Tuesday, April 16, 2024

2024 progressive poem


Today this year's Progressive Poem lands with me. As an ever-changing but pretty consistent group, we've written journeys before--quite a few--but never one that could literally mean the difference between life and death. I'd like to thank Janice who, on Day 3, introduced this whole new dimension with just 11 carefully chosen words.  This poem has STAKES, the kind of stakes that many of us have never had to live through. Today I've tried to give our narrator some more of what they need to make it through, and my lines of four beats have gone double-time in recognition of the urgency.


Cradled in stars, our planet sleeps,

clinging to tender dreams of peace

sister moon watches from afar,

singing lunar lullabies of hope.

almost dawn. I walk with others,

keeping close my little brother.

hand in hand, we carry courage

escaping closer to the border

My feet are lightning;

My heart is thunder.

Our pace draws us closer

to a new land of wonder.

I bristle against rough brush—

poppies ahead brighten the browns.

Morning light won’t stay away—

hearts jump at every sound.

I hum my own little song

like ripples in a stream

Humming Mami’s lullaby

reminds me I have her letter

My fingers linger on well-worn creases,

shielding an address, a name, a promise–

Sister Moon will find always us

surrounding us with beams of kindness

But last night as we rested in the dusty field,

worries crept in about matters back home.

I huddled close to my brother. Tears revealed

the no-choice need to escape. I feel grown.

Leaving all I’ve ever known

the tender, heavy, harsh of home.

On to maybes, on to dreams,

on to whispers we hope could be.

But I don't want to whisper! I squeeze Manu's hand.

"¡Más cerca ahora!" Our feet pound the sand. 


Thank you very much to Margaret Simon for following in the footsteps of Irene and continuing to organize this project for the last few years. Catch the next couplet tomorrow with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference--we're more than halfway through this list of intrepid contributors!

April 1 Patricia Franz at Reverie
April 2 Jone MacCulloch
April 3 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
April 4 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
April 5 Irene at Live Your Poem
April 6 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
April 7 Marcie Atkins
April 8 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a God Forsaken Town
April 9 Karen Eastlund
April 10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
April 11 Buffy Silverman
April 12 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
April 13 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
April 14 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
April 15 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
April 16 Sarah Grace Tuttle
April 17 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
April 18 Tabatha at Opposite of Indifference
April 19 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
April 20 Tricia Stohr-Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
April 21 Janet, hosted here at Reflections on the Teche
April 22 Mary Lee Hahn at A(nother) Year of Reading
April 23 Tanita Davis at (fiction, instead of lies)
April 24 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
April 25 Joanne Emery at Word Dancer
April 26 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
April 27 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
April 28 Dave at Leap of Dave
April 29 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
April 30 Michelle Kogan at More Art for All



  1. Yes! A name, a language -- specificity! :-D Ruth,

  2. I love this! Thank you for adding the Spanish and Manu's name. I feel the pounding feet in the beat of your lines. To me, the underlying urgency and stop-and-go feel of this poem echos so strongly the cadence of this type of journey, where so often many have to move just when they thought they might rest, and pause when they want so badly to move forward. Looking forward to what comes next!

  3. Bravo! Our character (along with Manu) has gathered courage and is close...close. I just hope that in the lines that follow we can find realistic but humane closure.

  4. It's lovely to have a name, Heidi, & added tension with your Spanish phrase. You've moved the poem, and these young ones, onward! I'm always wishing this wasn't true, but know hundreds are trying so hard to find a safer place.

  5. So much tension! And a name. We ARE getting closer. Thank you.

  6. Wow! This is a powerful turn from the vague to specific, a name, a language, and a boldness to our character. Love it.

  7. AH! This movement, action, this is where we needed to go! LOVELY - hope is a thing with action. ♥-tanita

  8. I love that you added Spanish and a name for the brother.

  9. Heidi, your brought another level of urgency and thoughts of hope with the word pounding and the addition of the Spanish thought from the narrator. I am glad that you also shared the little brother's name.

  10. Beautiful moving of the poem forward. I love the word, "maybes."

  11. Details and language - Thank you for these thoughtful lines, Heidi!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!