Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Day Like Today

My friend Laura, who is a fabulous poet and teacher, sent me a very specific poetry form she was having her students do last week as a kind of challenge. I like working in forms sometimes because it forces me to do things I'd never have done on my own. I followed the form strictly and then went back and revised and little and broke some lines for pacing. The form is below if you want to try it. I dare you.

A Day Like Today
by Felice Austin

The sun swoops over the lake
The green tulie reeds shiver in the glitter
Look at them.
This minute.
The sun's tongue laps
up some water.
There is a 7-year old girl standing on the shore on her hands.
Presently, she finishes the circumference
of the wheel and presently lands on her feet.
I dare not look away and miss the first half again,
I dare not die.

I clap.
The tulie reeds rustle like an audience delicately
Whispering, about her adorable
But imperfect landing.
I whistle a forgotten theme song and 
Speak my prayer to the wind. 

Poetry Prompt from Laura

Form: Each of the numbers below signifies “a line” in the poem. Though some of them ask you to break that given line, so it will actually be 2 lines. Just follow the directions and follow the form. This form was taken from a free verse poem written by a poet we have read....I will tell you which poem and poet it is later. Often, writers will try to mimic how other writers write as an exercise for their own work. This poem should be written in free verse. In fact, avoid end-top rhymes for the lines, they are not a part of the form for this poem.

1. Pick an object from nature that is symbolic for you (something not animal, or human, or a place). Put it in an opening line where you describe it doing some action (personification) and participating with a place in nature. 
2. Pick something else that you would logically find in that place in nature, something that would be there naturally, and personify it. (For example, “Rocks continue their millennial nap.”)  
3. Write a simple command to the reader.
4. Give a time to do that command. Say it in three words or less. (For example, In a minute, Yesterday, Next week.)
5. Describe the action from line 1 in a different way. This time, instead of personifying it, give the object animal characteristics.
Break this line somewhere that seems appropriate to put emphasis on a word (end of the line) or a possible small phrase that gets moved to the line below. 
6. Go back to the place in nature you described in line one. Put a person there. Describe them simply, but with an unexpected detail.
7. Have that person do some kind of action, use a word that denotes time (such as now) twice, and break the line
as you describe what happens when that person moves.
8. Now put yourself in the poem. What do you dare not do?
9. What else do you dare not do? Say it in three words or less.
10. What do you do instead? Say it in three words or less.
11. Pick whatever something that would be in that place in nature from line 2 and describe it having some kind of movement. Describe what it looks like (simile) when it moves.

12. You’re back in the poem: Use the first person “I” and do a similar action as the object in line 

Have fun!

1 comment:

  1. The wind caressed the still reflection of the pond
    It rose in waves and the lilies were carried by it
    Be a ripple of influence
    In each moment
    Spreading its wings for flight, the wind
    moved the water

    She stands at the edge of the pond, with light in her eyes
    The ripples of eternity lap at her toes, and taking a step in
    She answers eternity back

    I dare not vanish into obscurity
    I dare not stand still
    I move forward
    Ripples cascade outward like messengers of peace, gently rocking the paths it crosses and combining with the wind
    I pour love from my soul, connecting far beyond my reach, and am borne up as on eagles' wings