It never ceases to amaze me, the hidden messages one can find in blackout poetry. The practice is an endless source of discovery that engages, entertains, and relaxes me.
For inspiration, I follow the weekly prompts and exercises posted by @blackoutpoetrychallenges on Instagram. It’s a friendly and highly supportive online community. Please check them out.
Here is the poem I wrote based on this week’s challenge:
When a poem is released from poet to reader, it no longer belongs to her. A poem may have a different meaning to a reader than the writer intended, and that’s OK, but it’s good to remember that poems are metaphors, kids. For instance, this is not a poem that encourages environmental degradation…don’t go out an dredge up a riverbed now!
I see this as a poem about centering yourself in today’s 24/7 fast-paced world where news alerts — from The New York Times to your neighbor’s latest social media post — break all day long in the palms of our hands. The pace leaves me breathless, the distractions leaves me frustrated, and the resulting seesaw of emotions, which are all too often anger and sadness, leave me feeling drained. The news is important, but who can recover a sense of calm and wonder when immersed in it?
Sometimes we must step back to regain a healthier perspective. Float “downstream” and get some distance. There, we can more easily call on the reserves, the “bedrock,” we all have. It’s our core foundations that center us, heal us, and keep us moving forward, the same way generations of people have.
Here is where I found the poem:
Here is the prompt that inspired it:
Photo credit: River photo by @jessicamaephotography on unsplash.com
broke the static.
Bedrock, dredge it.
Flood the rogue valleys,
trace the grooves clean,
and round the bend