Leavings: NaPoWriMo 4/19 2020



Do I walk the long kilometers of beach
to look for the next shell
or stand stable, like that woman
casting and recasting her hook,
patiently waiting to pull her world in to her?

I’m gathering things
that I’ll collect into stories–
pinning them down to use like words.
Nothing wrong in finding meaning
through a piece of driftwood, a stone or shell.
Objects are only things
we cast our minds against
like images against a screen—
a shadow glimpsed crossing a window shade.

My shadow cast in front of me
is such a different thing
from one I cast behind.
In the first, I am constantly hurrying
to catch up to what I’ll never catch up to.
In the other, I am leaving behind
what I can only keep by walking away from it.

I take this place along with me in clear images–
not as they were, but as my mind has cast them;
so every picture taken of the same moment is different,
each of us seeing it through our unique lens.
We cast these things in bronze or silver-gelatin,
stone, clay or poetry.
A grandma holds out pictures of her children
and her grandchildren. See? Her life’s work.
And then this and this, without further effort on her part.

I share stories of children I don’t know
who gently unwind fishing line from a struggling gull,
of a minefield of jellyfish found on the beach
or other treasures nestled in a pile of kelp.
I find my world in both these findings and departings—
the leaving each morning to go in search of them
the part I find most exhilarating,
perhaps teaching this woman
of the death-themed night-terrors
not to worry,
that leaving is just a new adventure.

People forget and let me slip away
when I would have held on, given any encouragement,
yet fingers, letting go,
flex for that next discovered treasure.

Life is all of us letting go constantly—
taking that next step away from and to.
A white shell. I have left it there
turned over to the brown side,
so someone else can discover it, too.


The NaPoWriMo prompt today was to take a walk and collect objects to turn into a poem.

13 thoughts on “Leavings: NaPoWriMo 4/19 2020

  1. Eilene Lyon

    This is beautiful, Judy. What we gather as we move through life, what we toss when something new catches our eye. The striving to reach for things beyond our grasp. It all adds up to a life lived. Cool photo of the poor beached jellyfish.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Blue

    Hey Judy, I thought this was really beautiful and it’s interesting how both our work ended up being about past and future reflections. Very well done. I’m proud of you girlfriend. Blue


  3. TooFullToWrite

    Judy, this is a very lovely poem, extremely deep, poignant and insightful the way you wistfully move us from remembrance for things past into acceptance and embracing brand new adventures by letting go of the past as well! I notice that you have written other impressive motivational poems the month in April, including two other favourites of mine ‘Gifts’ and ‘Poetic Inspiration’.

    I have an inspirational poetry journal called “Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal” that has just published its third issue and we are running a special NaPoWriMo Anthology issue for inspirational poems written in NaPoWriMo 2020. If you are interested in submitting any of the wonderful poems of yours that I just mentioned above (including Leavings) into our NaPoWriMo Anthology for publication then you can find more details below. We are also open to regular submissions all year round as well for inspirational poetry submissions.


    Hope you take the time to check us out, I’m sure our readers would love to get a chance to enjoy reading your poetry 🙂

    David Ellis


    1. lifelessons Post author

      David, I submitted poems but hit the pay now before I did the submissions and before I saw that I needed to submit in a different place for the NaPoWriMo edition. I also seem to have shorted you $1 as I submitted 6 poems. How do I pay you the extra dollar? Sorry for complicating the process.. Judy

      Liked by 1 person

      1. TooFullToWrite

        Hi there Judy. Thank you for submitting to Auroras & Blossoms, I really appreciate it. We are unable to process an additional $1 reading fee separately. We also cannot accept too many poems from one poet into the Anthology. Since your reading fee covers three poems, can you let me know which three poems you would like us to consider for submission and potential inclusion into our NaPoWriMo Anthology? Cheers. David


        1. lifelessons Post author

          Hi David. I didn’t think that you’d accept 6 for publication–it’s just that the submission form allowed to submit that many and I thought you’d choose the one you liked best from the 6. Why don’t you just choose from “Leavings,” “Gifts” and “Every Flower,” unless you disallow “Leavings” because it is a rewrite of an earlier poem. If so, consider “Poetic Inspiration” in its place. Sorry for the confusion. Big job ahead of you. Judy



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