Sunday, April 16, 2017

PAD Day 16: Happy Easter! Save the Earth!

Today's dual prompts from Poetic Asides and NaPoWriMo: (1) write a poem inspired by letter-writing, and (2) write a poem with the title "________ System". The title practically suggested itself, so consider this an early Earth Day poem:

Letter from the Solar System

Dear Earth,

What is going on?
You used to be so blue and green and full of life.
Now you're browning, and you're losing
that distinguished white pate.
You're running a fever that's only getting worse.
You'd think you had an infection.
Is it those billions of organisms on your surface?
Can't you do something about them?
A few cataclysms, perhaps, or natural disasters?
Do you need some help?
We could send a comet or an asteroid your way -
but that might be too drastic.
Aren't those tiny creatures smart enough
to know how to make you better?
Or do they think you'll live forever,
no matter how badly they treat you?
Something must be done, Earth, and soon.
Even the Sun is worried.
We used to be so proud of you.
Don't end up a dead, desolate waste
like the rest of us.
Get well soon.


Your Fellow Planets

And here's a "bonus" poem, which I wrote for the 2015 Poem-a-day Challenge. This is the one that was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Rattle (#55), a very well-known and respected journal.  (And the icing on the cake is that it's a paying market, something rare in poetry.)

The Man Peeling Sweet Potatoes on Easter Morning

(after Galway Kinnell)

The man peeling sweet potatoes on Easter morning
looks frustrated, as though this is a task best passed
to others who really know what they are doing.
His wife is away on other errands and has deemed
him the stripper of skins, with nothing but a dull
vegetable peeler. Perhaps if he should microwave
them for five minutes, the dirt-brown husks
would pull away cleanly, even by tool-less hand.
The ends are hot and soft and peel more easily
but they burn his fingers, while the middle
is still too hard and resists a metal blade.
He is making a mess of this chore, and wonders
why his wife would entrust it to him, when he
could be watching baseball or writing poetry.
Perhaps today of all days he should have faith
that he will accomplish this goal of five pounds
of naked tubers, their bright orange souls
unprotected from the cruelties of the April air.
Sometimes it is easy to peel away defenses,
he thinks, and sometimes a toughness prevails.
Later, his wife will bake them in a casserole,
with cinnamon, brown sugar and marshmallow,
for a dinner that has taken three days to prepare,
and their aroma will rise from a hot square tomb
into the very reaches of heaven.

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