#447: What if I moved the cushion out into . . .

Wouldn’t you know it? That on this ninth day of sonnetpalooza, the recommended prompt for the day on the glorious NaPoWriMo website is to write a sonnet!? Now there’s an assignment I can get behind!

It’s Easter, and I feel the urge, almost a third of the way through National Poetry Writing Month, to switch things up a bit. Don’t get me wrong–I will not abandon the goal of writing a sonnet every day for thirty days, but I may have to try something new. I have almost religiously adhered to the Shakespearean form, but there’s some exploring to do, I think. I’ll take yesterday’s mail as a hint. I received a brand new book of poems, Sonnets with Two Torches and a Cliff, by Robert Thomas. I’m not the only one obsessed with sonnets. Here’s an entire book of them, about 80 of these babies! I’m super excited to dig in, but only a cursory glance through the pages reveals that Mr. Thomas has adhered to possibly ONE key feature of the sonnet: all these poems are 14 lines long, I think. In terms of meter and rhyme, it appears that these poems are pretty much ignoring both. Taking inspiration from these, I may have to experiment with the non-rhyming, anti-iambic in subsequent poems. Not sure I’m ready yet. As loath as I am to be a rule-follower, especially in my writing, there is something kind of comforting about this structure–and maybe that’s the point, both the point about why I keep doing it, and the point about why I should try to break free.

Here’s another poem about trying to get back to a meditation practice. And for now, we’re sticking to the Shakespearean script.


What if I moved the cushion out into
This new space, and sat, practiced there instead,
The breathing in and out and through,
With Arooj Aftab’s music in my head?
I have no clue what she’s singing about.
It’s not English, but Urdu, and beyond.
That it moves me, there cannot be a doubt;
The melody alone, something whole, round.
She’ll become my smudging ceremony,
She’ll sing the space free of all negative chi;
I’m not completely down with that hooey
But I know the value of a deep breathe. 
I know, it’s simple—all times, all places:
Whatever it takes, to recover these graces.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

9 thoughts on “#447: What if I moved the cushion out into . . .

    1. Thank you, Andrea! Yeah, Arooj Aftab is like nothing else in my musical collection. She’s fantastic, and this new album she just put out in collaboration with these two other musicians is also phenomenal. Love in Exile is the name of the album.

  1. I often joke that these days I don’t like anything — in the online sense. Michael Jarmer, as is his wont, makes me break the rules. He’s an inspiration, a writer of all genres who is under the misapprehension that he quit his job as a teacher. Nope. Never. Sorry, Michael, you’re not done.

  2. I followed a link from NaPoWriMo to this post. Did you know that the image you chose is the old logo for a free to air television channel in Victoria, Australia? I grew up there and it was a blast from the past to see it again after so long!

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