper noun), UNEQUIVOCALLY, UBIQUITOUS, and SKIP
A Five Word Poem – Vincent H. Anastasi 2019
With regards to John Keats
You might argue that it is strange
to unequivocally defend
a formal meter most constrained
when freedom should flow from the pen.
This Milky Way of boundless hope
should not bow to poetic chains;
rather with ubiquitous scope,
reach beyond the confining frames.
How limited such an outlook
when life itself abounds in cells,
and though the words be bound in book,
unlocked by brain, the spirit swells!
So I will skip beneath the yoke
and sing of freedom’s cryptic joke.