Saturday, September 5, 2020

Chalkboard Poems

On September 1, I resumed my little chalkboard poem project, a poem a day on an easel-style green chalkboard (stained from paint and pastel crayons) standing beside my front stoop. I did this in June, to bring a little cheer via Facebook and Instagram, and it did! But I knew I needed a rest and other projects to feel freshly inspired, so I did a lot of reading and other kinds of writing over the summer, and now I'm back to the chalkboard at back-to-school time. 

I was feeling a little down yesterday--had visited my folks outdoors, my "down in the dumps" mom who was (yay!) no longer down in the dumps, and came home feeling suspended, meaningless. It's the whole Covid thing, yes, the general isolation, the local worry from an extreme uptick in cases (related to college students returning*), and missing hugging, but I realized this morning that I always get a little nostalgic and sad at back to school time, because I'm not going back to school! And neither are my kids (grown). And neither are a lot of kids now. My heart goes out to all the teachers, students, and parents coping with the wild disruption and worry of school right now. Along with everything else.

The chalkboard poems are another way to structure my day, my month. I rise early, write the poem on the board, often in first light, with the porch light on, take the Instagram photo, email it to myself, and arrange text with image at Facebook. It is cheering my online pals, and I'm glad of that, though not all poems are/will be cheerful. Some will be melancholy, like me, some stark, some with dark humor, and some with bright joy. The whole mix. A little blurry.

I tend toward a haiku-like poem that will fit on the board, some depending heavily upon their titles. I say "haiku-like" because I learned later in life that haiku doesn't really have that 5-7-5 syllabic form we were taught in American grade schools. Nor titles! So mine will often be variations. I tend to write them during the day, or in my head during a walk, adjusting them in chalk, as needed. 

I got new "dustless" chalk over the summer to prepare for this, having used chalk stubs for the June poems. Perhaps these will grow more lush. The days continue to be beautiful. I ignore my indoor chores, though yesterday, guilt drove me indoors long enough to dust the living room surfaces, including my stacks of books and journals ready for the winter hibernation coming all too soon, perhaps with a second lockdown. (I've written that poem already and hope I don't have to use it.)* So there you have it, my first week of back-to-the-chalkboard poems, with pictures and invisibility.

*Not all the students are to blame, of course. Just the ones who congregated hugely in parties as if no one would get sick, and ignoring the rules (the way I ignore my chores, slattern that I am). I'm pleased to see students walking around town now in masks. Thank you! As doom looms, let's be kind to one another.

No comments: