“In a very real sense, we all are aliens on a strange planet. We spend most of our lives reaching out and trying to communicate. If during our whole lifetime, we could reach out and really communicate with just two people, we are indeed very fortunate.”
–Gene Roddenberry (Quotation that appeared on the final episode of Season Three of the new Star Trek: Discovery.)
Hello, Everyone! It’s Merril writing from southern New Jersey. Today, I want to talk about connecting and connections. I’ve been thinking about this topic quite a bit.
During this past year with the pandemic raging and millions of people who have become sick or who have died, we’ve all endured the effects of this pandemic in additional ways, including lockdowns, separation from family and friends, and disruptions in jobs and/or schooling. Many of us have found connection with others through our computers and phones—and how fortunate we are to be able to meet this way. In groups such as dVerse, poets from all over the world can share and discuss poetry.
NOTE: This Thursday, January 21 will be a live Open Link Night, during which we can actually see and hear each other.
In my personal life, we’ve been having weekly Friday night Zoom dinners with our daughters and their spouses. We light the Shabbos candles and talk about what has happened over the past week. My husband and I look forward to these meetings, and now think about how much we would like to continue them even post-pandemic. Though we haven’t been able to hug our daughter who lives nearby in almost a year, we have been connecting more with our other daughter who lives farther away than we did before.
Another effect of this pandemic is the connection many are feeling with nature. For me, this has meant taking a walk nearly every morning and looking at the beauty of the world around me, particularly along the Delaware River.
For this prompt, I want you to think about connecting or connections—in any sense. It could be connecting ideas, connecting historical moments, or your own connections with people, places, nature, or art. Some of you know that I’m doing an ekphrastic challenge this month, so every day I’m connecting to works of art by others (including Kerfe Roig) and producing a poem.
However, as we are poets, I also want you to think about how you are connecting words, phrases, lines, and ideas in your poem. There is no right or wrong way—we all have our own style. I like punctuation in poetry. I like to know where there should be pauses and stops.
I know that many here are fans of Mary Oliver, and her poems often use connections with nature as a metaphor, as she does in this poem, “Breakage.” But she also is very precise in the way her poem is structured, using punctuation and enjambment, and then the space before the final line to connect the whole poem. She also begins the poem with “I,” and then moves to “you,” connecting all of us who are reading the poem.
BY MARY OLIVER
I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It’s like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
full of moonlight.
Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.
After you’ve written your connection poem, enter the link to your post on Mister Linky below. Visit the other poets and see how they’ve connected!