“Thirty days has September, April, June, and November.”

30 Days of Poetry

The perfect number for any 30-day challenge, but April’s poetry marathon of 30 poems in 30 days consumed every creative moment I could squeeze into those days. Will I make this an annual event?

Last year I jumped in not expecting to finish the month relying on old poetic chunks of words to fill the passing days. They cleaned up well enough.

As April approached, I looked at my ’To Do” for the month. The command stared back at me from the page: establish a writing routine.

The words have appeared before, yet I consistently find more important tasks that must be done—laundry, meals, toilets, email, and the more literary, reading, researching, and studying writing craft.

National Poetry Month and the various poetry challenges and prompts from across the planet provided the perfect fodder for inspiration. The question lingering, could I write, would I write, a new, never before cobbled words together poem every day for 30 days?

The follow-up question and crux of the matter came to this, would this challenge be enough to lull me out of complacency, fear, or whatever creative resistance attached its sticky goo to my intent?

A Simon & Garfunkel song came to mind.

April, come she will
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain
May, she will stay
Resting in my arms again

Writing, “resting in my arms again,” or pencil, keyboard, journal, scraps of used shopping lists will come to stay after the April rain of poems and thoughts. The only way to know, at least for me, is to let go of wondering if it’s “good enough.”

In the words of Paul Valery, “A poem is never finished, only abandoned.” I am not alone. 

I listen to other creatives, artists, musicians, and writers of all sorts lament in much the same way. We have a book, a painting, the next number one platinum hit rolling inside of us screaming for freedom. All that whining, and I must admit to my fair share, amounts to regrets and empty notebooks, canvases, and silence.

What matters is completed work. That’s something you can work with, shape, clean up, tuck away in a drawer, or toss in the trash. The solution is quite simple. 

Do the work.

As I reflect on the past 30 days, I have 30 imperfect poems. Is that success or failure? Does it matter?

I have 30 poems I did not abandon, or worse, never penned to the page. 

Do I have a “routine?” I have one for today. Tomorrow is a totally different matter.

I will keep writing one word after another, one sentence after another, one paragraph, one page . . . Because I simply love the magic.


The Plan

The plan designed to prompt me
into action hid the map of how
each task would earn the coveted check.
I did my part,
made the list and waited
for time to open a space.
Days snuck by as the contours, once vivid,

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

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Photo: Desk © Kathryn LeRoy

Poetry prompt for Quadrille Monday at dVerse poets — use the word map in a 44-word poem