In the Poetry Potluck sponsored by the local YMCA we write poems to semi-monthly prompts given to us by our poetry facilitator or his designee. We meet over Zoom for an hour twice a month to read aloud and chat. Through our poetry prompts and the resulting poems, we've become what feels like friends, yet most of us have not (and may never) meet in person. It's been a lovely perk during the other 'P' even we've all experienced in the past two years. Thank you, Y!
The most recent prompt for a poem was "advice/words of wisdom received." Instead of writing about a specific gift, I wrote a poem about one of my favorite notions--something a person hears inadvertently that becomes advice and can even be profoundly helpful. Nine years ago I wrote a post on the topic and published it on this blog, which I reference in this link .
Here is my poem written last week on the same topic.
THE UNWITTING GIFT
Anyone can give you an unwitting gift,
and that anyone will likely never know it.
Offhand or sloppy is how the gift is wrapped,
its ribbon like a crumb stuck on a sleeve
that draws you in, but goes unnoticed by another.
It’s a gulp of truth spoken in passing,
expelled like breath and enveloping you
with an ah-ha, and unravels a knot of
worries and concerns or questions inside
that helps dissolve an undigested mental lump.
Maybe you hear something on the radio
and as your ears swallow the phrase, you realize
how starved you were for this very thing,
word-food which silences an unknown craving
that soothes your insides from the outside in.
You might receive an unwitting gift in a checkout line,
or as anecdotal sharing in a good-friend chat,
even from a person you don’t much care for,
but someone has brushed past you with the dustpan
that holds the puzzle piece you didn’t know was lost.