A Text Message Poem: A Poetry Invitation #1/30 PAD

The March #Slice of Life Challenge ended yesterday, and while I’ve yet to reflect on that month long journey of putting writing out into the world, I felt a nudge to keep sharing some writing each day. How lovely it is that March flows right into April – the blessed month of poetry, along with opportunities to share poetry all over the place. I am delighted when April rolls along so I can take a deep dive into the world of poems.

Big wonderings lead me into this quest:

How can poetry sustain me this month?

What might my themes for poems be?

What new poetry strategies, forms and craft techniques might I try out?

Who will the poets be that guide me on this journey?

Years ago, I was introduced to Georgia Heard and devoured her book, Awakening the Heart. She taught me that poetry hides within the Doors of Poetry: The Observation Door, The Heart Door, The Wonder Door, The Memory Door, and The Concerns of the World Door.

Early on in my poetry journey, before I truly LOVED poetry (because if I’m honest, I was not schooled to love poetry), I categorized the poems I found and wrote using these doors. While this was a very limited view of poetry, it gave me some stepping stones to begin observing where poetry hides with a variety of lenses. And, while I don’t think of these Doors of Poetry now, when reading or writing poetry, I believe they might unconsciously be an underground knowing that I draw from. Many poems can be categorized as several doors at once, or. . . it just depends. Some poems are their own category.

Yet, I believe we sometimes need a place to start. Thinking of The Doors of Poetry gives one a framework for opening up to a new and unrestricted view of poetry. One that is starkly different from their own middle and high school years, of analysis of poems and writing poems within prescribed forms.

This month, I’d like to attempt to put some perimeters on my poetry deep dive and strive to read, write, share and offer invitations to write poetry within the framework of Georgia’s Doors of Poetry. Yet still, be able to do this without tripping up the flow of what a poem wants to be. This can be both restrictive and creative at the same time.

If anything, these invitations are here for myself, to use again and again.

Here’s the first Poetry Invitation: A Text Message Poem

Search your phone for a text message conversation that can be shaped into a poem.

The Mother-Daughter Dance

There is a space
where my tooth belonged
The tongue wriggles
around in its confused
state of bewilderment

It's the first sign
of old age 
I message my 
28-year old daughter

Or young age 
she replies
Kids lose their teeth, too, Mom
she reminds me

Maybe I should shift
my thinking 
as this transition
into wise age
I text back

Yes. Very Wise. She Replies.
You are so wise
that your teeth
are falling out . . .

(long pause)

I feel like I
need to lose some teeth
she adds

Shari Daniels, draft

What started out as an observation poem, in the newfound awareness of this empty space way back in my mouth, and the text messages to my daughter, had turned into a heart poem, showing the compassion and care my daughter has for me in her attempt to trip up the default wiring my own mind has when I go down the “I’m getting old” road. She recognizes this and saves me.

Her last text message response is bait for me to notice that she, too, right now, in her 20 something life, is seeking an extra dose of wisdom. She in a state of what-to-do-ness.

It’s a dance we dance frequently – the Mother and the Daughter.

You can find it in the messages we hold in our hands.

This month I’m participating in the 2021 April PAD (Poem A Day) Challenge in which I’ll be poeming my way through the month and also the NaPoWriMo poetry challenge for April. If you’d like to join along and write poems, you can find other poems to read at these sites here and here. Each site also gives invitations for poems each day. Or, head over to Poets.org to find other ways to celebrate poetry this month.