The 2024 Progressive Poem

It’s my turn to add a couplet to the 12th annual Progressive Poem. Follow along on this National Poetry Month journey, begun by Irene Latham and now hosted by Margaret Simon, while a baby poem meanders from blog to blog, growing as each writer contributes a line. By the end of the month we’ll have composed a community poem for children.

Yesterday, Linda Baie offered a letter that our traveler is carrying. As I read the poem, I wondered first if I should reveal what Mami has written. That’s likely not possible in one couplet, but maybe I can offer a hint. It seems like our protagonist is seeking reassurance right now–something to calm the thundering heart in a rough-brush land with sounds of danger at every step of the arduous journey. Here is the poem to date, with my line added in bold.

cradled in stars, our planet sleeps
clinging to tender dreams of peace
sister moon watches from afar
singing lunar lullabies of hope.

almost dawn, I walk with others,
keeping close, my little brother.
hand in hand, we carry courage
escaping closer to the border.

My feet are lightning;
My heart is thunder.
Our pace draws us closer
to a new land of wonder.

I bristle against rough brush —
poppies ahead brighten the browns.
Morning light won’t stay away —
Hearts jump at every sound.

I hum my own little song
like ripples in a stream
Humming Mami’s lullaby
reminds me I have her letter

My fingers linger on well-worn creases,
shielding an address, a name, a promise–

Read the list below to learn where our poem has been and where it’s headed. I’m passing the baton to you, Linda!

April 1 Patricia Franz at Reverie
April 2 Jone MacCulloch
April 3 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
April 4 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
April 5 Irene at Live Your Poem
April 6 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
April 7 Marcie Atkins
April 8 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a God Forsaken Town
April 9 Karen Eastlund
April 10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
April 11 Buffy Silverman
April 12 Linda Mitchell
April 13 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
April 14 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
April 15 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
April 16 Sarah Grace Tuttle
April 17 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
April 18 Tabatha at Opposite of Indifference
April 19 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
April 20 Tricia Stohr-Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
April 21 Janet, hosted here at Reflections on the Teche
April 22 Mary Lee Hahn at A(nother) Year of Reading
April 23 Tanita Davis at (fiction, instead of lies)
April 24 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
April 25 Joanne Emery at Word Dancer
April 26 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
April 27
April 28 Dave at Leap of Dave
April 29 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
April 30 Michelle Kogan at More Art for All

14 thoughts on “The 2024 Progressive Poem

  1. “My fingers linger on well-worn creases” I love the tactile connection this brings to our travelers. I’m late keeping up with the poem, but loving each addition.

  2. I know what Margaret means, but to me the magic is that this poem is NOT magical–it’s grounded in real experience, and we are all having to put ourselves into this kid’s shoes. Thanks for giving the letter more shape, a provenance.

  3. Buffy, wow. This just keeps getting better and better. Thank you. I love the way you used shielding and the well-worn creases to press the story forward.

  4. Letters aren’t around much anymore, yet in our past people kept some all their lives. You’ve shown that with such heart, that even the touch gives strength, Buffy. Both the use of ‘shield’ and ‘linger’ mean a lot.

  5. Buffy, I was recently working with a small writing group and one participant suggested we explore the word shield. It’s such an interesting word because I took it as a shield of armor, a protection, while others used your choice, as something hidden and out of sight. I also like that this letter has been handled, has traveled a long way. This poem is intriguing and has a touch of something magical in the works.

    1. I initially wrote hiding, but then dove into the thesaurus for synonyms because it seemed a little ordinary/weak. I normally think of shield as you do, but liked the sound and possible-double meaning when I saw it on the synonym list.

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