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    Valkyrie
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Retrospective - NaPoWriMo 2021 - 1. Week One

Retrospective: Week One

#1

March’s lamb becomes April’s wolf,

Storming in with teeth bared,

gnashing spring back into winter,

all bluster and bluff

until green prevails

 

#2

For the first time in a year,

I felt safe enough to go shopping

For something other than groceries or essentials.

Excitement and trepidation warred within

As I sighted my destination

And activated the turn signal, slowing down

As I approached the parking lot entrance.

Instead, I pulled over to the shoulder,

To let the red and white flashing lights pass.

They followed me.

Shit.

So much for ‘safe’.

My baffled response to the expired inspection sticker

Was “I haven’t even had my car for a full year!”

Damn car dealership screwed up the month.

I bought my car in May! It’s not due yet!

May of 2019.

Almost two years ago.

Although it feels like much less, since I lost a year when the world stopped.

 

#3

The red foil wrapper from my Dove dark chocolate bite tells me to be “Fearlessly authentic”. So I walked for one mile along a paved trail where trains used to run instead of people. As a child, I rode my bike alongside those tracks, following the ‘monkey trail’ and doing tricks like flying down a hill and up the other side of the tiny ravine on one push of the pedals. We hid in the bushes and looked at torn pages from magazines elementary age children should not be looking at. I stop and take pictures of new growth from new plants. The walk invigorates my body and my artistic soul. A cool breeze fuels my energy, spurring me to walk faster. 1.77 miles per hour, which is slower than the ‘slow’ option on my fitness tracker. But it’s fast for me, as I huff and puff my way along, wishing I could fly like a magic dragon. There are others on the trail, but I am the only one wearing a mask. I keep it on my chin and raise it when others pass. Maybe they’re vaccinated or willing to take the risk. I am neither.

 

#4

This poem is warm chocolate drizzled over creamy cheesecake,

Vanilla with a pop of salt and hint of caramel,

Graham crackers and Oreos crushed and molded together with melted butter—

Comfort incarnate served with vanilla, honey, and chamomile tea.

Perfect for sharing with loved ones both near and far,

In picture form when social distancing dictates.

 

#5

Sitting on the sidewalk is normal

For children making chalk art

And hopscotch squares.

 

Sitting on the sidewalk is not normal

For middle-aged women walking dogs,

Stretching their legs before lunch.

 

Sitting on the sidewalk is normal

For cats contemplating life,

Or eating the squirrel mocking them from the tree.

 

Sitting on the sidewalk is not normal.

When the wind blows December air in April;

Nature is as confused as the rest of the world.

 

Indifferent cars rationalize what’s normal

Or not

As they pass without slowing.

 

Someone sitting on the sidewalk

Isn’t their problem

 

Sitting on the sidewalk is not normal.

We fear what we do not understand.

Mask donned,

“How can I help?”

 

#6

Spiky Indiscretions

Furred belly stretches

Inviting soothing fingers

Claws strike, indignant

 

#7

The Dragon of the Past

The dragon of the past lives upstairs in the crawlspace,

Or at least he did forty years ago

He exhales ghostly puffs,

Indicating hibernation versus something more permanent.

The wisps travel past boxes of GI Joes, Adventure People, and Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls,

Down now-carpeted stairs,

And coalesce in the dining room corner,

Forming a skinny girl in a Minnie Mouse nightgown,

Jumping with glee next to a new bicycle

In front of a non-plastic Christmas tree.

My almost fifty-year-old self walks through her,

Breathing in the mist,

Awakening the dragon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prompts, courtesy of Jan Hutchinson:

1. Honor April or at least praise spring on the first of the month, National Poetry Month, 2021.

 

2. Let’s write about the pandemic. How have you survived this past year? What have you learned? In your poem, look back through the lockdowns and sufferings or look forward through the healing in months ahead.

 

3. Following the lead of the poem below, write a prose poem made up of a series of straightforward, honest statements — short sentences, about your day or about whatever you choose. For me, what makes this an effective poem is not only the vibrancy of the descriptive particulars, but also the juxtaposition of unlike and unexpected observations. The statements are all so human, often sad, quirky in their specificity, mixing pleasure and worry— a stream of consciousness, mixing inner and outer focus. It all comes together to give a picture of the narrator’s specific morning during the Covid-19 pandemic. Go anywhere this takes you.

 

4. Let your poem begin: “This poem…” Go from there.

 

5. Although this year of the pandemic has been a year of deaths and deprivations for many, we have also seen some reinvigoration of kindness. Write a poem about kindness that helps to nurture kindness toward ourselves and toward others.

