Prompt # 24 Spring For Better or Worse

Last weekend was busy. On Saturday, March 22, I read my work with other local poets at the Saratoga Blossom Festival.  It was early in the morning, there was no parking, and I was tired from a week of teaching and hay fever. On Sunday, March 23, I was in Sacramento at the California Poetry Out Loud (POL) competitions. It was a great great event, and exhausting. Needless to say, I didn’t get prompt #24 past this point : the title of this post “Prompt #24 Spring for Better or Worse.”

I’m not going backwards now, as this weekend is the time for Prompt #25, but I do want to let you in on my thought processes surrounding the “better or worse” title. While preparing the poems for Saturday’s reading, to be spring- or blossom-themed, I realized that a lot of my spring poems are pretty depressing. Part of being a poet is dealing with the sad and crummy emotions as well as the happy and glorious ones. The prompt, which I got as far as the title here and a shout-out on Facebook, was going to be to write about Spring from a non-traditional emotional place. Gloomy, reluctant, cranky, desperate, furious.

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Anyway — in case you were watching, now you know. Stay tuned for reviews and photos of last weekend’s events and this weekend’s prompt.

I’m not sure why I feel compelled to keep the record straight, but there you have it.

Prompt #22 Spring Flowers

It might be too early for many people around the Northern Hemisphere, but in California, Spring is here, full blown Spring, full of flowers and sunshine. It might seem a unforgivable cliche to suggest we write poems to Spring, but all cliches have their basis in true emotion, and nothing makes a heart swell with happiness more than the release of winter’s clutches into Spring. So let’s indulge ourselves.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth is the quintessential poem of Spring. Some people think this poem is called “Daffodils” but it has no true title, other than its first line. Especially for me, as I love daffodils, this poem has all the elements of romance, beauty, glad language, and even, in the last stanza, the note of loneliness and retreat so necessary to an artist’s live.  I offer it to you here entirely.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

Your prompt today is to write a poem to Spring. Let yourself go; indulge in happiness, in feelings of relief, pleasure, simplicity. If you feel like rhyming, go for it. We are so cynical in our modern complexity, so doubting in our rejection of beauty for beauty’s sake. Let yourself write a poem with butterflies or rainbows, with trees blossoming, with sunshine and promise.

If you want an extra challenge, spin the poem at the end inwardly — what is it that you fear about winter, about darkness that haunts you until Spring comes with the promise of a better day? What “vacant or pensive mood” is overcome for you when you think of a beautiful image, remember beautiful music?

Have fun with pure poetic pleasure today. And, don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead tonight, spring forward into the light!