Each day during April, I will write a poem-ish piece inspired by a word or phrase mined from the pages of Henry David Thoreau’s jewel-laden journals. I have left my challenge open so that the poems may take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout –and who knows which direction they will go in.
Day #19: “Then the guns were fired and the bells rung…”
A peek at my process —
On April 19, 1852, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “Rain still, a fine rain. The robin sang early this morning over the bare ground, an hour ago, nevertheless, ushering in the day. Then the guns were fired and the bells rung to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of a nation’s liberty. The birds must live on expectation now. There is nothing in nature to cheer them yet.” (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal III: September 16, 1851 – April 30, 1852, Chapter VII. April, 1852, p. 439)
In Thoreau’s day, what we now know as Patriot’s Day was observed on April 19, marking the exact date of the battles of Lexington and Concord. The holiday did not become official until 1894, thirty-plus years after Thoreau’s death in 1862. In 1969 it was moved to the third Monday in April and is observed as a state holiday in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, and, interestingly enough, in North Dakota, Wisconsin, and “encouraged” in Florida!
While some area church bells may ring early tomorrow morning, all other commemorative events have been canceled this year. The tourists who typically stream into the area for any number of events, or to mark the beginning of our April vacation week (also canceled), are not here. Many tourist haunts are eerily empty, as you can see in my photos. My husband’s ancestors participated in these famous events from both the Loyalist and Patriot sides! We frequently attend both Lexington and Concord’s battle reenactments, as well as one of the ubiquitous pancake breakfasts run by various scouting groups or the Lions Club. Our routine would also have us checking in on the progress of the Boston Marathon mid-morning, but that, too, has been canceled. This year, pancakes will be made at home with a bit of pancake mix I was able to rustle up. Strange times, these.
And now for…
Our Poetry Friday family launched the 8th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem originally organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche is taking over this year as the organizer. Many members of the #PoetryFriday family have signed up to provide a line for the 2020 poem. Here’s our sweet poem thus far.
Sweet violets shimmy, daffodils sway
along the wiregrass path to the lake
I carry a rucksack of tasty cakes
and a banjo passed down from my gram.
I follow the tracks of deer and raccoon
and echo the call of a wandering loon.
A whispering breeze joins in our song
and night melts into a rose gold dawn
Deep into nature’s embrace, I fold.
Promise of spring helps shake the cold
hints of sun lightly dapple the trees
calling out the sleepy bees
Leaf-litter crackles…I pause. Twig snaps.
I gasp! Shudder! Breathe out. Relax…
as a whitetail doe comes into view.
She shifts and spotted fawns debut.
We freeze. My green eyes and her brown
meet and lock. Time slows down.
It’s Tabatha’s turn today and she’s lightening the mood a bit. You can find the two lines she is proposing to the next host, Rose, on her blog, The Opposite of Indifference. We are inching closer to my turn, the 24th line next Friday, April 24th. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens! Here’s the itinerary for the poem.
1 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
2 Irene Latham at Live Your Poem
3 Jone MacCulloch, deowriter
4 Liz Steinglass
5 Buffy Silverman
6 Kay McGriff at https://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org/
7 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
8 Tara Smith at Going to Walden
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11 Janet Fagel hosted at Reflections on the Teche
12 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
13 Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
14 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
15 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
16 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
17 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
18 Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading
19 Tabatha at Opposite of Indifference
20 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
21 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
22 Julieanne Harmatz at To Read, To Write, To Be
23 Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
24 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wandering
25 Amy at The Poem Farm
26 Dani Burtsfield at Doing the Work That Matters
27 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
28 Jessica Bigi at TBD
29 Fran Haley at lit bits and pieces
30 Michelle Kogan
In other news…I am also excited to share that I have joined the Teach Write blogging team and will be writing a Poetry Ponderings blog post for them every month. My first offering, Finding Your Poetry Secret Decoder Ring, is now live. And my blogging teammate, Paula Bourque, offers up Quick Write Sparks to Kindle the Poet In All of Us for her first Think & Ink post. I hope you will take a peek!
One thought on ““Then the guns were fired and the bells rung…” #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #ProgressivePoem”
What a rich and interesting post! I love the challenge that you have set for yourself–and your poem in response. It really captures the strange quiet of this time.
And I enjoyed catching up on the progressive poem–what fun!
And finally–congrats on your new blogging gig.