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poem: Lights of the long-night sky

Lights of the long-night sky
Dance at your laughing, whirling dance.

They’ve leapt up from their dark-frozen waters,
Greeting you in song, sisters to sister,
While you as if waking from sleep, shook
Off your buffalo cloak and joined their bright cold dance.

They’ve waited for you in brooding patience, dreaming of
Your fierce love and your gentle anger, longing for you
Through long summer years
Until you came at last to their cold, sharp, dark lodges.

They sing just to you,
Help you to dance
Your wildness.

They look out at me from the sheen
Of your dark eyes, bright and jealous.

. . .

Now you lie on an icebound boulder, panting and laughing,
And ask yourself if
They know only cold bright dances or dark lonely songs.
You pull me over to you into a buffalo robe together

Until they fall
Into silence.

This poem is Throws-his-words’ song about the first night that he and Fierce Cat spent under the winter Northern Lights in their long westward journey. (Who are Throws-his-words and Fierce Cat? Read their story, and other songs by Throws-his-words.)

I linked this poem to the readwritepoem blog, where there is a weekly poetry “prompt” inviting people to submit poems on a new theme each week. This week’s theme was collaborative, to write a poem built on the bare bones of another poet’s poem. (You can read other poets’ submissions on the theme at the blog too.)

I took as my inspiration this set of bare bones:

Lights of __________
________ at your _________,

they’ve _______________
________ you _________
while you ____________
off the___________,

they’ve ____________
your __________ and
____________ with you
on ____________
until you ___________.

They ___________ you,
help you to ___________
your ____________.

They __________ sheen
of your ________________.

Now you lie on a _____________
and ask yourself if
they _____________ or
_______ you into a __________,

until they ___________
into ________________.

provided by Christine from her original poem Lights of Mantras. I only read her original poem after finishing mine, and I really encourage you to read it and the story behind it. For me this collaborative process was fascinating and fun, and it led me to a poem/story for Throws-his-words and Fierce Cat that I would never have found on my own, and yet which feels so right for them.

As part of the prompt, I also provided the skeleton of one of my own poems that I wrote last year. Seeing how other poets took my poem’s bare bones and made them their own was delightful. Check them out!

(Picture credit: Bud Kuenzli on APOD)

  1. August 24, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Wonderful! You truly have morphed these words into something totally yours, completely unique. The images of the dancing, the night, a sort of tribal, shamanistic feel, are very vivid and moving. Thanks for sharing this with me!

  2. August 25, 2008 at 5:47 am
  3. August 25, 2008 at 10:22 am

    what makes it so great is that you did make the poem yours, and it is a beautiful story.

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