Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. This could be as simple as using a line or image from another poem as a jumping-off point, or it could be a more formal poetic response to the argument or ideas raised in another poem. You might use a favorite (or least favorite poem) as the source for your response. And if you’re having trouble finding a poem to respond to, here are a few that might help you generate ideas: “This World is Not Conclusion,” by Peter Gizzi, “In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever,” by Wanda Coleman, “La Chalupa, the Boat,” by Jean Valentine, or “Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips.
I chose to answer the question in the poem ‘miracles‘ by Walt Whitman. I tried replying using the same format as the poet.
Why, who makes much of a miracle?
Of this I know a thing or two
It’s they who
make nothing of breathing and believe it to be like the waxing
and waning of the moon. Something that needs no attending
to. It’s they who feel no pain on seeing lovers part
As waves that touch the shore, kiss and depart
It’s they who make nothing of the art
or the artist; neither the pallet, the strokes or the sheer size of the canvas moves their heart
Nor the knowledge of the journey of the waters to the sky
and back evokes a sense of wonder in their eye
It’s they who make nothing of the earth’s celestial dance
as she unceasing moves, unstopping, in a trance
They who see it merely as a reason
For the changes in season
And feel no awe at the attraction, the pull, how it must stem
despite millions and millions of miles between them
I know a thing or two
of the ones who, make much of miracles
It’s they who see it not in the churning of food in their gut
or are quick to condemn when stuck in a rut
It’s they who have eyes but
cannot see and whose minds are shut
Like you, I see miracles all around me too-
In the rising of bread, the spoiling of milk into curd
In the garden- every blooming flower, every pollinating bee
every bird, every worm and every fish in the sea
every man who made a difference to another
by a smile, a word, a gesture
Miracles do not happen out of the blue
I see them all around me too, in every little thing I do.
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