{the last poetry project of 2020}

This photograph is from the Library of Congress’ Flicker page, and shows four unnamed young ladies in 1899-1900 on the steps of Atlanta University.

Poetry Peeps! It’s the last month of the year, and the last poetry project of the year, and we’re doing a last look at history. While the poetry form you choose is your own, the theme is a wistful commentary on history. Perhaps it’s a moment formalized in history books, or just part of your own family history – but where do you wish you’d been? What do you wish you’d seen firsthand? And how will you remember it in a poem? We hope you’ll join the fun and share!

{pf: poetry peeps in hindsight}


Thankfully, we made it! November has been a CHALLENGING month, but here we are, at the finish line of the final Friday, well-rested (in theory), full of leftovers (hopefully) and ready to celebrate the season with some more poetry.

Our theme this month was the last of our hindsight/foresight poems where we were meant to either revise an older poem, or respond to one, and …well. I tried really hard to actually write something to theme AND something positive and hindsight-y at the same time. I wholly missed the theme, but you’ll have to judge how well I did with the rest. I find that this year it has been ESPECIALLY hard to keep an upbeat tone when looking back – I can look back and see so many mistakes! – but I’m still standing. We’re still here. That’s worth gratitude, is it not?

So, as this bittersweet celebration weekend continues, I’m looking back over 2020, and remembering how it all began…

new year’s eve

the neighborhood awash in crashing booms
(we midnight sleepers sighing at the sound)
a new year – 2020 – on the loom
as Fate took a fresh thread and looped it ’round

the strutting idiot frets into the light
and bloviates while Nero’s fiddles play
“If we had known” and knowing that first night,
What act could change the outcome of today?

for here we stand – in ashes of the blaze
so many gone and countless lost to fear
not helpless – science battles this malaise
hold fast to faith – that we will persevere.

Gathered apart, our courage battle-scarred
With hard-won grace, with hope our honor guard.

Writing this Thanksgiving morning, I’ve been texting back and forth with my sisters, getting snaps of what they’re cooking, a bittersweet echo of our usual tradition. Thanksgiving has always been THE Davis Family holiday. We don’t really bother with any other holiday the same way the whole year ’round. And yet, a holiday, which we’ve been socialized to believe is about family and gratitude, has dark, bloodstained roots in normalizing indigenous genocide, pain and loss – which is obviously not to be celebrated. And yet – joy is a defiance of tragedy and days of peace and rest must be taken where they can be found. Every year we seek out more ways to bring this into balance – a history of tragedy and a present of loss, offset by family feasting. It’s a process, to be sure. May you, as you navigate what celebration, and what this particular celebration means to you and yours, find a way to put out the joy into the world that it needs while doing the right your heart – and this world – needs as well.

Want more poetry? Check out how Laura’s looking back. Sara’s wordsmithing is here, and here’s Liz’s. Find Michelle’s poem here, find Carol’s here, and here’s Tricia, too. Stay tuned for more Poetry Peeps checking in with their links. Meanwhile, Poetry Friday is hosted today at Carol’s Corner – with gratitude to book-talker and teacher, Carol!


…THE ENIGMA GAME, and to Elizabeth Wein, whose book shares the excellent timing of having a book emerge on Election Day. THE ENIGMA GAME is a WWII mystery featuring a Jamaican-Scots girl, and it’s for older readers, and is All Good Things. Go, read it!

And, of course, Happy Book Birthday to SERENA SAYS!

Reviews so far talk a lot about this as a very happy book – which, with this year as it has gone, is a hopeful, helpful thing. I hope Serena’s very ordinary frustrations and celebrations remind older readers and younger readers alike of how very much the same we all are – no matter what makes up the bits that make us who we are. Here’s to having that to celebrate today, if nothing else.