“Lily wanted to be a good place to land.”
Emily Winfield Martin
The first Friday of the month means my Sunday Night Swaggers critique group monthly challenge. This month, Molly Hogan challenged us to “Go to a book you love. Find a short line that strikes you. Make that line the title of your poem. Write a poem inspired by the line. Then, after you’ve finished, change the title completely.” (Molly found this prompt here.)
I liked this prompt immediately. The problem was which book to choose? There are so many books to love! Despite knowing the challenge several months in advance, I couldn’t decide on a book. And am I the only one who feels like teaching during a pandemic seriously compromises my ability to think straight after three o’clock? Good. Then you’ll understand when I confess that, even though this poem meets this challenge, it was written months ago. Sorry, Molly.
The “scraps of larger stories” and paintings in this book are endlessly inspiring. They have a mystical and dream-like quality that makes me want to climb into them. (Read another poem inspired by this book here.)
Lily wanted to be a good place to land.
If a spotted yellow butterfly
lands in the palm of your hand
and whispers, follow me…
don’t be shy, don’t hesitate
let the breeze carry you
into a sun-splashed meadow
where caterpillars nibble,
beetles skim, and dragonflies hover
over clusters of clover,
milkweed, and thistle
Follow her through ripples of sedge
Keep your eyes and ears and heart
open to the mysteries hidden there:
a map to your true you.
© Catherine Flynn, 2020
I’ve been reading Kate DiCamillo’s Louisiana’s Way Home with a student over the past few weeks, and I thought about using a line from Kate’s wise writing for this challenge. In the end, I settled on borrowing the title of my poem from this line: “I guess you can never say what riches people contain.”
Please visit my fellow swaggers to see how they responded to this challenge.
Then head over A Year of Reading for the Poetry Friday Roundup. Be sure to wish our hostess extraordinaire, Mary Lee Hahn, a very happy birthday while you’re there!