Literary Hook: List poem explores what to give up for Lent

Christine Swanberg
Christine Swanberg

By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet

For some of us, Lent means a time of discipline. Once, when I was trying to figure out what to give up for Lent (and stick to the promise), I was flooded by a list of silly things that either I never had in the first place, or wouldn’t want anyway.

Are you a list-maker? If so, you may be interested to know that a new category of poetry has been emerging — “the list poem.” It can be serious and lyrical. For example, if you were listing the things you loved about someone, i.e., “How do I love Thee? Let me count the ways,” you would probably do so in earnest. However, you can also choose to be satirical and absurd, in which case you might create a silly, though original, piece of writing. Try it. You might enjoy the experience.

This poem is published in The Alleluia Tree, now available at Barnes and Noble, or by calling 888-books98.

This Year for Lent

I’m giving up.

I’m giving up Brad Pitt,

George Clooney,

in fact, the entire cast

of Ocean’s Infinitum.

I’m giving up smelt,

horehound drops,

spam-scrambled eggs,

Belfast, and Gary, Ind.;

TV evangelists,

male enzyme enhancement,

multi-tasking, and cuckholding.

Yep, I’m giving up.

I’m giving up Tupperware,

Avon, Salad Shooter,

French nails and AstroTurf,

Naugahide, Colonial furniture,

and Hummels; escargot,

Kashi, and farm-fed shrimp.

Yes, I’m giving up.

I’m giving up pretending

to like Starbuck’s coffee,

that I don’t watch television,

and that I understand square feet.

I’m giving up Rush Limbaugh,

both Howard Sterns, and Bill O’Reilly;

ice fishing, rappelling, and hunting;

the expressions “laid back”

and “sucky” and “functionality.”

I’m giving up thongs, Botox,

tanning beds, and liposuction.

You heard it here, folks.

I’m giving up.

Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet. She received the Lawrence E. Gloyd Community Impact Award at the 2012 Rockford Area Arts Council State of the Arts Awards.

Posted March 18, 2014