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.
With the prompt today I was challenged you to write a parody on a poem already written by another poet. I figured go big or go home, so I chose Emily Dickinson and her poem, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant”.
Besides being fun, it was a challenge to mirror her tone, rhyme scheme, and form. So friends, tell your lies…and shout them out!
Here is Emily's original (beautiful) version:
Tell all the truth but tell it slant — (1263)
Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind B
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —
--by Emily Dickinson
And here is my parody poem about telling lies. Tell all your lies and shout them out — Tell all your lies and shout them out — Wearing your crooked smile We cannot bear the truth, you know And your tall tales beguile As light will blind most tender eyes Deceit will blind the heart And faults that burn fiery and fierce Fracture and tear apart —
- A Draft Parody Poem by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan
The prompt for today was called the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,” and was originally developed by Jim Simmerman. There were twenty little projects themselves — the challenge is to use them all in one poem. I used ten because my day was too full to work all twenty into my poem.
the new road
emily says dying is a wild night and a new road.
i say dying is sort of like walking too close to the rails when the chicago el whizzes by: whooosh!
dying tastes like a quiet color
in explosive rainbow proportions.
i hear the clacking coming;
i feel the rush of wind
and touch the steamy air
just before that silver bullet train starts whizzing toward me.
i wonder if the actual moment of death feels like being a rider on the train watching the people stare as i pass by them.
i wonder if death feels like new life.
i wonder if becalmanddie would make a good slogan on a billboard advertising dying.
perhaps emily is right after all;
perhaps the billboard sign should be lit in blinking neon lights
guiding the way home on the new road (which just happens to pass a tad too close to the el train tracks).