2021 NaPoWriMo April 23 Daring Damselfly


Prompt: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. (For details, see below.)

Chosen line:
“The damselflies pass as they would over water” from Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips.

Daring Damselfly

Damselfly, graceful, dainty,
iridescent, silvery green,

miniature mirage,
ephemeral dream, yet

you’re ancient, damselfly,
roamed the skies in the Permian age,

a predator, boasted an eagle’s
size, taunted dinosaurs.

You’ve survived, reinvented yourself,
a slimmed-down elf, you rise

above brook, pond, morning dew,
morphed from a nymph, you grew

savor life with humongous eyes,
surf on transparent wings.

Why of all things did you pass thru
the open window, mistaking glass

for watery sheen,
lured by a curious, fateful gleam,

fancy, neither sun nor moon,
till entranced beyond reprieve,

trapped in a luminous orb,
you lay dead among house flies,

intrepid wings no more to unfold.
I grieve, yet wanted the ending bold,

believing it’s ours to choose
invincible when we lose.

* * *

Now for today’s prompt (optional, as always). One thing that makes me want to write poetry is reading poetry. Sometimes, reading another poet’s work gives me an idea or image. And sometimes I read a poem that I want to formally respond to – whether because I agree with it, or disagree with it, or just because it starts a conversation in my head that I want to continue on the page.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. This could be as simple as using a line or image from another poem as a jumping-off point, or it could be a more formal poetic response to the argument or ideas raised in another poem. You might use a favorite (or least favorite poem) as the source for your response. And if you’re having trouble finding a poem to respond to, here are a few that might help you generate ideas: “This World is Not Conclusion,” by Peter Gizzi, “In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever,” by Wanda Coleman, “La Chalupa, the Boat,” by Jean Valentine, or “Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips.

Happy writing!