Greetings dVersians! It’s the Monday after a big US holiday, where usually many of us are just finishing up the leftovers from last week and are possibly returning to work after the long weekend. In other years, on the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, we might have found ourselves standing in line at the big box stores at 2 a.m. waiting to wrestle with others over super duper deals on the prized hot gifts for Christmas (especially popular video games or electronics.)
Things are different this year. Many stayed home, without gatherings, and shared the holiday with loved ones via Zoom or other videochat programs. Many-coursed meals might have been skipped. There were no “big games” to watch after dinner. Even the annual NYC Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was canceled.
I tried to think of a word for today’s quadrille prompt that would fit what each human on the planet is dealing with right now in some fashion in regards to the pandemic. I wrote a poem on waiting for Laura’s prompt last Tuesday. A word along the same vein is abide but with a little texture.
Abide is a verb with three distinct definitions. The first one is, “accept or act in accordance with,” such as a rule, decision or recommendation. The second one is, “be unable to tolerate,” someone or something. The third is, “continue without fading or feeling lost” in regards to a feeling or memory.
There is a certain ache to the first poem.
by Jake Adam York (b.8/10/72 — d.12/16/12)
Forgive me if I forget
with the birdsong and the day’s
last glow folding into the hands
of the trees, forgive me the few
syllables of the autumn crickets,
the year’s last firefly winking
like a penny in the shoulder’s weeds,
if I forget the hour, if I forget
the day as the evening star
pours out its whiskey over the gravel
and asphalt I’ve walked
for years alone, if I startle
when you put your hand in mine,
if I wonder how long your light
has taken to reach me here.
Although the next poem is written about a person, how easy it would be to shift monarch to coronavirus here.
by Emily Rosko (b. 1979)
There was no room for us to have feelings.
Under the Queen, we were foiled, our faces blanked of wonder.
A pitiful ordeal, our cheap toil. We hated her for stealing.
Our crooked backs ached; our knees bled from kneeling,
the whole sum of our treasures given up to fund her.
There was no room for us to have feelings,
so we made our way quietly; we arranged our own dealings,
checked what we clocked. Each swallowed their thunder
and railed within. Nothing left out for stealing.
But pound for pound, we grew skinny, weary, reeling
from the new rules she devised. We had to watch and mind her.
There was no room for us to have feelings.
We were audited, then fined. We abided her schooling.
Then, all music stopped. All solitude filled, we couldn’t ponder
our losses. We tried to forget how much she was stealing.
Our patron saints left us; the stars took to jeering, leering
at our lessened state. We hardened at our blunder.
There was no room to have any feelings.
What of us? Not a pittance. No worth there for stealing.
As a child, I remember reading what I thought was a poem. I clipped it out of a magazine and memorized it as it gave me strength through the many tough times. Looking it up just now I discovered it is part of a hymn. “Abide with Me” is a Christian hymn by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte (b.6/1/1793 – d.11/20/1847.) It is most often sung to the tune “Eventide” by William Henry Monk.
The part I memorized:
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day
Earth’s joys grow dim their glory pass away
Change and decay in all around I see
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
I could be wrong, but it seems like each of us may be rotating through all three of the definitions over these past so many months.
Today’s challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to write a quadrille poem. If you’re new to dVerse or the quadrille, it’s simply a poem of 44 words (excluding the title.) You MUST use the word “abide” in your poem.
If you are new, here’s how to join in:
*Write a poem (in any form) in response to the challenge.
*You will find links to other poets and more will join, so check back later to read their poems.
*Read and comment on other poets’ work–we all come here to have our poems read.
*Please link back to dVerse from your site/blog.
“Abide,” by Jake Adam York is found here.
Learn about Jake Adam York’s poetry here.
“Monarchy,” by Emily Rosko is found here.
Information about “Abide with Me” is found here.
Sheet music image found here.
top image: “Abide in the Vine,” by Gwen Meharg