The December Project
Daily April poem: inspired by a photograph of baseball

Daily April poem: a curtal sonnet


For what endures. For old soles worn
    until a toe peeks through. For hands
        that press dough flat; for the griddle, hot.
For the Western Union sign behind glass,
    the sparse shelves of masa and gari
        give thanks. It's safe to speak in tongues.

Let all who are hungry come and eat.
    Inscribe Emma Lazarus at every border.
        Fire up crop dusters and drop greencards.
Trust the rains to fall. If not now --

            then when?

Today's NaPoWriMo prompt invites the writing of a curtal sonnet, a form invented by Gerard Manley Hopkins in the 1800s. One of my very favorite poems is a curtal sonnet -- Hopkins' Pied Beauty, which we read every year on the first night of Pesach as part of our creative Hallel, our poems and psalms of praise. I decided not to try for rhyme, but I did try to match Hopkins' use of four stresses per line.

In the Counting of the Omer, today is the day of netzach she'b'gevurah, endurance within boundaried strength. Thinking about endurance and about boundaries led me to a few of this poem's images, and the poem grew from there. The first line of the second stanza is from the Passover seder. The final question comes from the sage Hillel.