For the next month, National Poetry Writing Month, I'm going to make an effort to write a poem a day, which is a challenge I haven't taken up since 2015. But I now I have the extra time, and writing poetry feeds my soul.
If you're interested, I'm also posting daily poetry prompts for both adults and children at my online literary magazine, Wild Violet. I'll share those links when I post my poems, because I intend to write to my own prompts.
Today's prompt is to write an object poem: NaPoWriMo 2020 - Prompt 1.
The model flying machine in action
Model Da Vinci Flying Machine
Elegant swallow wings, swept
back to a narrow tail. But hard,
rigid with boning. Hung
on a tubular joint. Perched
atop heavy gears. I wind
the wheel, release
a lever and gulp
gull cries of delight
as these mechanoid airfoils
flutter with clockwork cadence.
In these extended days of home confinement, I'm making a snail's pace progress on some long-term projects. As evidenced above, I've returned to publishing Wild Violet regularly, working my way through the backlog of submissions. I've begun systematically filtering and editing photos from the past several months in order to share them with those involved (usually family or my son's Cub Scout pack). I've also got a few genealogical projects underway that I hope will arrive at a writing stage soon.
I'll admit, though, that this productivity didn't start immediately. Although our county only announced a stay-at-home order two weeks ago, my husband and I voluntarily began to stay home three weeks ago, when our son's school began its seemingly interminable timeout. Of my three jobs, I was no longer needed for the two outside the home; only the at-home employment continued anyway. My husband chose to work from home rather than take public transit to work. This turned out to be a good choice, as now SEPTA workers are demanding hazard pay for daily risking exposure to coronavirus.
That first week, though, felt like a vacation, albeit one where his teachers emailed a few light assignments. Having an inkling of how things were likely to go -- my at-home job is transcribing cable news, after all -- I immediately put our son on a somewhat regular "school day." Since he didn't have much science homework, I had him work on a Cub Scout science elective. We also worked in some history lessons, thanks to a Cub Scout elective on his family. But as far as I was concerned, my own projects waited.
I'm glad I established that routine, however, because now he follows it with very little pushback. Since I've established a policy of giving him 15- to 20-minute breaks between subjects, I can take advantage of that time to work on my own stuff.
We even go outside on nice days for a half hour of "recess" before lunch. We're trying out all the outdoor toys people have given him over the years, some of which we'd never used before. We were both surprising good at Whiffle Ball.
I find myself wondering about how busy I'd always been, and yet how often I pushed aside the things that really mattered to me. Just like I discover every year that I do NaPoWriMo, I do have time to write more poetry. I do have time to play outside with my son, to work on personal projects, even if it's just 15 or 20 minutes at a time. That's a lesson I hope will stay with me.