Napo 29

I really liked today's prompt. It's one I'm going to keep in my pocket for later to return to when I've got a bad case of the writer's block. Here's what it was:

I’d like to challenge you to take one of your favorite poems and find a very specific, concrete noun in it. For example, if your favorite poem is this verse of Emily Dickinson’s, you might choose the word “stones” or “spectre.” After you’ve chosen your word, put the original poem away and spend five minutes free-writing associations – other nouns, adjectives, etc. Then use your original word and the results of your free-writing as the building blocks for a new poem.

I think this is even something I can do in my creative writing classroom to teach the power of freewriting, as it worked particularly well for me this morning, too. I can have students read a poem, choose a concrete noun from it, and then do the activity, or I can even assign concrete nouns by having them choose one out of a hat. 
I can have them brainstorm for a set period of time. Today, for duration of one Pandora song, I listed free-associated nouns. Then for another I listed adjectives. And then for another I freewrote. I had a lot of material to work with then, some images and some words to incoroprate into my poem. It made the writing process less daunting than starting from scratch.

Anyway, I liked this prompt. And the poem that resulted? I like it, too. I hope to come back to this one and work it a little further. It's another Eve poem, of course. I always lean on her when I need ideas. Obviously, my word was "sweat," which is something I've come to love. I used to hate being sticky and sweaty, but I've learned to embrace it. It's the body doing its job. As a runner, it keeps me alive on those hot, long summer runs. So I'm grateful for sweat, though we're taught, as women, to avoid sweat like the plague because it makes us unattractive. Whatever. I don't exist to be attractive. I exist to thrive. 

Before Sweat Had a Name

Before she knew the word for sweat,
She worked the garden tirelessly
At noon each day. Breathless,
Pulling weeds with naked hands,

Trimming back the branches
Of knowledge, letting the sunrays
Kiss her skin. She’d let her thirst
Guide her, let her muscles bloom

With use like daffodils in April,
Enjoy the soft ache of accomplishment,
Half-moons of earth beneath her fingernails.
On that first summer afternoon,

She wiped her forehead with her wrist,
Felt the cool pool of moisture
From her skin, a river down her back,
Eddying and twisting with her curves,

Bathing her in the salt of the earth,
Leaving her body slick and glimmering,
Baptized clean, stars covering her skin.

And never did she feel so beautiful.