When I returned to writing after a twenty-five year silence, I discovered a good poetry prompt site that I grew to love: POETSONLINE. This site introduced me to the idea of sharing and presenting poetry online for others to read, and it also taught me what fun it can be to write to a specific prompt. The site is run by Ken Ronkowitz, himself a fine poet as well as blogger. His prompts are always very well thought out, amply illustrated with poetic examples, and they offer a challenge to both experienced and new writers. A while back, there was an interesting prompt that began with reading Carl Sandburg’s poem, “Mag.” Ken used the negative thinking of the poem as a way of creating an interesting prompt:
“The prompt this time out was to write a poem about a negative wish (or wishes) – a wish to undo, wishes that change the past. Those are the wishes that pull you right back to the present and have you thinking about the future.”
My poem, “I Wish I Could Undo…” was written in response to that prompt. I later posted the poem on my blog so it would finally have a small readership. Body image is a problem for so many of us. I think this poem can speak to women of different ages, backgrounds, races, ethnicities and nationalities. Sadly, feeling you are never really “good enough” is a problem that continues to shadow so many women.
One of the Minerva Rising editors asked me to share this poem and the story about its creation here in the Keeping Room. It was my goal all along for the poem to have more readers; I hope you enjoy reading (and perhaps even listening to me read) the poem, “I Wish I Could Undo…”
I Wish I Could Undo…
All the time
I wasted waiting for life to happen,
As if there would be a perfect moment
When the stars aligned just so,
Or my sails swiftly caught the wind,
And the ivory moon was full.
I thought it would just happen.
All the time
I wasted loathing who I am:
Never good enough, smart enough,
Thin enough, clever enough,
And if that weren’t already enough,
I somehow felt that if I said it enough,
I really might be transformed,
Emerging a butterfly and not a moth.
I would be smarter, beautiful, wittier,
And I’d dance with agile grace.
At last it became quite apparent:
I would never be “enough” for me.
All that time
I wasted wishing myself away.
If only I could undo all of that,
And take back time…and use it well.
I’d whisper a simple incantation
To my younger self:
You were enough, more than enough
In your very own way.
Mary Kendall’s poetry blog is called A Poet in Time and can be found at http://www.apoetintime.com. Her writing appears in both print and online journals, and her chapbook, Erasing the Doubt, was published in 2015 by Finishing Line Press.
Photo credit: “Broken Mirror” by Edward Van Helgen @ deviantart.com