Day 26 NaPoWriMo Write an elegy or an anti-elegy

Today over at Day 26 NaPoWriMo, the prompt reads:

“Our prompt for today, however, is not likely to induce smiles. For today, I challenge you to write an elegy. Classically, an elegy is a poem written in response to someone’s death, a poem of mourning and remembrance. Your elegy can be about a specific person, a group of people, a pet, a plant, even an idea. Or, like Anne Sexton, you could try your hand at an anti-elegy. Happy (I think?) writing!

Elegy for the Fragments

Today I mourn for the years
spent on a love one-sided
a love all give, and give again
for eyes closed too long against
reality everyone else could see.

I mourn for the fragments
worn away from the self, worn
down to chafe and inflammation
worn to irritation under skin
worn to grit under the tongue.

Today I give thanks for sight
for insight into the other of me
she who repeats somewhere
below conscious thought
the need for letting go.

Today there is the lightness
of air, the upward flight of birds
one feather falling, a freedom
in the spirit, this window
this new and opening door.

Carol A. Stephen
April 26, 2012

4 thoughts on “Day 26 NaPoWriMo Write an elegy or an anti-elegy

  1. That is a great elegy Carol and one I can relate too… is for you and not for an audience. when I try to write one like this I get too caught up in a diatribe and loose sight of the opportunity to express emotions and happenings by metaphor and other such devices. Bryan

    • Bryan, for the most part I agree with you. But I notice that at the same time you are able to relate to it, which means it could be for an audience who have had similar experiences. It can also be a persona that speaks the elegy, rather than the poet. Or not. A more experienced poet/mentor once said that the poems one writes that are full of emotion (and perhaps diatribe!) are the ones you write, then tear up and start again. It is possible to then write without the melodramatic, the sturm and drang that a cathartic poem might be full of. I am not sure how one would write a poem of mourning without it being emotional. That could be my own particular lack as a poet. I have some poems that are not for sharing, at least not in their current form. Here, given time constraints, this is a first draft. It may certainly need some judicious edits! Carol

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