Poetry Friday: Today’s Hymn

It’s time for our monthly Sunday Swagger Challenge. Each month one member of my critique group provides a challenge for the rest of us to share on the first Friday of the month. This month, Molly Hogan challenged us to use Cheryl Dumesnil‘s poem, “Today’s Sermon,” as a mentor text.

Sometimes such a wide open prompt is more challenging than “write a (insert form) about (insert subject).” I played around with different ways into this challenge, but ultimately found it easier to write about one central object. Changing “sermon” to “hymn” also felt important to me. This draft still needs work (an ending, for example) but I think it’s getting there.

Today’s Hymn

is the sudden shimmer 
of a lone angel wing shell

found in wet sand at low tide.

Today’s hymn is the belly button scar
where the other half of this bivalve

was once connected, 
cleaved by some unknowable force

and now lost.

Today’s hymn is a memory preserved 
in this alabaster surface,

scored with ridges and ripples,
like a recording of the ebb and flow

of endless waves.

Draft © 2021, Catherine Flynn

Be sure to visit my fellow Swaggers to see how they approached this challenge:

Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche, who also happens to be hosting Poetry Friday today.

9 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Today’s Hymn

  1. Today’s hymn is an ebb and flow journey of life poem. I love the way it makes me think deeply about the connections we make to this world, to our family, and to each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, this is so beautiful:
    “Today’s hymn is a memory preserved
    in this alabaster surface,”
    I’m sitting here praising the all-knowing one who can store memories of all the angel wing clams and other living creatures. I love angel wing shells. I think a hymn is the perfect poem for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I won’t look at an angel wing shell again the same, Catherine. I love “like a recording of the ebb and flow. . .” It’s a wonderful ‘hymn’ to those beautiful shells.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Catherine, I have never seen an angel wing shell so I looked it up to see what I have missed. What memories may be lost within its shell. Your reverence to the shell is noteworthy like the ebb and flow of endless waves. I miss that spiritual connection with the shore’s waves so your poem brought some memories back.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This just proves that the holy can be found in even the smallest creature’s life. I like the change from “sermon” to “hymn.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is lovely! I am enjoying the poems shared by all the poets who participated in this challenge. Those opening words “Today’s sermon/hymn” are so powerful. A reminder to really take in everything around us, to pause and be mindful in every moment. Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, beachcomber that I am, I didn’t know there was an “angel wing” shell, although I can picture it clearly now. My favorite stanza is
    “scored with ridges and ripples,
    like a recording of the ebb and flow”–
    isn’t it true that our scars, inner and outer, contain our own personal history of ebb and flow? Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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