Sunday, April 07, 2013

April 4

Write 7 small (3-5 lines), disparate poems with a mysterious ending.

If I were a cat
with 9 lives
would I would live eight of them
recklessly?

The trees bend and bow
to each other.
The wind dances with them.
Who plays the violin?

The air hangs heavy as a magician's cape,
full of rabbits and scarves and half-sawn bodies.
Lightning is the severing wand.
What calls forth the magic?

Why does a cat
choose to drink a dirty puddle
when a bowl of clean water
sits just inside the open door?

I would like to wake up
some morning in another world.
Would I crave coffee then
or long to run?

People only see
what we let them see.
In turn we only see
what we allow ourselves
to acknowledge.

How is it
the wind always knows
which way to blow?

April 5

How a poem gets started... 

Start anywhere.
Start with a chair.
Wonder who sat in it
and chipped off, with a fingernail,
a piece of paint shaped like
Michigan.

Did someone sit opposite and drum
his fingers impatiently,
beating a nervous tattoo of sound
on the scarred table?

Why has one chair fallen over?


April 6

Music becomes the metaphor — the notes are boats, the violin forgives, the universe becomes a tambourine played against your thigh.  Go anywhere with this.

combined with

April 7

Write a poem having to do with listening, perhaps a deeper kind of listening, a listening below the words and in beyond the sounds.  Or your poem might simply tell of something heard in the world.

resulted in:

Listening hard, I heard
underneath the unremitting, pounding rain
the dawn-call of a rooster,
and under that the bark of a small dog.
Beneath that a mourning dove spoke,
and then a daffodil opened.
Too soft to hear,
a worm tunneled beneath a blade of grass,
and a cloud's shadow drifted across the yard.

The music of the spheres is a constant,
ever-changing symphony of movement,
of water on earth on rock on air,
like a cricket's wings
rubbing together in the stilly dark.

9 comments:

Brian Miller said...

wow. this is like a chap book...smiles. why do cats drink out of the mud puddle? and i'd def still crave coffee....smiles...can you just imagine the sound of that daffodil opening though...

Out on the prairie said...

I really enjoy when you use the personal experience . Loved all of these, wish I could write as well.I took my first poetry class in 1970.Do you do read alouds anywhere?

Pauline said...

Brian - a chap book is what one ends up with at the end of the month!

OOTP - I read aloud once a month at an open mic night in an artsy fartsy space two towns over. It's great fun.

Molly said...

I love the layering you point out here --- the rain, the rooster call, the dog's bark, the mourning dove, the tunneling worm, and the clouds above it all...Beautiful.

Friko said...

If you were in my writers’ group I’d still be there. These are excellent. I wish my mind would flow like yours.

Do you have advice for me on writing poems?

goatman said...


Wow . . . high school assignments. I loved them.

Spring peepers: where are they and why are they invisible?

Pauline said...

Molly - I like digging beneath the obvious :)

Friko - I'd love to be in your writer's group! Best book I ever read about poetry is called Western Wind by John Frederick Nims and David Mason.

Goatman - the poetry prompts are a bit like assignments, just more fun. As for the peepers, they are out back in my swamp and they're invisible because they're magic...

Judith said...

I absolutely love these.
I'm going to try my hand at translating the first two into French for my French conversation class assignment.
Merci!

Pauline said...

J - I'd love to see them in French! Email them to me?