Tuesday, April 10, 2018

April National Poetry Month: Great and Small, A Charm That Fails, Identity Confusion, and Grazing Rights for Local Deer

It's still April (barely one week down), National Poetry Month, and the creative ordeal of attempting to write a new poem every day is in full swing. Here are the prompts and poems for the dates of April 6 to April 9. 
         It's still Tuesday, April 10, as I write... and I'm not done with Tuesday yet. 
 
4.9 The prompt from National Poetry Writing Month: "We challenge you today to write a poem in which something big and something small come together. Happy writing!" 


Orders of Magnitude

Sunlight on the solstice
Seeds on the window sill

The big star in the biggest show
A cosmic eye unblinking
from a universal glow

Uncurling fuzz in a speck of lint
A single tiny leaf unfurls, new life
in the firmament

Galaxies escaping, targets of Apollo's bow
Underground they're stretching,
cinders burning slow

The light that shows us nothing:
High noon above illusion
A root that clings to a grain of dust

A second leaf unveils belief
And vanquishes confusion





4.8 The prompt: Take a leaf from Shelley’s essay "In Defense of Poetry," and write a poem in which mysterious and magical things occur. Your poem could take the form of a spell, for example, or simply describe an event that can’t be understood literally."
           My response was to write a poem in which nothing magical occurred and the only spell was cast long before.
 

            Unchosen

            We sat by the dock
            And spoke not of love
            Not a voice from the rock
            or a star from above

            Since the day you departed
            And left us all behind
            Your tracks I have followed, 
            And I'm all that you'll find

            You left without reason,
            or worry or care
            Spring was your season
            Thick was your hair

            I found you by the harbor there
            With neither reason nor a care
            And whether you would stay or go
            Is something I should never know

            Would you slip into the harbor stream
            Or vanish like a midnight's dream?
            Or go with me if ask I would
            But in my heart I never could

            I never had the polar star
            To guide where love was understood
            I never trusted you nor fate
            We walked a road but never far

            The water hushed, the evening late
            Your shadow fled to homeward gate
            I chose that I would never choose
            And having lost would never lose.






4.7 The prompt. "Write out a list of all of your different layers of identity. Now divide all of those things into lists of what makes you feel powerful and what makes you feel vulnerable. Now write a poem in which one of the identities from the first list contends or talks with an identity from the second list."
         I followed the prompt and ended up with this poem. 
 
Who's that? Who's asking?

They asked, so I said I was a writer
Don't ask me who "they" are, I've already forgotten
I don't have time for those details,
how to pay the bills, read directions, buy medicines

You're getting old, face it,
the aging man in the mirror said
If you don't have time now, when will you?
Pay attention to your declining days, to me

You're nobody. I'm the one they'll remember.
You live only in the surface land of pictures
But what was he really like? That's what they'll ask
They'll look at the poems. The stories.

You'll disappear. You're fading already.
Look at your hair, your mustache
Who's the graybeard? Live these days:
today, this week. It's all you ever have.

All the more reason to get back to it.
I build my ship of death
With every tap of the keys
My brain finds breath.

You're not listening.
Don't build that ship any faster
than you have to. You won't be happy
when it's launched.
Who gets the last word here?
I'm the one who writes the tale.

But the plot was written long ago,
And the ending's getting stale.






4.6 The prompt for this date called, rather simply, for writing poem of varied line lengths.

Long Lines, Short Thoughts: Deer Me!

O, Deer
Look who's here
April's mixed-up foolish fortunes have brought us this surprise,
this gift of the seasons.
Their coming cloaked by the late wet snow
that disguised our backyard garden as habitat
painted us the colors of woodland green
As I watch, the tips of those chevroned jaws
nibble the green vines,
the plush viburnum.
The thick interwoven vine and branch of the fence-clinging piebald euonymus
draw nibble after nibble. Two tawny beasts, half-tamed by proximity
strain our vines with their ungulate teeth
I am happy this plant has grown so thick
that to feed the erratic spring hunger of the beasts of the wildwood gardens
leaves no scar.
Take, eat,
of the grasses, the vines, the layered English ivy, the prickled holly,
the stolid drab of the winter-clad arborvitae,
the myrtle seeking to climb a hank of wire fence
the carpet vinca crowding thatch-roofed over the stony path.
Two grown, but fawn-like creatures, gentles of the land, the class of their kind,
cleft-toed, soft-lipped, doe-eyed, grazing in green places
we have woven from earth.

For more information about National Poetry Writing Month see  http://www.napowrimo.net/