Volume XI, Issue 36
We all have events in our lives that stop us in our tracks, demand us to reshape our routines, our lives, sometimes even our very selves.
And we all experience grace and comfort during these times. Today, my dear friend Vivé Griffith provided both when I rediscovered a poem that is just what I needed
today via her "This Week in the Poetry
Box" newsletter/blog. We have both held on to the same lines of Mark Van Doren's gorgeous "What Now?"
I'll let her tell you about them, as I've shared her blog post below. I highly recommend signing up for her weekly poems and short reflections on them, by clicking on the link above.
May you keep dancing, even when it is difficult.
Love and light,
My friend Maureen introduced me to this poem years ago, and its final lines – “Well, it is difficult
/ Dear ones. It is.” – have stayed with me since. I shared them with a friend last week and then went to find the whole piece for the poetry box. It’s curious little conglomeration, and I think the heart of it is how the poet interrupts himself to attend to what is so very human – the dancing and the weeping – and to name us as “dear ones.” Don’t you hear the dance music,Old as these hills?What Now?While the earth turns, And the skin of it—Oh, scientist—Keeps cool, keeps deep; While the world shines,And the rind of it—O, radium—Still does not burn; While—but why wait?Don’t you hear the dance music,Old as these hills? Round with it, round with it,Stepping, oh, ever so lightly,Wind in the hair— What now? You have stopped,You are weeping. Well, it is difficult,Dear ones. It is. Mark Van DorenFrom Poetry Magazine, January 1968**Read earlier letters here. Read the blog here
WordPlay Now! Writing Prompt
WordPlay—so why not revel in the power and potential of one good word after another? This week, it's "what."
PROMPT: Engage in the question "What now?" through a poem, a journal writing, a short story, an essay, a scene in a novel, or any other genre that works for you.
It's fun to play with prompts in community with fellow writers, and to be able to share the
results when you're done. You can find out about WordPlay classes, workshops, and retreats here.
MAUREEN RYAN GRIFFIN, an award-winning poetry and nonfiction writer, is the author of Spinning Words into Gold, a Hands-On Guide to the Craft of Writing, a grief workbook entitled I Will Never Forget You, and three collections of poetry, Ten Thousand Cicadas Can't Be Wrong, This Scatter of Blossoms and When the Leaves Are in the Water. One of her long-held dreams came true in
July of 2015 when Garrison Keillor read one of her poems on The Writer's Almanac. You can listen to it here. She believes, as author Julia Cameron says, "We are meant to midwife dreams for one another."
Maureen also believes that serious "word work" requires serious WordPlay, as play is how we humans best learn—and perform. What she loves best is witnessing all the other dreams that come true for her clients along the way. Language, when used with intentionality and focus, is, after all, serious fuel for joy. Here's to