Today’s the 6th day of one of my favorite months — National Poetry Month. Which is also National Poetry WRITING Month, NaPoWriMo. AND…my birthday month! How filled w/ great stuff can a month get?

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today is about the line — about changing it up, about playing with it. But since I didn’t write yesterday, or do yesterday’s prompt, I’m combining them. A word in a language not my own — riffing on what it looks & sounds like it means — and line change-ups. You can let me know how that works for you. Here you go:

Torschlusspanik[1] ~

how our frantic panic

burned like a torch

incinerated any good

intentions

whatever we once knew

of any middle path

through

how lust too was a torch

an incandescent inferno

a purgatory

in which both our bodies

burned to cinders

now

the cooling of lava

the way the embers bank

how they glow

beneath the black ash

of what we lost

to time

[1] Torschlusspanik is a combination of three German words, and literally translated means “gate-shut-panic.” Apparently the term dates back to the Middle Ages in reference to the panic medieval peasants might have experienced as they rushed to make it back inside the city gates before they closed at nightfall.

I also want to offer another poem I love, one I read at my first public reading (where I was asked to choose a poem to read). It’s by one of my favourite mentor poets — Denise Levertov. An anti-war poem, it looks at the people of my childhood home, ViệtNamAnd the ways in which we forget that the real victims of real wars are real people.

I hope that’s not too much food for poetic thought!