Thank You for Asking (an epistolary poem)

Poetry Friday logo by Linda Mitchell

Happy Poetry Friday! Welcome, everyone! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

Just a reminder of a free Zoom about Oskar’s Voyage. Hope to see you there!

This month, we poetry sisters wrote epistolary poems. I love this form of poems written as letters, even though I’ve only written a few of them. We were supposed to write love letters or Valentines to something, but, um…I didn’t.

In fact, I wrote a letter TO a letter, of sorts. For the past year or so, life has been pretty overwhelming. Nothing absolutely catastrophic. But…health issues, divorces (not mine!), court cases, business conflicts, adult children moving back in, financial straits, new part-time job, etc. It’s just been a lot. And when friends and family members reach out with invitations, I feel their love and support. But I ALSO feel pressure to add yet another thing to my totally overloaded schedule. There are even days I miss lockdown (not the devastating human toll, but the ban on gathering itself). So, here’s my epistolary poem :>)

And here’s what the other poetry sisters have written, and there may be more (I hope!) scattered across Poetry Friday.

Mary Lee

Click here to see all our previous Poetry Princesses collaborations.

If you’d like to write with us in March, we’re taking on pantoums, and we’ve determined that ours will incorporate an animal in some way. We’ll post them on Friday, March 29–have fun! (Tag them with #poetrypals on the socials.)

Finally, our Poetry Friday host this week is the thoughtful and art-loving Tabatha, so check out the Roundup!




23 Responses

  1. Laura, your poem is terrific! I can really relate to it, especially in my teaching in person now, there seems to be a lack of patience and a need to get it all right away– I would welcome that bare calendar too, and I like your repeating of invitation, and your first stanza, the “friendship bird” and safety net” thanks!

  2. “You are built of good intention.” Oh, how I feel every bit of this poem. It’s so hard to say no.
    Thank you for sharing this. My introverted heart loves it.

  3. Oh, this is wonderful, Laura! I love the “party of/a bare calendar.” I am always trying to find the right balance between free time and scheduled time, especially during vacation. Also, this resonates especially when there are so many “must do’s” and the things I want/love to do begin to feel like burdens because they add additional weight.

  4. “Distantly yours” made me smile. You really nailed it, Laura! Even well-meant things can become part of the larger chaos. The title is perfect, too.

  5. This is so right on, Laura, especially your first stanza — a feather from a friendship bird — that sets the tone. I’ve had a week of caring for my grandchildren and although we had great fun and I love them dearly, I feel anxious with the disruption of my schedule (I’m also exhausted!)

  6. Laura, your Thank You For Asking Poem is an outpouring of emotions that ring true for me also. march in army drills. So True! I am sorry that you are burdened and sorry for those responding to you who also feel the strain of life’s to do’s (me included). With a hacking cough that does not stop, the lack of sleep, and weird nightmares, the invitations laying before me lay in the distance. Thank you, my firend, for your honesty. It is refreshing for those burdened. May this week open a slight reprieve from troubles.

  7. Lays this letter is full of heart. Honest vulnerability. I love where you broke lines. It lent emphasis to the thoughts. Also could hear the strength in the word choices: March, dark, alarming chaos. Brava!

  8. I think I will need to re-visit this in March, which seems to be full of changes in my bookstore needs. Every volunteer appears to be going to “other places”, so the need to rearrange & the want of lockdown resonates with me. Sorry for your year, my word for that is discombobulated! I love that you expressed it so eloquently, Laura, that signing, yes!

  9. You packed so much in here—dark humor, and vulnerability and love of solitude—really, this is the nicest NO I’ve ever read. Well done, friend.

  10. Gah!!! I feel every line of this, every line. My heart says yes… But the rest of me is fleeing like a roach from light. I’m tired of feeling guilty about it, but I’m also just…tired.

    But, this too shall pass. I hope.

  11. I get the angst a simple invitation can bring and I don’t think I have quite as many concerns pulling at me as you do. I’ll bet writing this poem helped, by acknowledging your feelings. I love epistolary poems and a glimpse at a conversation.

  12. “Distantly yours”–ha! I do like your line “feather from a friendship bird” a lot; Michelle K. is also talking about birds today. You’ve made your RSVP into a poem. Nicely done.

  13. Sometimes we feel an implied pressure with invitations. Sometimes the timing isn’t quite right. There it is staring back at us expecting a response. Laura, your poem is so relatable. Myriad thoughts intersecting. I enjoyed knowing I am not alone in my thoughts regarding these well intentioned intrusions.

  14. My introvert heart loves this poem, especially that lockdown stanza. Who knew we (at least some of us) would look back with any kind of fondness for that time?!?

  15. So clever to use the epistolary form to write to an invitation! I think you’ve expressed something many of us are feeling, as our lives have become more social.

  16. I relate to this so much Laura– thank you for sharing. I’d say this is a love poem of sorts– self care poems are a type of love as far as I’m concerned!

  17. I really really really get this, Laura. Every word is just right — and then you take us out with the sign-off just perfectly. Reading again now.…

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