Poetry is a ritual.
For this month’s prompt, I want you to consider the rituals you have in your life and what makes them rituals. I read a few definitions of the word ritual itself, but none of them felt quite nuanced enough. We do rituals to connect with ourselves. We craft rituals to become radically present in the world and in our bodies.
CAConrad said it best when they wrote, “Poetry and ritual are two ancient technologies that I can say firsthand can change our lives with their abilities to conduct discoveries and, yes, to also heal. Is poetry magic? I want to start by asking is language magic? What effects do words have on us?”
Poetry and ritual reside together at a crossroads. The crossroads is a symbol from folklore and fairytales that symbolizes the supernatural place between worlds. Where poetry and ritual intersect, we come face to face with the liminal, of the spaces in between things and where things meet.
The two come together to both make and unmake the world.
If you’re struggling to get yourself writing, see if you can find ways to ritualize the process. Whether this is dancing before sitting down at your desk, lighting a candle, or doing ten minutes of stream of consciousness writing every morning before you get to work, are you able to write more freely if you build a practice around it?
As we enter spring, we are shedding, grieving, making new, and planting new seeds in the earth. When we check in with each other come the summer solstice, what may have come to fruition? Pretty exciting, right?
This is also a good time to grieve what has passed. Giving yourself the space and time to grieve is important. Writing is a good way to alchemize or ritualize the process.
If you are also looking to write something to honor what has passed (winter, the year, or anything else), or to ritualize through language, there's a prompt for you below…
Below is a poetry prompt for ritual. These prompts are seven line prompts are meant to help hold your hand in creating a poem. Each line describes a different “move” in the poem that the writer can make. Some lines have sentences started for you.
The Title: What Has Passed
Line 1: “What has ended ______”
Line 2: In this line plant seeds
Line 3: “Ritual is ___________"
Line 4: “I know that I don’t know ______”
Line 5: “The instruments of _________"
Line 6: Talk about the sky darkening in this line
Line 7: “There is space, there is an honest _______"