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transitions

May 13, 2010 Leave a comment

I was saddened recently when I saw the announcement that readwritepoem, a poetry community blog that I have participated in over the last few years, was shutting down. Some of my best poems (or at least some of my favorites) came in response to readwritepoem’s weekly prompts, and the comments from readers who found my blog via readwritepoem were always supportive, appreciative, and constructive. And of course reading the works of other poets, seeing how the same prompt could lead to an amazing variety of end results, was inspiring.

So I was really really happy today to discover that one of the leaders of readwritepoem has started up Big Tent Poetry as a community blog to carry on the weekly prompts, with the prompt posted on Mondays and the invitation to post poems on that prompt posted on Fridays. I missed last week’s inaugural prompt but this week’s prompt seems right up my alley, so look for my first BTP poem tomorrow!

Update (May 14, 2010) This week’s theme was “listening to language” and I thought this old poem of mine would fit the topic well, since it is all about the sounds, not meaning.

poem: their journey withered

October 22, 2009 11 comments

heron’s cry —
in the falling darkness
two blossoms

autumn thunder, evening
a branch trembles
as crow goes wandering
the petals alight
on mountain snow

heat-faded remains of daffodils,
their journey withered
in inches

Snow comes early in the mountains, but dried flower petals retain the memory of summer’s heat. And everything has its own journey to make, whether long or short.

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 giving up control, writing a poem by pulling randomly from a bag of words that had been cut up from a different source — another poem, a newspaper article, or even a memo from the boss at work :-).

I randomly selected words from some of my favorite haiku from Basho. Here they are as I pulled them from the bag (highlighting the phrases that I used for my poem):

heron’s cry falling darkness two blossoms field echo lightning above nightfall temple autumn thunder evening branch trembles wandering goes crow petal alights mountain snow leaves shimmering heat faded remain daffodils journey withered inches dead silence one into perfect fragrant enough waterfall’s rose barely dried bells sick first bend dream grass stabs

Then all I did was add some line breaks and a few tweaks for grammar. If you are going to try to make a poem from words pulled from a bag, you could do worse than starting with Basho’s words!

(You can read other poets’ submissions on the theme at the readwritepoem blog too.)

poem: unlike things

April 14, 2009 10 comments

simile: a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced by like or as.
metaphor: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them.
— Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

life is like a simile
i compare yours to mine
pretending they should be the same
why aren’t you more like me?

life is a metaphor
if i see the world through your eyes
if i walk a mile in your shoes
who will meet me when i arrive?

life is a deep snow-covered hillside pasture
at twilight as the first stars appear,
where dozens of laughing dogs leap and run in circles
with sparklers

April is National Poetry Month, and on the ReadWritePoem blog  a bunch of poets more dedicated than me :-) have taken on the challenge of writing a poem-a-day for the whole month — check it out!

poem: desert sky circles

March 23, 2009 12 comments

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desert sky circles:
sunset’s red rainbow beckons
as the moon rises

Lost in the desert, Throws-his-words and Fierce Cat heed Raven’s sign, a red rainbow surrounding the rising full moon, that leads them to water. The haiku is how I would write it; here is Throws-his-word’s song:

In the land of hard stones,
In the land of painted giants,
In the land of angry trees,
In the land of parched lips,

Raven, where is the laughing grass?
Raven, where are the sleeping trees?
Raven, where are the deer and the buffalo?
Raven, where are the singing streams?

“Wait for the sunset”, Raven whispers.
“Wait for the moonrise”, Raven whispers.
“Look me in the eye”, Raven whispers.
“See what I see and come to me.”

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 using the first line donated from another poet’s poem. I selected my line from a lovely poem by jone.

(You can read other poets’ submissions on the theme at the readwritepoem blog too. By the way, red rainbows are a real phenomenon, and the one Nancy and I saw during a neighborhood walk last weekend was the inspiration for this poem.)

As part of the prompt, I also donated the first line of one of my own poems, and I was delighted to see how other poets took it and made it their own. Check them out!

poem: face

March 18, 2009 14 comments

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pre-dawn dark silence,
looking at my (almost) face
in the bathroom mirror.
through the washcloth
my hands see more clearly

Is it just me, or maybe it’s because I’m so near-sighted without my glasses, but I know my own face much better by touch than sight. I’ll often get up early in the morning, especially in winter, wash and dress quietly, deliberately, without turning on any lights. It’s a very different place than the everyday world dominated by sight and sound.

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 to write a poem literally in your face. (You can read other poets’ submissions on the theme at the blog too.)