November 22, 2009

Sacred Places With Stephen Dunn

I chose this month's poem for our prompt from a collection of Stephen Dunn's poetry because I like what he is doing with that word sacred.

If you look up "sacred" in the dictionary, the etymology is Middle English, from sacren, meaning to consecrate, from Anglo-French sacrer, and ultimately from Latin sancire, to make sacred. Definitions will include: dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity; worthy of religious veneration; holy and entitled to reverence and respect.

But that's not what is happening in the classroom of Dunn's poem "The Sacred."

I also like that the poem is set in a classroom where I have spent so many years, and inside a lesson that I probably have taught.

The teacher asks a serious and probably too personal a question. Does he expect an honest answer?  Maybe. Maybe not. But he gets ones from the most serious student.

At first, you might think his sacred place - his car - is a joke answer, but he defends his choice well. So well, that the other students feel safe enough to talk about their own sacred places.

Do you have a sacred place or did you have one as a child?

That is the November 2009 prompt for Poets Online.


  1. Interesting idea, Ken. My grandparents (maternal) lived on the outskirts of Sherwood Forest in a former rectory. It's a place that will never leave me.

  2. Oh no, it's December 31st and with the holidays here, I bet a lot of us won't make the deadline of today. Any chance you can extend it to match the other deadline (of the winter haiku)?

  3. Anonymous,
    You sound like my students.
    Sure - take until January 3 - BUT you better submit something good, Anon!


    Happy New Year!

  4. BTW, I can't update the prompt web page because the new one is ready to be uploaded, so it will still show the Dec. 31 deadline.
    Only blog readers will be in the know...


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