If you want to participate in the April poetry writing challenge, there are lots of good ways to go about it. You can start by learning more about the process at napowrimo.net, which I found via Chris Jarmick’s blog, Poetry Is Everything. Our Washington State Poet Laureate, Elizabeth Austen, is also blogging a writing prompt per day this month.
Last year I wrote my one-bad-poem per day on the blog (just click on April 2014 in my index, if you want to see the results), but this year I thought rather than sharing my badness with you, I’d share a favorite, short poem each day. My goal is 30 poets in 30 days.
This gem is by Philip Larkin (1922-1985), a poet I always thought was a little too thoroughly modern (read, “pessimistic”) for me. Then, reading Structure & Surprise, I came across “The Mower,” which I fell immediately in love with. “The Mower” reminds me of all the small, beautiful things we should be responsible for, and neglect. It reminds me of things I’ve done–big and small–that can’t be undone. I love how utterly, utterly simple this poem is, just recounting a small chore, a small loss, but then how it lifts out of that loss to make a statement about all loss.
The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.
I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:
Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful
Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.