Tag Archive | writing poetry

NaPoWriMo: Not Just Late But Dead In The Water

I have fallen so far behind on my poem a day schedule that I’m likely to end up with something more like a “National Poetry Writing Week and A Half.” But I’m promising myself that I will step it up and get back on the horse: more mixed metaphors anyone?

So I go back to the prompt for, what, Day 7, a day I did actually write a mental poem based on the daily prompt, if 3 words can be considered a poem. The prompt was to write a love poem to an inanimate object. I rejected the idea–of course, because rejecting ideas is so much easier than letting them challenge one.

But perhaps Stephen Fry was right on the “bet you can’t watch just one” quiz show, QI, when he said that science has shown that people make the best decisions and think the fastest when they are most desperate to take a whiz. Yes, I was heading into the bathroom at a rather tidy pace when the “love poem to an inanimate object” came to me. With my apologies to scientists everywhere for calling this “fast thinking,” the love poem whose title far outweighs its contents:

To My Greatest Love, Welcoming Me At The Door Each Evening

Amo

Amas

A mat.

NaPoWriMo: Too late, too late; no time, no time!!

Sunday. Isn’t that supposed to be a day of rest? Apparently not for a Jewish-Taoist because I was running most of the day. For good purpose. My late afternoon QiGong class was attended by lovely people who needed the unwinding at the end of the day: a woman who works with dementia patients; another who is caregiver to a dying husband. So, I return fulfilled but with no time to write. At least not a full poem. So instead, I give you a fragment, a beginning of a poem that I hope to continue later.

Awake, shutter slats become a counting game;

A shadowbox of light now frames

Silhouettes of clutter on a dresser top:

Isis statue, cufflink, single sock.

 

That’s all folks. Rough draft of a partial poem. Second line is not what I wrote in my head last night while awake so I’ll have to try to dredge the better line back out.

As a sop bonus, the beginning of “The Ballad of Me and Mike”

It was quiet in the coffeeshop when the man came in the door:

Unimpressive figure with his eyes fixed on the floor.

Mike and I were transfixed by a Vogue ad Laboutine.

“If he could just be shot,”  Mike frowned, “I think it would be grand.”

“I doubt such luck for fashion.” Said I, turning to page four.

 

NaPoWriMo Day 4: Prompt-ly

I didn’t think I’d be prompted by NaPoWriMo’s daily prompts but, indeed, today’s I especially like: writing a “lune,” a three line stanza reminiscent of haiku but not forcing our non-syllabic language into syllabic form so natural for Japanese. Instead of the 5-7-5 syllable count, lune uses a 3-5-3 word count. And since that reminds me a bit of Wallace Stevens’ poem, a slant allusion to the red wheelbarrow.

 

A Lune to A Lover

Intent, breathless,  I’m

Like a child first seeing

a red wagon.

 

Little_girl_in_red_wagon_by_eyenoticed

 

NaPoWriMo Day 3: A Descent Into Silly

IMG_0086Back to my original plan of dabbling in forms, rhymes, rhythms, poetics.

While an appreciator of limericks, I–quite simply–suck at them. I can never get the saucy air, the lilt that carries the reader along line to line hanging off the side of the horse, as it were. But I need to write one so let’s see what nastiness ensues. Since this blog is generally dealing with meditation, Qi, Taoist themes, I’m going for a very nonliteral Buddhist limerick.

 

There once was a young monk from Jaipur

With robes such bright orange you would die for.

        But they needed a clean

        And while in the machine

Turned so pink, he was now just an eyesore.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Why Write If You Can’t Write Anything Nice

Public Domain

NaPoWriMo: Day 1. Oh, grand. I’m supposed to write a poem a day in April and I’m already out of ideas. But that never stopped me before. So I’m going to start with a short rhymed–abacadaea–piece about something I heard listening to an audio of a Alexander McCall Smith story the other day. Is it true that W.H. Auden never put a space after his commas? I haven’t tried to confirm but it’s a lovely story.

Auden, I’ve heard, never left a space

After the comma; never a pulse

After the pause. Why no trace

Of breath where breath is signified?

Was he bidding us hurry, to race

On to his next thought, his next image:

Calling on the lagging reader to embrace

His poem as he did, flying from typewriter

To page, dissonant jazz beat, staccato grace.

And yes, I did leave spaces after my commas. Mama didn’t raise me to be a copy-cat.

So, Day 1, mutilated and done.

“The time has come, the walrus said…”

Public Domain Reprint

Public Domain Reprint

Eve of NaPoWriMo. Poetry exercises done: 0. Ah, yes, the cruelest month, indeed.

My favorite book on writing poetry came from an unexpected source. I’ve been a fan of Stephen Fry since he and Hugh Laurie did their sketch comedy show on BBC and can’t read P.G. Wodehouse without his voice as Jeeves. But when I picked up a book called “The Ode Less Traveled,” I wasn’t linking the author’s name with either of those. Stephen Fry. Yes, it sounded a tad familiar but…Well, gosh dang it (as Rich Hall might say on QI, the Stephen Fry quiz show that I’m so hooked on as to not accomplish anything in my break time), the author is indeed that Stephen Fry. And I can hear his voice once again on every page.

“Ode” is not just a book about poetry or writing poetry but an exhortation to write poetry and play with poetic form–with “poetics,” in fact, the figures of speech, rhymes, rhythms. His exercises prod you to just put words on paper: but words in order, words that may rhyme or not, words that fit into the gallop of tetrameter or the Victorian flow of pentameter. And if they’re junk, well, so what. They’re your junk.

So…in that spirit. A short bit of iambic pentameter to prepare for April 1 and “a poem a day.”

The practice must begin with lines of stress

Pentameter must come before the rhyme

Let beats of rhythm pound within the breast

The planning out to come before the crime.