It’s a new month! In celebration of this, I have set myself a challenge of writing in 15 different poetic forms, spending 2 days on each one. Last month’s challenge was flowers, and I really enjoyed it, especially since I learned a great deal about the flowers themselves in the process.
Here is a list of the poetic forms that I will be writing to:
Most of these I have played with before, but some are new to me. Elegy in particular I suspect will push me far outside my comfort zone.
June 1’s offering is up on the Instagram, if you’d like to read it. If you are inspired and choose to join me in this journey, please tag me! #thepoetrypatio on Instagram or in some other clever way here on WordPress.
Thank you for reading! Here’s to an inspiring summer!
At dawn my family rose again to cluster at tables where I rushed to serve them: goblets and plates, verdant with half frozen leaves, little cups of rich sauce.
My fever to please and nourish burned in confused footsteps ankle-weighed, nearly drowned in my own inexperience I sought their dear faces and found complaint.
Aunts and Uncles, Grandparents, reunited in dingy chairs I did them more disservice than waiting aid
The old life dredged before my eyelids, subconscious passion play at the edge of slumber reminded of what thoughts plagued my heart when I laid me down, lips silent but entreating for some answer
So they arrived with their wise liquid eyes to pierce my soul in all their wisdom to illuminate the folly of my days all strung together, the beads on which I pray
Was it sleep, when these ancestors braved to part the veil, delivering an almighty reply past and present uniting future, as it is now and ever shall be
Was it a dream or was I at last without knowing it fully awake, in their presence, did they bring me the elixir finally to be fully alive?
I wrote this poem for another competition, again with the Poetry Society, (and again unsuccessful), in conjunction with their celebration of Keats. I read The Eve of St Agnes aloud to my daughter, had a significant dream, and wrote this. Thank you for reading!
Beguiled by an ad in the back of a magazine (I *think* it was Poetry Magazine) I decided to enter The Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition. I didn’t win, of course; supposedly they read every single entry (unlike some other competitions, I have noticed), and just having a stranger read a poem of mine was enough of a win for me. I knew I didn’t have any chance of even getting a nod – well, maybe about as much chance as having a polite knock at the door answered when there’s already a raging party going on inside – but I still wanted to enter, because why not? Also the fringe benefit is that I now receive their excellent quarterly magazine, which so far has been packed with stunning writing.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive the above little anthology book of all the winners and “commended” with the latest issue! I never expected to be able to read a print copy; I figured it would just be online. High 5 for keeping print alive, y’all!
Since my entry was thus, officially, deader than a doornail most definitely not successful in the competition, I figure I am now free to share the poems that I entered. One I will keep back, because it’s part of a larger project that I am holding close to my chest.
The other poem is even closer than a secret held close in a pocket next to my heart, because it’s about my Dad, who suffered a very serious stroke in May 2020. It’s officially been a year, now. I present it to you now with a photograph of him I made in September 2020, when he was at my house for / on my birthday.
He has seen things he wants to tell us but the words won’t come they get hung up on the way out snagged on the bits of wire holding his thinker together He’s seen everything in a way: birth, death the rolling waves of time life from above and below some of it we were even there for He lives again, now, in snatches of memory in the garbled mess that the stroke left behind I see him, seeing me. His fear leaps out through the windows to his soul.
Thank you for reading!
Have you entered any poetry competitions? If the answer is yes: YAY for you, for doing it! How did it go? If you didn’t “succeed” (aka win, because honestly just entering is success in my book), will you try, try again?
From the silence of the desert night someone shook coyote awake with all his yips and yowls his eye glinted in the moonlight
Someone shook coyote awake so she gathered her sisters and came for me their eyes glinted, seeking moonlight they roused me with their song
The gathered sisters came for me beaconing beneath the scattered stars they roused me with their song that bore up through me, awake and alive
Beaconing beneath the scattered stars they welcomed me to join their dance They bore me along with them, alive with the scent of the night and musky limbs
They welcomed me to join the dance that shook coyote wide awake with the scent of night and musky limbs our eyes glinted together in the moonlight
Susan Wooldridge, in her amazing book Poemcrazy, has a section on “Awakening Coyote.” That, along with our many camping trips to the deserts of the American Southwest, was the genesis for this pantoum poem. I had a blast writing to that section of the book! I wrote several, which I will share in bits and pieces. . . . .
If I sent you a postcard from the Tuileries a real old-fashioned lick-stamp affair
(and of course it’s an affair because what is Paris if not a torrid attack of all-consuming passion? a head-over-heels reel into a May to September ocean of bliss? a ravishing of the senses, like a deep ruby pour of Burgundy scented with chocolate and truffled roses, the stomach-butterfly bubble of champagne that comes with the anticipation of kisses?)
