It has been Marie Elena’s and my intention to highlight a poem each from the weekly submissions. The quality of each and every one this week has been exceptional. We both thank you for your enthusiasm and devotion to the propagation of the poetic process. For the first week’s prompt, “It Starts With a Seed,” we have made our selections. Here are our choices for Week 1: 
Marie Elena’s Pick: Catherine Choi Lee’s “A Life of Their Own.”


I found the interpretation of the prompt, and use of metaphor intriguing in this piece. Beginning with the title, the forward movement is steady, each phrase creative and having a voice of its own, and ending with a stunning line that has replayed often in my mind this week: “If only for the lonely sake of extravagance.” Lovely, Catherine.
A LIFE OF THEIR OWN by Catherine Choi Lee

We bury unwanted words
To forget them.
But in the dark
Is stubborn growth,
Unseen movement
Pushing toward
The surface.
Though no witness
May ever see
Their beauty,
They bloom
In secret gardens
Without promise,
If only
For the lonely
Sake of extravagance.

Walt’s Pick: Barbara Yates Young’s “Seeds”.

Barbara had written “Seeds” in four phases, delineating between the stages of development a seed goes through from initial planting, through zygote and bringing the bloom of the seedling to the surface. I chose Barbara’s interpretation of the prompt to be a bit more “out of the flower box” thinking.
SEEDS by Barbara Yates Young

not all seeds are like the maple
swirling in masses
germinating with carney barker ease
and profligate spenders
teenage girls with more credit cards than pennies
oh, look

some only respond to coaxing
warm the soil
like hatching eggs
__or sprained ankles
__wrapped, propped, cosseted
__hot water bottles,
__microwaved buckwheat hulls
for day after day,
not too (much) (little) water
some will not open in the light,
–bashful as shy boys–
or the dark when foul deeds are done

yet others, thriving on judicious mutilation,
keep for one or one thousand winters
expecting to wait out the generation before, sleeping
until their protective youth has worn away or been
burned by rioting fires, or acid intestines; etched off.
watch as the sheen on a red bucket is cut by sand corners,
and imagine a nascent redbud tree

when you came out of the chute raring to get on with it
he, incapable of imbibition, watched his shell change
and hoped to survive the process.