Today’s prompt was based on this poem by Claire Wahmanholm, which transforms the natural world into an unsettled dream-place. One way it does this is by asking questions – literally. The poem not only contains questions, but ends on a question.
The challenge was to write a poem that similarly resists closure by ending on a question, inviting the reader to continue the process of reading (and, in some ways, writing) the poem even after the poem ends.
Today was the day, rising
early to head to the water.
Was that the grasses waving
good morning as we drove by?
Squinting against the sun shining,
who did I hear whistling
high-pitched and clear through the sky?
What bright sparkling caught my eye?
Whose nest was filled with littered bits —
brilliant twig jewels in morning light?
All at once I saw them coming
fast and furious diving downward flight
orienting with the wind, floating
on air, streaking like lightning
hunting by high dive, plucking fish
like cherries from the fresh water.
Head buried underwater, tucking
talons back, gripping their wriggling
prey on upward ascent. Tell me,
what do you whisper to the wind?
--A Draft Poem by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan
Today, the challenge was to write a poem in which I closely describe an object or place, and then end with a much more abstract line that doesn’t seemingly have anything to do with that object or place, but which, of course, really does. An abstract, philosophical kind of statement closing out a poem that is otherwise intensely focused on physical, sensory details.
grand falls at shoal creek
beyond the horizon, the blue sky
swims in a sea of clouds.
i see the signs of an early spring
as the lush green trees stand in the gap between water and sky.
the deep crevices near the bank house shallow pools of mossy water, a large brood of newly hatched fish and an introverted crawfish.
tourists hurry in to take a photo, find a shell or two and get back on the road.
children laugh and splash at edge of the creek as they effortlessly crisscross
the outcroppings of slippery chert.
rushing to the creek below,
the waterfall mists lightly over my face,
and the sound mesmerizes
and comforts at the same time.
as the gentle spring rain begins, i see the new buds bend under the weight of the water.
there is beauty in falling.