If I sent you this postcard purchased with francs I would write about the man who charmed birds to perch on his fingertips and shoulders, the crush of the Louvre, the echoing holy ring of the sisters’ voices at Sacre Coeur, des apéritifs, des escargots, the bowls of café au lait, and the time a woman mistook me for a native – however that happened! – it was a little touch of grace that I would gladly send you if I could only find a carte postale big enough to grip it in its beak and fly it across the sea
My friends at Shabd Aaweg recently had a month of writing prompts for National Poetry Month. Paris Postcard was one of them. I didn’t manage to share this poem while they had the prompts going for entry, so here it is, now, for you! Who else loves Paris?
Recently, my friend Shawna wrote on her Instagram about how she had to temporarily give up coffee. Shawna has four kiddos, and she homeschools, so you can imagine with what trepidation she was facing this sacrifice. I read her post right about the time I was making my own daily cup, and the combo inspired me to try out the new-to-me ode form in honor of the delectable devilish concoction so many of us adore. Shawna, and everybody, this is for you!
Oh hallowed nectar, rich and capped in white! Strongest cup of daily refuge, I love the bright aroma from the centrifuge that grinds your beans down fine with motored might. Your honeyed drip, much anticipated by old and young alike: they start the hike from dawn til dusk with sleep deprived minds abated. A morning out of whack, set right by java black, or servings downright huge. Mine I take with milk and sugar, sweetness adding to the deluge of caffeine’s jolting spur, but however it might arrive, we all agree, to some degree, it helps keep us alive.
Tropical fruit, lovingly picked by hand, prize of Cancer and Capricorn, gift of the land, of the valley or hillside born. Fair trade helps farmers make a stand for their commodity so highly sought. From plant to roaster bound, then freshly ground, the whole production battle is a fight well fought. What kind of brew today? For here, or take away? A klatch is gaily formed where avid fans come together with music. Hanging out’s the norm no matter the weather, in fact, the greyer the better: we stay all day, we chat and play, to the cafe tethered.
How we revere the skill of baristas, turning cups of joe into art. Mona Lisas, whose sly smiles always hit the mark. Students, housewives, even fashionistas come pay homage at their bar-like altars. Espresso lovers know what pressure shows: a well run machine’s elixir never falters. The very best of them become our first-name friends, tending us, heart to heart, like doctors with shots of caffeine, they understand our weaker parts and what addiction means. Craftsmen, painting pictures in foam, they serve us well, and live to tell customer quirks at home.
Delicious grail of warmth, disguised as fuel, daily ritual well cherished, both kind and cruel. Too much of you is nightmarish, still we seek you out for our renewal. The process alone helps get us going: the anticipation of elation, while suspicions of dependency are growing. The morning starts with haste for your nostalgic taste, where the cobwebs perish. Sure, we could give you up, but why start the day cranky and bearish instead of feeling spry? As long as you can wake us up, gentle lover, like no other, with you we’ll fill our cup.
the room, well-dressed with meticulously tall, thin, angular eyes like a thunderbird seated
oil and emery prepare a seal, drilling that it might be smoothed
The golden glance, dusty, held high to visit the design suspect engagingly far (away)
Low the days for Babylon, strange as an envoy of peace seemed
Low, the days
Our local library prepared a number of black-out poetry kits for locals to take and try, in honor of National Poetry Month. I had been meaning to play with this technique for a long time, but it took my daughter noticing the free kits for it to finally happen. I’ve doctored the words a little to help it make sense. . . . I’m still not sure how much it really helps, but I’m sharing the result with you anyway!
Have you tried black-out poetry? Are you a pro at it? I would love to see some examples!
Check out what writer Christopher J. Luna doeswith this kind of poetry, plus cutting and pasting and collaging and generally making brilliant things with words!
The backyard glows like an emerald, the leaves are gemstones in a dark forest, reflecting the dying light of the rain, while the wet wood of bark and fence posts offers no bite, just molders away with a mushroom aura, anticipating the decaying gloom.
Earlier a rabbit hopped through the soft marsh of the grass searching, investigating, hopeful
They aren’t leaves, they are drops of jade, and peridot, shining above a glade of malachite blades, while the topaz sky lowers its skirts into a sapphire sea
If this poem seems somewhat derivative, it is: a couple of days ago I purposely wrote a poem after Pablo Neruda (whose writing I adore), so I had the names of gemstones still lingering in my brain. These words will be included in my Camp NaNo Project . . . . I *think*. Like everything else in life, it remains a work in progress!
Thank you for reading! If you feel like writing something about how your own little patch of the earth looks in the evening after it rains, I would love to read it!
With sunshine and grace you present your joyful face to brighten this place
Nourished by autumn the seeds wait in secret hope for the coming spring
In storm the showers of restorative powers: the earth re-flowers
And bees run the race a buzz of furious pace through the garden space
So much more than commonplace far too wild to be encased in a vase Leave them for the wind to chase til time gathers all in its sweet embrace
This poem is in response to a prompt fromRDW World , who for a year nowhas had a 365 prompt project going that he then publishes into books. Personally I think what he has been doing is terrific, not only for the community he’s built but also for the opportunity he gives writers to be published in an anthology that you can hold in your hand!
I put the first haiku stanza on my Instagram, and am sharing the entire piece here. Thank you for reading!