 

6. Title jumpstarts: You might start with any of the following as the title of your poem.

 

7. Another title jumpstart.

Thank you for reading and taking this journey with me! It's sure to be an emotional ride as I look back on the past fifty years. A special thank you to aditus for helping make these better.

Copyright © 2021 Valkyrie; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

I was especially struck by #5; I really liked how you returned again and again  to “normal.”

#1 made me smile. I really liked the images it employed.

#2 Was a perfect observation on how we have lived in a time of pandemic relativity.

I read #7 and then reread it a second time, savoring it for memories that don’t belong to me, but which I can picture and find a place in nonetheless. 

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5 minutes ago, Parker Owens said:

I was especially struck by #5; I really liked how you returned again and again  to “normal.”

#1 made me smile. I really liked the images it employed.

#2 Was a perfect observation on how we have lived in a time of pandemic relativity.

I read #7 and then reread it a second time, savoring it for memories that don’t belong to me, but which I can picture and find a place in nonetheless. 

Thank you so much for reading and your lovely comments :hug:  I'm glad you found #7 relatable :)  

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Hi @Valkyrie, I’m really impressed by the vulnerability and honesty you have expressed in these poems. I thought I’d share some thoughts as I read through these. Thanks so much for sharing.

#2 - time really has passed in a surreal way during the pandemic. (Also I hope I don’t get pulled over for my expired registration stickers 😳)

#3 - Isn’t is wonderful how a simple thing like going for a walk can stir up so many emotions like nostalgia, creativity and confidence?

#5 - we can feel so vulnerable when we do things people might see as abnormal. At the same time there is a joy and sense of thrill in it. I really enjoyed this one.

#7 - the dragon of the past bites me sometimes when looking at old pictures too. The nostalgia is real. I really loved the closing imagery here.

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Any eloquence I might have from time to time has deserted me lately, but I want to just say I felt and related to each of these wonderful poems. Great job, Val. Cheers!

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These were powerful and in a way made me feel a little less lonely as I read them. Thank you 🙂

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11 hours ago, headtransplant said:

Hi @Valkyrie, I’m really impressed by the vulnerability and honesty you have expressed in these poems. I thought I’d share some thoughts as I read through these. Thanks so much for sharing.

#2 - time really has passed in a surreal way during the pandemic. (Also I hope I don’t get pulled over for my expired registration stickers 😳)

#3 - Isn’t is wonderful how a simple thing like going for a walk can stir up so many emotions like nostalgia, creativity and confidence?

#5 - we can feel so vulnerable when we do things people might see as abnormal. At the same time there is a joy and sense of thrill in it. I really enjoyed this one.

#7 - the dragon of the past bites me sometimes when looking at old pictures too. The nostalgia is real. I really loved the closing imagery here.

The thing that gets me is that this is the third time in about 20 years that I've been pulled over for an expired inspection sticker :facepalm:  So I'm usually pretty diligent about staying on top of it now.  The whole time thing really screwed with me though, and I seriously had no idea it was that expired.  :blushing:  At least the officer said the town has been waiving the fee if proof the inspection is done within a week of the issue date of the ticket, so fingers crossed I won't have to pay a fine.  

Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment.  I'm glad these spoke to you :hug: 

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10 hours ago, Headstall said:

Any eloquence I might have from time to time has deserted me lately, but I want to just say I felt and related to each of these wonderful poems. Great job, Val. Cheers!

Thank you so much :hug:  

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54 minutes ago, Serelec said:

These were powerful and in a way made me feel a little less lonely as I read them. Thank you 🙂

Thank you for your kind words and for reading :hug:  

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#5 is my absolute favorite of this set. It induced many fond memories of shared pictures. 

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4 minutes ago, aditus said:

#5 is my absolute favorite of this set. It induced many fond memories of shared pictures. 

And many more to come :hug:  

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23 minutes ago, Valkyrie said:

And many more to come :hug:  

Especially with the new phone.....

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5 minutes ago, chris191070 said:

Great poetry. I think my favourites are 1, 3 and 5.

Thank you :hug:  I find it interesting so many people like #5 so much.  I wasn't completely happy with how it turned it out.  I'm happier with it now lol 

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1 minute ago, aditus said:

Especially with the new phone.....

:yes:  

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Val, these are very good and emotive.  #7 I especially felt stirred by. Thank you. 

I always enjoy what you all share during NaPoWriMo, even though I read it waay late most times. I will try to keep up 🤞

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3 minutes ago, Defiance19 said:

Val, these are very good and emotive.  #7 I especially felt stirred by. Thank you. 

I always enjoy what you all share during NaPoWriMo, even though I read it waay late most times. I will try to keep up 🤞

Thank you so much :hug:  I'm glad to have you on the journey :)   

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