Welcome to this month’s poetry classroom, with poet and professor Todd Davis. We invite you to respond to the poems we’ll share here—their forms, images, sounds, meanings, surprises—ask questions of Todd and each other, and write your own poems along the way.
Dona Nobis Pacem
The moon grows from nothing to a porcelain sliver.
The cat bloodies her feet against the screen chasing moths.
Our children sleep in the rooms above while I drag a cloth
across the red petals the cat leaves on the kitchen floor.
I join you in the bed of this passing hour, knowing
porcelain will again sift through the screen, and, again,
moths will flood to it: light cut by their beating wings,
which come morning our children will find in pieces.
1. Do a little research if need be. What does “Dona Nobis Pacem” mean? What would you expect from a poem titled as such, even before you read it?
2. Consider the verbs in this poem. What feelings do they give you? How would the poem be different if you substituted verbs (for instance, “pinks” instead of “bloodies”, or “smooths” instead of “drags”, or “fluttering” instead of “beating”?)
3. Now take a look at the images. Do they have anything in common with each other? On the picture level? On the sound level? What do these images make you think of?
Great Teaching or Learning Resource on How to Read a Poem