Margaret Simon who blogs at Reflections on the Teche asked me for the prompts I gave at Acadiana Wordlab yesterday because she couldn’t attend. She is a dedicated and talented poet who always challenges herself, even when she can’t be with us for Wordlab.
Here you go, Margaret!
A memento mori (Latin ‘remember that you will die’) is an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death.
There are items before you: a key, a wedding band, a butterfly, a Thunderbird, a crucifix, an empty journal, a mask, and a broken watch. Choose one and write how this is a symbol of your mortality.
A man walks across water
on stones. Notices a crow
sinking in the blue sky.
He steps onto earth,
against a cedar sapling.
Pines etch and sway.
The creek laughs. The man thinks
of endings and beginnings—
his youngest daughter’s
He slips his hand into his pocket,
fingering the dry skull
of a hummingbird. And it is cold
spring again: the iridescent
hummingbird is caught
in a spider’s web.
The spider silk enwrapping
the tiny bird holds bones together.
He picks at the feathers
sodden with rot.
He opens like a fan
the thin-as-paper wings.
Bones disarrayed, drift
to the ground in silence.
©CLM First published in Press 1.
I LOVE THE DARK HOURS OF MY BEING
by Rainer Maria Rilke
I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.
Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that’s wide and timeless.
So I am sometimes like a tree
rustling over a gravesite
and making real the dream
of the one its living roots
a dream once lost
among sorrows and songs.
Translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy
- What do you love about the dark hours of your being?
- How does darkness impact and affect us?
- Do you access a different knowledge within the dark hours of your being?
Darkness can be comforting or disturbing. Write something of darkness, whether it is a setting or a place within you, or the darker aspects of your being.
I had a third exercise which was simply about writing out emotions or events with emotional impact in metaphor to “disguise” the actual facts, but to get at truth.
If anyone decides to use these prompts, please credit me and let me know! Thanks and be well!