“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!
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Hi, Everyone! The pub is open, and we’re ready to connect!
Thank you for tending pub tonight, Merril….and for the excellent prompt.
We shall walk to Old North Church in the North End, Paul Revere’s church in Boston and a practicing Episcopal church. They will be ringing the bells at 5:30 in commemoration of all those lives lost to Covid….a part of the country-wide inaugural event today….honoring those lost to Covid. The Biden-Harris administration asked that churches across the US ring their bells at 5:30 and that buildings light up as well. And so we begin the inaugural events, praying all goes well and peace prevails.
Oh, that’s lovely, Lillian.
Liz Gauffreau said:
I watched the memorial service on the Washington Mall on TV. It was so moving as those who lost their lives to the pandemic were honored in the most genuine and respectful way.
I missed the service, but I saw photos. I heard it was very moving.
Liz Gauffreau said:
I was very moved by it. I also felt a sense of relief to see an act of human decency.
It’s a nice change.
Liz Gauffreau said:
That it is.
Good evening all! Thank you for hosting and for a flexible prompt – I hope I’ve done it justice. The final day for the orange one with tiny hands and the beginning of a hopefully better future for everyone.
Thank you, Kim. Yes, we’re getting the champagne ready for tomorrow!
Thanks for hosting! Great quote Merrill! Just read it on TV on the Star Trek Discovery series — which is brilliant TV!
Thank you, Rob. We enjoyed the series. It’s been nice revisiting a world where there are people who care about justice and equality.
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A great prompt for our time, thank you Merril! I enjoy seeing your images of the Delaware river, and I’m pleased the zoom meetings have brought your family closer together in some ways. I am sure there will be many moving responses to this prompt.
Thank you so much, Ingrid! I hope so.
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Thanks for the shoutout, Merril! 💝 Hoping to see and welcome many many people on 21st. I really loved this prompt. It’s always nice to step outside the comfort zone every now and then 😀
Off to read everyone else now 🙂
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
Hello all … I will miss the Open Link again on Thursday…. last weekend to empty mother’s house… then I will try to be back to normal writing.
You will be missed, Bjorn! 💝
Good luck with that Björn.
good luck with that, never an easy job!
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House of Heart said:
This sounds wonderful Merril. As a nurse I’m quite busy and unable to meet up but thoughts are with you. On the 21st. My husband will get his vaccine shot. Best wishes.
Thanks for stopping by, Rene. The prompts are usually open for a few days, if you ever want to join in. Thursday is Open Link Night, so you can still post a poem, even if you can’t meet live. (Though I understand if you’re too busy.) That’s great about your husband. We won’t be able to get our vaccines for a while.
House of Heart said:
I hope it will be soon.
ben Alexander said:
I decided to try something new for this prompt… but the “palindrome” form just so seemed perfect for the prompt, so hopefully it turned out okay 🙂
Linda Lee Lyberg said:
Hello Merril- thanks for hosting. It’s a wonderful prompt; not sure I will get to it, still dealing with my poor little pup.
Hugs, Linda. No worries (about this).
as much i enjoy these poems tonight you are my procastenation. i should be adding to my first novel. i finally came up witha n ending which will open up the middle. i have re-inked a poem from july for a different dverse prompt. i think it fits sorry it does not. work and tech permitting i hope to see you live on thursday.
No need to worry. I’ve missed so many prompts, and I still need to read some responses from yesterday! 😀
sorry ment re-linked not re-inked
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Hello Merril and All. Way late to the party. It’s been one of those days. Just wanted to say what a wonderful essay and prompt from you.
Thanks so much, Lisa. I stopped reading at dinner time last night. I’m going to read what I can around the inaugural events today.
You are very welcome. I’m going to write something and share it at OLN if all goes according to plans.
Merril thanks for hosting today, I will be around for a bit but, definitely back tomorrow to read. It’s been a long day but, I found time to be connected.
Reena Saxena said:
What a lovely poem by Mary Oliver! This by itself can be a prompt.
Roslyn Ross said:
That is a lovely poem. Commiserations to all those who are having a hard time with Covid restrictions. In my bit of Australia we have not stopped seeing or hugging family and friends, don’t see masks and still know no-one who has been sick with Covid, let alone ended up in hospital or died.
It is the thing I find strange because in a bad Flu season, things are not so selective. Still, best wishes to everyone who is in a country which for whatever reason is struggling.
Thank you, Roslyn. You are very fortunate to be in such a place. The US is in bad shape. My mother died from Covid last April in a nursing home, but things seem much worse now with the number of cases.
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M Jay Dixit said:
Hello Merril! Thanks for hosting. I loved the prompt, I connected with a song today, I hope you’d enjoy it.
Thank you. I’ll be over in just a bit–trying to get to these before the inauguration events begin!
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sorry Merril, had a busy day but I finally got there!
Enjoy your connection tomorrow …
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Thank you Merril for this wonderful challenge. I enjoyed being a part of it.
Thank you for taking part!
It’s totally my pleasure. 🙂
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Many thanks for this timely invitation Merril, and loving the Mary Oliver selection.
Thank you, Paul.
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Ali Grimshaw said:
Thank you for hosting. Connection is a topic I could write about day after day. My contribution is more about how labels keep us separate. I am grateful to have a peaceful transfer of power today in the U.S. I celebrate this while also pondering how to reach out to others. We have a long way to go in listening to understand one another.
I look forward to reading what everyone comes up with.
Thank you and you’re welcome, Ali! Yes, I’m so relieved that all went smoothly. I was so moved by the ceremony and events.
Ali Grimshaw said:
Me too. Amanda Gorman was incredible.
Yes, she was!!
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Loved it…also the star trek quote*chef’s kiss*!
Thank you. 😀
so how long have you been writing poems?