And without further ado, here’s our daily (optional) prompt. For this challenge, start by reading Marlanda Dekine’s poem “My Grandma Told Stories or Cautionary Tales.” One common feature of childhood is the monsters. The ones under the bed or in the closet; the odd local monsters that other kids swear roam the creek at night, or that parents say wait to steal away naughty children that don’t go to bed on time.
Now, cast your mind back to your own childhood and write a poem about something that scared you – or was used to scare you – and which still haunts you (if only a little bit) today.
Happy (shivery spooky) writing!
The ghost in grandma’s attic always left me shook I heard the creaks and clatters of all the steps he took.
I knew he wafted through the walls of every floor and space, but the attic in my closet was his very favorite place.
Nighttime he’d begin by knocking, Scraping, scratching,screeching; I never knew just where he was or if he’d come a reaching.
For many years I felt the fear creeping up into my bones;for if I closed my eyes I knew my soul the ghost would own.
I wonder if the ghost still lives in grandma’s former dwelling; for stories of his haunting deeds still told are quite compelling.
The prompt for the day is a favorite of my writing twin, but for me it’s always a challenge. Today was called Sonnet Sunday, and the challenge was to write …. Wait for it… a sonnet!
A traditional sonnet is 14 lines long, with each line having ten syllables that are in iambic pentameter (where an unstressed syllable is followed by a stressed syllable). Blah blah blah… read between the lines that I’m not feeling in the Shakespeare way today. Still the theme was love and I tried my best, but what you see is what I got.
I chose a more modern version of the sonnet. I chose a curtal sonnet. The curtal sonnet is a form invented by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and used in three of his poems. It is an eleven-line (or, more accurately, ten-and-a-half-line) sonnet, this the name “curtal”—a curtailed or contracted sonnet.
This type of sonnet refers to a sonnet of 11 lines rhyming abcabc dcbdc or abcabc dbcdc with the last line a tail, or half a line. I’m not sure at all that I did it “right”, but the practice was engaging and valuable as always.
Yes I know…
Some of you are thinking “whatever, Carla”…trust me I feel the same but I press on with the practice because it brings me joy. So… here is my rather interesting take on a love sonnet to a thief. Enjoy!
Perchance one day she’ll catch the old thief who slipped and stole—tip toe hush hush—the wind that rose beneath her sails. She’ll jaunt away with jubilee on a junket of her own motif. She found not a soul had noticed her wilted woes— instead the slippery folk strained their necks to see. Ranting relief brought rancor and rage; after carefully crafted and curated glee, she discovered the power of poems and prose. Freedom fell and she escaped that golden-gilded cage— she found her sanity.
Whew! Today’s prompt was a doozy and just what I needed to recharge my brain.
Today we were challenged to write a curtal sonnet. A curtal sonnet is a variation on the classic 14-line sonnet. The curtal sonnet form was developed by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and he used it for what is probably his most famous poem, “Pied Beauty.”
A curtal sonnet has eleven lines, instead of the usual fourteen, and the last line is shorter than the ten that precede it. The rhyme scheme is 11 lines rhyming abcabc dcbdc or abcabc dbcdc with the last line a tail, or half a line.
There is some mathematical formula Hopkins used to precisely curtail the typical sonnet, but the real cog in the works is the sprung rhythm that breaks away from the traditional iambic pentameter of Shakespeare or Dr. Seuss.
To be completely honest, I have no idea at all what I am doing. I researched and read a number of examples, but each one was different from the other in some critical form/stylistic way.
So, I’m not sure if this is really a curtal sonnet or not, but it is my poem for the day. I chose to use 12 syllable lines and the abcabc dcbdc rhyme scheme.
Over all, under and through, the mystery lasts. Look how I trust and hope even after I rolled Down the hill with darkness closing in on all sides. I realize now the truth of how light contrasts With hope invisible and her friend harrow bold. Oh the tragedy of how disaster divides!
Loneliness overstays; isolation befriends— And I am left wondering how the earth provides For everything missing or lost at the threshold. Look with wonder at how simplicity amends
The daily prompt today was a challenge to write a poem based on a word featured in a tweet from Haggard Hawks, an account devoted to obscure and interesting English words.
