Report on my progress through the Poetry Month Scout Badges continues. “Their Testimony” was written in response to the “Interloper” prompt. The goal was to go to a public speech (preferrably something specialized and unfamiliar to the writer). I fudged a bit by taking notes at my church – during the sermon and during the presentation for adult education. Both presentations were related to the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19.
Based on the editor's response to others (on Facebook), I suspect they would consider this choice “cheating”. I feel very at home at my church, for one thing, and “April 19” has meaning and familiarity to anyone who has lived in Oklahoma for more than a few years. In fact, there's Reflections of April 19, 1995 linked immediately to your left.
The handbook warned writers many of these prompts would push our comfort level. The thought of being in a strange place, among strangers, was way beyond my comfort level. So, I strove to honor the spirit of the prompt – the words and phrases of the poem come entirely from the two presentations offered at my church on April 12.