This month it was my turn to pick the writing challenge for the Inklings. Spring arrives a bit later up here in Maine, so my thoughts turned to the much vaunted “spring cleaning.” Anyone who knows me well, knows that cleaning is not my forte. Still, here was the challenge I posed (perhaps with procrastination in mind): “Spring is finally arriving in Maine, and though, year after year, I turn my back on spring cleaning, I thought it might be fun to write a poem about some sort of domestic task. (Writing a poem = way more fun than cleaning!) “
I also shared a link to a possible mentor poem called, aptly, “Spring Cleaning”.
by Ellen M. Taylor
Why are there no poems of the joy
of vacuum cleaning after a long
winter? Of the pleasure of pulling
the couch back, sucking up cobwebs, dead
flies, candy cane wrappers, cookie crumbs?
The sun rises earlier now, flooding
the room with daffodil light, enough
to see long unseen clumps of dog hair,…
(click here to read the rest of the poem)
Once I’d shared the challenge, I realized that I really didn’t know what I wanted to write. All my best intentions to clean and organize scatter every weekend morning when I awake to a vibrant, changing world. How could I write about cleaning? Perhaps more to the point, how can you stay inside when there’s something to exclaim over around each corner?! The bees are buzzing! The alewives are running and the osprey are fishing! There’s a pair of wrens nesting in the tree out back! Lilacs perfume the air! Dandelions transform lawns to wishing field overnight! Spring showers bauble the garden! The warblers are warbling! There’s just so much going on! In Spring the world is on permanent exclamation point! It’s a time of year that invites, almost demands, celebration. I kept thinking of the hymn, “How Can I Keep from Singing?” Finally, I decided to use that song as a sort of parody base for my poem.
You can find different versions of the lyrics, but here’s a choral rendition of the the version I prefer which is more inclusive:
So, as you read, feel free to sing along with my poem. To be honest, I do not know how well the rhythm and the poem itself works without the hymn in mind, because I sang as I wrote this and can’t divorce the melody from the words!
As Winter fades and Spring arrives
abrim with new creations
the virtuous are locked inside
obsessed with dirt predation
But robin’s rockin’ on the lawn
an oriole is singing
wisteria drips down the vines
while they’re inside mop-wringing
I tarry in the shower stall
where grout is grim and greening
I make one desultory swipe
then flee away from cleaning
Although the corner cobwebs grow
in silent protestation
I can not yield the duster more
without loud lamentation
The grass is green, the skies are blue
the vernal pools are teeming
What foolish person would I be,
if I just kept on cleaning?
The meadows burst with newfound life
sweet blossoms resurrected
Each day unfolds with new delights
Spring cleaning is neglected
When flowers tremble in the breeze
and birds are hover-gleaning
I will not yield to tyrant dirt
I will not keep on cleaning
I will not scour, dust and mop
and waste these hours, fleeting
Spring’s miracles will soon be gone.
There’s time enough for cleaning.
Karen Edmisten is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Round up at her blog. Be sure to stop by and enjoy a wonderful poem by Yeats and while you’re there, check out some other posts as well. If you want to check out what the other Inklings did with this challenge, click on the links below:
Also, be sure to spend some time outside celebrating the wonders of Spring!