I chose the word WINTERCEARIG. It is from an Anglo-Saxon poem written in the late 10th century and essentially means ‘winter-sorrow’, and was likely meant to describe a feeling of downheartedness or despondency caused by, or as desolate as, the depths of winter. In other words, WINTERCEARIG is Seasonal Affective Disorder identified 1,000 years before the term was used (1984) by Norman Rosenthal and colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD.
Obviously, the sky outside my window inspired this poem. Michigan in winter (because Michigan doesn’t recognize March 21 as the first day of spring) is nearly always gloomy.
For my poem form I chose the sevenling because it seemed unnecessarily difficult and fit the mood of “wintercearig” perfectly.
Simplified, the sevenling poem is a seven line poem. Lines one to three should contain three connected or contrasting statements; lines four to six should similarly have three elements connected directly or indirectly or not at all. The seventh line should act as a narrative summary or punchline or an unusual juxtaposition.
Well, not as complex as some form poems, but certainly not without its challenge. I connected two sevenling stanzas in this poem. I’m not sure I did it exactly right because I am still unsure whether each line must be a complete sentence. There are conflicting definitions online. Perhaps one of you is more familiar and can educate me.
Also important is the fact that according to the Anglo-Saxon scholars on the Twitter account, the word that I chose (WINTERCEARIG) is pronounced “winter-chee-arry” or “winter-cherry”, so you will see the cheery/cherry play on words come out in my sevenling poem.
I dread the moment the first picture perfect snowfall ceases to glimmer, when the gray slush of snow matches the gray slush of sky overhead, and when last vestige of green is covered with frost. The sorry and sorrow of winter sets into my bones, my mood matching the graying skies, and cheer quickly dies.
Wintercearig sets in.
Not every color is lovely: gray strips away the energy, beige removes any hint of excitement, and black resembles my soul full of rage. I long for skies of cerulean blue, aqua waters of the Agean variety, and the vibrant orange of tiger lilies in bloom.
Summer cherries make me cheery, but "winter-cherry" grows me weary.
Tomorrow begins the National/Global Poetry Writing Month—the day I look forward to all year long.
But today, we were offered an early-bird prompt based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson. The challenge was to write a response to one of her poems. I included the poem I used for inspiration below and also used a similar form and meter.
I hope you enjoy eavesdropping on my conversation with Emily.
Consulting summer’s clock, But half the hours remain. I ascertain it with a shock — I shall not look again. The second half of joy Is shorter than the first. The truth I do not dare to know I muffle with a jest.
—By Emily Dickinson
A Response to Emily
I stand with the poet, Stunned how steep the slope. Beauty as we know it Denies us all the hope. Shorter joy I refuse; The truth I choose to know. The hues of life ensconced in blue, and I in here and now.
There’s this girl, you see, born on the Fourth of July. She erupted on the scene at a military base and grew to love all things military precision-like—minimalistic living and spartan saving with exacting expectations of herself—yet exploding with all the vibrant color of a rainbow. She’s an out of the box thinker—MacGyver’s met his match in her.
This girl, you see, is a firecracker, whip smart, and loud about things that matter like injustice, inequality, and freedom for all. She’s the yang to my yin, the bang for my buck, my soul sister, twin flame, and best friend. Happy Birthday, Tracy Jo! 🥰🎉🎊 💥
4th of July
It is hard to say when or where Although why is not quite as hard (synchronous orbits)to declare that mysterious tidal heat where in wonder science we meet. Life whisks away what’s not needed, brings the ebb and flow, completed we move while the stars stand their guard.
I chose another Balassi Stanza nine line poem today and combined it with the one sentence poem because… I can. 🥰
Cheers To The Queer
It was a very queer time or maybe it was here that I realized the plan had gone terribly wrong; maybe I wasn’t strong hearted when I first began— all things have their season minds must yield to reason— life lasts but a finger span.
The prompt for today was to write a nine-line poem. I could choose any form I wished or use a free form verse. I chose a Balassi Stanza where it looks like this:
Rhyme scheme: a. a. d. b. b. d. c..c. d
Syllable count:.. 6. 6. 7. 6. 6. 7. 6. 6. 7
Of course, I chose this form mainly because Balint Balassi is Hungarian. Also, I am taking a crash course in music theory right now, so the poem reflects the terms swimming in my head.
rhythms all frenetic, cadences authentic and deceptively half there. appalachian folk tunes, maqam modes that commune and pulse with joy and despair. musical collision, lydian precision-- complexity that ensnares.