Poeming into the New Year: A poetry thoughtshop on transformation and honoring the moment
The start of a new year is a natural chance to recalibrate—to get curious and let everything come into question. What a time to be amazed and astonished, to open ourselves to transformation. Poetry, both reading and writing it, can guide us into deeper wonder and help us meet our own hearts and the hearts of others. In this 40-minute thoughtshop, originally held on Dec. 29, 2020, Rosemerry reads poems from diverse voices about showing up, new beginnings and transformation, poems that invite spaciousness into constricted places, poems that help us awaken to the moment and to our lives. And with each poem, she’ll offer prompts—ways for you to leap into your own writing practice. You can use the video at home as if you’re in a writing workhop–just pause between prompts! A full list of poems and links to them are below.
This event was hosted by SHYFT at Mile High whose mission is to provide all people, regardless of ability to pay, with classes and programs proven to reduce stress, heal trauma, and create connection
Poetry resources cited:
Praise the Rain —Joy Harjo from Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2015)
Sweetness —Stephen Dunn from New and Selected Poems (1974-1994, 1994)
Burning the Old Year —Naomi Shihab Nye from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (Far Corner Books, 1995)
Aubade for the Whole Hood —Nate Marshall from FINNA (One World, 2020)
Advice —Bill Holm from Playing the Black Piano (Milkweed Editions, 2004)
Let us gather in a flourishing way —Juan Felipe Herrera from Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press, 2008)
—Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
And if we can’t save the world,
and who says we can’t, then
let us try anyway. Perhaps
we have no superhuman powers—
can’t see through buildings,
can’t fly, can’t bend the bars of cages—
but we have human powers—
can listen, can stand up to,
can stand up for, can cradle.
And if we can’t imagine
a world of peace, and who
says we can’t, then let us
try anyway. Perhaps we start
tonight—on a Wednesday.
Thursday works, too. Or Friday.
Doesn’t much matter the day.
All that matters is the choice
to meet this moment exactly
as it is, with no dream of being
anyone else but our flawed
and fabulous very self—
and then, wholly present,
bringing this self to the world,
touching again and again what is true.
What if we do? And if we can’t
save ourselves, and who
says we can’t, let’s try anyway.
There was a time I thought
I could never be healed. That
was only because it hadn’t happened yet,
so I decided it wasn’t possible.
Healing happened anyway.
What have we decided isn’t possible?
What if we stopped believing
that limit? What if, right now,
we used our human powers
of compassion, clarity, gratitude,
praise? What if we did it together—
opened all those closed doors inside
us? What if we let the opening do
what opening does?
Stay with this. There is no escape.
Though your heart aches, and the world’s
shrunk to the size of these few rooms,
though fear plucks the strings of each nerve,
and you want nothing more than to burst
free of the casing of your own mind, like
a bittersweet berry giving its softer self
to overwintering birds—still, dawnlight
breaks blue above the swaying maples,
and the space heater kicks on, steaming
windows with its warm, constant breath.
Stay with this, and it will pass through
like a sudden storm whose sole purpose
is to scatter leaves, seeds, and spores—
each to find a new home. Though wind
cuts terribly against the skin of your face
as you press on, remember it will calm
and cease, but not before carrying off
all that you no longer need.
reprinted with permission of the author