Tag Archives: poetry

You Take My Hand

 

It is April. National Poetry Month. And though I love poetry all the year round, I am always wishing I wrote more of it come April. It gives me a chance to exercise concision in my word choice. The following poem is a villanelle, which is a structured poem that tightens those rules even further.

Quoting straight from poets.org:

The highly structured villanelle is a nineteen-line poem with two repeating rhymes and two refrains. The form is made up of five tercets followed by a quatrain. The first and third lines of the opening tercet are repeated alternately in the last lines of the succeeding stanzas; then in the final stanza, the refrain serves as the poem’s two concluding lines.

Did you catch all that? No? Maybe you’ll recognize the pattern below, or from a rather famous poem most know, Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas. (You can find the full text of that piece here, though I believe my favorite villanelle is by Sylvia Plath, called Mad Girl’s Love Song.) Continue reading You Take My Hand

Hope and Cottonwood

It’s a curious hope that comes in the spring, in the time of warmer days and ready soil. I plant annuals in their pots, knowing they will only last the season, knowing I will be digging their dead roots out of the planters when the air turns cold. I plant perennials and watch in expectation for their return each year. Is one hope different from the other? Both are rooted in equal amounts of expectation and uncertainty.

There are puffs of cottonwood covering the grass, the deck, the street outside. It rises, falls, rises again and last week I found myself quenched from creative drought suddenly writing a poem about it. I’ve learned not to wait for the muse, but have I trained myself not to answer when it does call? Continue reading Hope and Cottonwood

The Elephant in the Room

I am not sure how to credit this photo.  All clicks led to dead ends. But I think it is perfect.
I am not sure how to credit this photo. All clicks led to dead ends. But I think it is perfect.

Ah, April. Does it mean spring to you? In my neck of the woods it means a weekly you-should-expect-this-by-now sloppy snowstorm. Just last night it was falling fat and fast and even though my heart sunk a little when it started, once I put on my music and started writing I found myself smiling each time I looked out the window.

April is National Poetry Month. I don’t write poetry as often as I once did, but I like to try in April to add some to my writing time.

Billy Collins writes in the poem “Monday” of poets, standing at their windows

“because it is their job for which

they get paid nothing each Friday afternoon.”

I stood at my window plenty last night. I may as well post a poem and get paid nothing for it today. This is a poem about distraction, how I tend to look right through a moment to something else that’s on my mind, and how, really, I don’t mind it one bit. Continue reading The Elephant in the Room

What the Cold Can Do

*Glaciers on Mt. McKinley*

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? In honor of that, I decided to challenge myself to revise and polish a poem I actually wrote on top of my notes as I worked on my novel one magical day when my love of language woke with a jump and took over my growing self-discipline. (And when I say “on top of my notes,” I mean it. Brainstorming my upcoming chapter, I was inspired to put down my markers, pick up a pencil, and write right over what I had just been writing. Sometimes its fun being a crazy creative.)

I wondered where I would find much ice or snow to photograph to go with my post, as spring is making her way into Vermont with a spongy squish. Instead, I reached way back to a flight I took over Mt. McKinley in 1999. It was in a little Cessna with two other people, and it was unforgettable. If you’re nice, I may even throw in a funny “who is that lady” picture of me from all those years ago. Continue reading What the Cold Can Do

Pantoum and Licorice

 

It must be March. I’m just about over winter, a month early considering where I live. I am fighting the level of bored that leaves me witless and void of ideas of how I want to spend my time. I have an endless to-do list, but what I have to choose from each day is a deep and wide pile of boring options. My work ethic keeps me from having “fun” until my work is done, but I don’t feel like doing my work. So I do a lot of sitting and staring. It is riveting. I refused to write an entire post about boredom because that sounded boring, so what I did instead was edit a poem to share. It is a pantoum. A pantoum poem is written in quatrains, with a pattern that takes the second and fourth lines of the preceding stanza and makes them the first and third of the next. This is repeated until the last stanza, where the third line of the first stanza becomes the second of the last, and the first line of the poem becomes the final line. Did you catch all that? (I would like to add that this was also the most delicious blog photog session I have yet done. I cannot make the claim that no licorice was harmed in the process.)

 

The Envy of Prisoners

 

Distraction is the envy of prisoners

and the prison of the idle (though well-meaning) mind:

flies buzzing around a picnic,

expected, but no less vexing.

 

And the prison of the idle (though well-meaning) mind:

constructed of coffee, candy, and excuses,

expected, but no less vexing,

with bars soft as licorice you can chew through.

 

Constructed of coffee, candy, and excuses,

the desperate piping of asthmatic music,

with bars soft as licorice you can chew through,

conjures original thought with unoriginal emotion.

 

The desperate piping of asthmatic music,

pulsing along to enslave my quiet mind,

conjures original thought with unoriginal emotion

like the rhyme in a song I always get wrong.

 

Pulsing along to enslave my quiet mind,

flies buzzing around a picnic

like the rhyme in a song I always get wrong.

Distraction is the envy of prisoners.