Vicariously – Poetry Challenge

April is National Poetry Month in the United States.  In past years, to celebrate Poetry Month, I have shared poems and links to other poet’s sites.  This year I wanted to do something different.

I follow several blogs by poets.  I was inspired to do this poetry challenge after reading the following haiku poem written by Ben Dwyer.

Once I was alive

Now we live in photographs

Vicariously

-Ben Dwyer, posted January 27, 2020

I didn’t realize that the word vicariously was exactly five syllables, perfect for a haiku poem.  You can check out Ben’s WordPress site by clicking on the following link: Ben Dwyer Haiku a Day Blog

Why the word “vicariously?”  The definition of the word from Miriam Websters Online Dictionary states that it is “experienced or realized through imaginative or sympathetic participation in the experience of another.”  At a time in history where so many people are having to work from home, practice social distancing and participate in shelter in place, it felt appropriate that the subject of a poetry challenge be experiencing and realizing life through another person, a memory, a fictional place, dream, etc.

This got me thinking about what my friends might be able to do with the word and theme of vicariously.  I contacted Ben and told him of my idea, inspired by his poem and asked if I could use his poem in my blog.  After receiving his permission, I began to contact friends who write poetry and see if they would be interested in the “Vicariously Poetry Challenge.”  I also opened up the challenge to those who read my blog.  The results are the following poems in alphabetical order based on the poet’s name.

* * * * * * * * *

It was like two souls colliding

An impact that would be felt in every corner of my being,

Changing my very foundation

Leaving me breathless from the blow.

A breath escaped so beautiful.

So pure, unadulterated, honest.

Such a collision so powerful, so genuine,

The charge of sparking energy without equal, without rival.

Beauty and truth in its most perfect state.

As I sleep

The taste of you

On my tongue, lingers the feel of your name across my lips

Savored dreaming so clearly of moving,

Entangled breathing and crashing spirits, colliding

The feel of you beguiling

In the light I feel the charge of your skin, beneath my grip

Taut and pulling

Your flesh aching to be drawn in

To be invited to power over your senses

The will of the intertwined to connect

The rush of blood

Reeling

Feeling

To know the sensation of connectedness

The shock and bliss

So soothing, so infinitely grounding

To bathe in the flashes of the morning dews upon the grass

The piercing of the pair that creates one

The breadth of the grasping for the real, anxiously surrendered at the moment

That which ceases time

And remains until chosen to be reignited

Even if only vicariously

Even if only vicariously

-Canidae & Sif

* * * * * * * * * *

Heirloom Pearls by Samantha Houston

In a chain long and unending

Reaching far past what my eyes can see

Pain and cruelty

Insecurity and competition

A scarcity of the care which should be abundant in all things

Has been handed downward from mother to daughter

Like a strand of heirloom pearls

Choking one generation to the next.

From You

Unflinchingly

To Me.

On the day I was born

Full of potential

Believing nothing

Knowing nothing

You gave me breath.

And like an evil fairy come late to the party,

You gave me this-

A strand of heirloom pearls wrapped tight around my neck.

As tightly, I imagine

As they once fit you.

Did you know what a choking hazard they were when you placed them there?

Or did you believe that it was natural

Because they had once been given to you?

You treated this generational pain

The pain your mother gave to you

And her mother gave to her

As some sort of genetic burden.

A congenital parasite…

Without questioning its attachment.

Without questioning its worth.

You clung so tightly to this parasitic way of life

You lost perspective on where it ended and you began.

You clung as if you couldn’t live without it

And you made your illusions true.

As you watched your life waste away

As you ceded ever more control

As your parasite devoured everything around you

You made me responsible for its care.

For easing your burden.

You made me responsible for feeling your pain

So that for a moment

You didn’t have to.

Do you expect me to wear my pearls with pride

The way that you do?

To burden my girls with this generational curse you’ve nurtured so well?

Yes.

Because that would validate the way you have lived your entire life.

No, I will use the strand you have given me

To draw a line in the sand.

Your pain and insecurities

Will not live vicariously through me.

They will not have breath through me.

And they will not pass onward through me.

A thousand and one gemstones may cross my neck

Until I find the one that fits

The one that covers and heals the marks left behind by your pearls.

So that one day

When my daughters are grown

They will never have to wear necklaces at all.

And your pearls will have been left in the sand

Given back to the oysters from whence they came.

* * * * * * * * *

Vicariously,

Live through you, but lose myself.

Annihilation.

-Jill M.L. Kanewischer, February 17, 2020

* * * * * * * * *

I hope that you have enjoyed the poems written by friends and fellow bloggers.  I also hope that you take the time to check out other poets and blogs about poetry this month.

Happy Poetry Month!