National Poetry Month

Poet of the Day – Ashley Memory

National Poetry Month April 4, 2020

Ashley Memory

Phalaenopsis
For Becky
 
My window is framed
by a jabot of white blossoms
each petal stained with drops
of red-violet ink.
 
People walking by gasp with delight
or is it surprise that someone so silly
and disorganized would own
such a perfect thing?
 
What they don’t see is what I know:
in the wild forest of my life
there now dwells a rogue
symmetry.
 
A gift, said a co-worker
for what I considered to be
the smallest of favors.
 
I think people are like
orchids, delicate and brave
giving back in beauty
what we give them in
kindness.
 
This poem was first published in Pinesong 2015 and Waiting for the Wood Thrush, November 2019, by Finishing Line Press

1. What inspired you to write this poem?

A co-worker named Becky. She brought me a lovely orchid one day out of gratitude for something I did for her. The favor was so small that I couldn’t even remember what I did to earn it! It made me reflect on how powerful and enduring even the smallest gestures can be, causing me to follow through on simple acts of kindness more often, like writing a poem for someone.

2. What do you like about this poem?

The brevity of it, I have to say. I am a narrative poet by instinct, due to the fact that I also write essays and fiction, and I am proud of myself when I manage to pull off any poem less than 60 lines.

3. What would you change about this poem?

I wish I had added a dedication to my friend Becky! I didn’t do this initially because I had submitted it to a competition and I feared that a dedication might make it too personal for them to publish the poem. But it did end up winning second prize and was published in Pinesong 2015 and in my poetry collection, Waiting for the Wood Thrush, on November 2019 by Finishing Line Press. For the first time, shame on me, I’ve added the dedication to the version you see above.

4. Where, when, and how often do you write?

Every day from 7 a.m.- 9 a.m., or sometimes longer, like today. As long as the muse graces me with her presence.

5. What poetry books are you reading right now?

Tea and Other Assorted Poems by Ruth Moose, Delights & Shadows by Ted Kooser, and I’m always thumbing through Jane Kenyon’s Collected Poems. Her work is positively evergreen.

Waiting for the Wood Thrush by Ashley Memory

Picture of Ashley Memory