Poem for Poetry Thursday

Happy Poetry Thursday!

I tried something slightly different than the prompt. The word I chose was defenestration, which means "a throwing of something or someone out of a window." I knew what the word meant and have always wanted to use it in a poem. But I checked a few sources and it also means throwing someone out of a political office—that got me thinking of the sad state of politics and our current administration in the U.S.

I think my effort turned out lame—I'm saying that up front. But as an exercise, it made me consider why I don't write overtly political poetry. Sometimes I think I'm not ready to write it, that I won't be able to find the right story to make the words resonate. But I that shouldn’t stop me from trying to write a political poem, right? So I'll have to come back to this one and revise it, maybe working through what it means to defenestrate. (Such a fun word!)

As tempting as it is to critique my own effort, I'll just step back for now. Know that I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's wonderful words.


Now we can say that
trouble lives with us,
inhabits our space
like fingerprints smudged on a window
although we pretend—when someone notices—
to see through it.
By the time we got around to it,
it was too late anyway
to disavow any knowledge,
but not to late to claim
taking the appropriate and necessary steps.
Who among us
will sift through the glass,
take the broom
and sweep up the mess? Rather,
who wouldn’t try
to stay about the fray?
All of that is shattered
and no one to clean it up.
If it’s about the company we keep
than who holds better court
than misery?


I think this is a fine draft! My favorite line(s):

"If it’s about the company we keep
than who holds better court"

this is a great way to turn that semi-usual phrase into poetry. Nicely done.

When I think about "political poetry" and writing it I often have the same reaction to myself as you had. But what I realize in reading your work is: it is political, already. Not overtly about an office, or person (this poem isn't overt either, BTW) but about the human condition, the social issues that arise because we are simply a bunch of folks living together in a world, trying to stay alive and get by. And I do not mean to minimize your work. I just mean to say: your personal is political. Your work speaks to specific stories, which, when you zoom the lens out on them, grow to mean much larger things than they seem to be about.

(not sure how all that will sound to you, but I'm trying to compliment you....just in case you can't tell!)
Say WHAT? ...just kidding. This turned out better than mine!
Emily said…
I also like your ending lines as well as the part about sifting through glass. Strong start...I'd never have know defenestration was anything political (ir anything else)w except for your definition :) Very helpful.
Colorful Prose said…
I enjoyed this, especially the reminder of social responsibility.
Catherine said…
I don't think it's lame, even if it needs editing. So many people write political poems that are much more obvious - really just prose rants with line breaks. Yours is definitely much more subtle
That whole first line is incredible- trouble lives with us, indeed!
I'm just looking at it from the viewpoint of being a good poem, January- it's just what it is and what you are talking about here is important- not necessarily political, just important.
Important things need to be told...
Remiman said…
When another's writing captures and holds my attention, as yours has done, then I find it anything but lame.
This piece to me is not overtly political, so I'm free to make my own interpretation. This, to me , is the mark of a "good" poem.
January said…
Remiman, you are too kind! Thanks, and thanks everyone, for the kind words.
January said…
PWADJ, thanks. I agree that all poetry is political, and my poetry is certainly that way. But I've wanted to write more socially conscious poems for a while. Maybe this will be the start of something for me.
As i told someone else last week, writing good political poetry that doesn't come off as preachy is hard - well, this poem is successful!
Dana said…
Do you like it now that you've been able to sit with it for a little while? Because you should like it. Not that I am telling you what to do or anything.

So, there was this band in my hometown when I was in high school. They were great. They were kind of like Nirvana about four years before Nirvana existed. Their name? You guessed it: Defenestration.
Rethabile said…
That's a terrible word, with awful consequences. That's to balance that against the poem you've moulded out of it. It's a fine draft, if you insist on calling it that.

Which, according to some French poet, is right. Since a poem is never finished; only abandoned.

I enjoyed the piece, as usual.
I think it can be very difficult to write political poetry than doesn't rant or preach. You've managed it hear, it works as poetry, it works as narrative and it nudges the reader into thinking about issues, much more successful than a rant, which can bore the reader who already agrees, turn off or anger the reader who doesn't agree and rarely works as poetry (except sometimes in a performance context). And there's is my wee rant on why not to rant...!
chiefbiscuit said…
Yes I like that the poem isn't overtly political but that has me wondering about what you may be talking about - you are clearly disgruntled! A poem is never about a single thing anyway - it is meant to work on many levels, as this one does. I like the way you have used smudged glass that people insist on still looking through as if it wasn't, ignoring the reality. You should write more political poems because you are good at it.
Jone said…
I really like the opening lines. It isn't in your face and yet I hear the voice of social issues.
And I really liked the idea of a poem a day for April (as stated in the column)

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