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Walking to Work

22 April, 2021: Walking to Work

Read a Poem

Walking to Work

By Joanne Lehman

You walked to work
on freeze cracked asphalt
to the dead winter town,
its blank storefronts
and shopkeepers who
don’t de-ice the sidewalks.
There were some tears—
not from stinging wind.
And a prayer on your vapor breath
to see the Father. . .
Here in a stone urn on a low step
with its dead ageratum and geranium,
remnant of dusty miller, frosted lamb’s ear . . .
underfoot and in the road,
a granite puddle of slush—
overhead, a dozen shrieking crows
holding electric wires
in their icy claws.
Father, just show up.
What is a prayer but these steps—
one after the other up
the long steep hill,
past the Millersburg Ice Company?
"Walking to Work" by Joanne Lehman, from Fountain Nook. Orchard Street Press. 2018. Used by permission of the author.
Joanne Lehman recently retired from teaching English at University of Akron Wayne College and Malone University. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Ashland University and a BA in Communication Arts from Malone College. Joanne's first chapbook, Morning Song, won the 1994 Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University. Her two additional poetry books are Driving in the Fog (Finishing Line, 2012) and Fountain Nook (Orchard Street, 2018), and prose books are Kairos and Traces of Treasure (Herald P 2004, 1995). Joanne lives with her husband Ralph Lehman in Wooster, Ohio, and is working on a new novel.  

Write a Poem

Write a poem in a non-geometric shape. This is an old form, sometimes called a Carmina Figurata, and you can find an example online by searching Google Images for “An Old Fiddler’s Ode to His Old Fiddle.” John Ciardi has written many, one in the shape of a concert piano.
Sierra Polsinelli
Picture the words centered. They form a Drop.

down and
down. my
freedom, flying
gone. Once I was
free, floating in the
void. Then the cold did
come, slowly us all down
forcing us to bond into a
coalescent being. No longer
floating, we were heavy and
earthward bound. Faster and faster
we hurtle towards our doom. The
puddle awaits us, so many go before us
Trapped in form, doomed to die.
Drops dripping ever downward.
we can see it coming
closer, the end is near
a drop on the water
4/23/2021 7:30:56 PM

RE: "Walking to Work". Nice! I loved this line: "underfoot and in the road,
a granite puddle of slush—" perfectly "said". Thanks for posting this--a made for a nice afternoon read on an icy April day on the shores of Lake Erie!
4/22/2021 4:00:51 PM

My Carmina Figurata entitled "Politically Correct Duncan Hines Cake" fell...formatting turned it into a fallen cake! I posted the mess (what's left of it) at Such is poetry--a bit touchy and fragile on certain days!
4/22/2021 3:57:55 PM

Mary M Chadbourne
This piece is richly suggestive, with "these steps—
one after the other up
the long steep hill" carrying the weight of prayer, paying respects, showing up for work--all of a piece.
4/22/2021 10:35:05 AM

Cathy Barber
Love the "tears--/not from stinging wind." You trust your reader and at the same time emphasize the cold.
4/22/2021 9:57:20 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.