Poetry Month Challenges Day 22: Sadness and Satisfaction

Sadness in Satisfaction by Maria L. Berg 2023

Sadness & Satisfaction

Satisfaction has two different meanings. It can be a feeling of contentment, fulfillment, or gratification. But it can also be the opportunity to redress or right a wrong; or compensation for a wrong or injury. In this way satisfaction is tied to revenge. Its relationship to sadness—distress caused by loss, affliction, disappointment; grief, sadness, or regret—is a complicated one.

In Kant’s Perpetual Peace, he sees this relationship as necessary for humans to reach their potential:

Man’s will is for harmony; but nature knows better what is good for his species: her will is for dissension. He would like a life of comfort and satisfaction, but nature wills that he should be dragged out of idleness and inactive content and plunged into labour and trouble, in order that he may be made to seek in his own prudence for the means of again delivering himself from them. The natural impulses which prompt this effort,— the causes of unsociableness and mutual conflict, out of which so many evils spring,— are also in turn the spurs which drive him to the development of his powers.

Immanuel Kant

Today’s Images

To find the satisfaction in sadness and the sadness in satisfaction, I hung a blue light curtain that I bought at the new year but haven’t used much. I asked myself what shapes, lines, and points would bring me satisfaction through sadness and pain, and I thought of Morse Code. I drew Morse Code of “Sad,” “Ease,” and “Pain” on clear plastic and used them with blotch and brush shapes. I found satisfaction in the results.

Satisfaction in Sadness by Maria L. Berg 2023

The Prompts


Today’s prompt is to find an Emily Dickinson poem – preferably one you’ve never previously read – and take out all the dashes and line breaks. Make it just one big block of prose. Now, rebreak the lines. Add words where you want. Take out some words. Make your own poem out of it!

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is a title prompt “What (blank)”

Today’s prompts seemed to me to lend themselves to trying a couple more Nonce forms for the Nonce Scavenger Hunt. I started with Emily Dickinson’s poem 178 “I cautious, scanned my little life—.” First I tried the DoReMiDo, then I made an attempt at an American Paragraph.

The Poem

What Sadness in Satisfaction

I cautious spy
my little life
I winnow fate
by satisfy

till Heads laid still
should be dreaming
what fades blew; lasts
fill the Barn’s mill

One winter dawn
my dear hay gone
and from farmer
done cynic won

Thief or wind’s grief
my job to find
so I ransack
brief Love’s relief

What Satisfaction in Sadness

I cautious, scanned my little life, winnowed what would fade from what would last.
Till heads are dreaming, put the latter in a barn; the former, flittered.
And lo my dear hay was not upon the scaffold nor upon the beam.
And from a thriving farmer, in my anger, a cynic I became.
Whether a thief did it, or whether it was the wind, I need to know!
I ransack, and wonder if you’re in the little barn Love made for you.

4 thoughts on “Poetry Month Challenges Day 22: Sadness and Satisfaction

  1. Maria these are so good! I’m not a big Emily D. fan but your interpretation and reinvention of her poem makes me want to take another look! I once had a writing exercise where we had to write a Haiku and rewrite it in about 10 different forms. It was quite the challenge. Doing this one in both the DoReMeDo and American Paragraph is amazing!!

    Liked by 1 person

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