NaPoWriMo 2022 Day 28 My Trees

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Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash.

Hello again! I can’t believe that there are only two more days of this year’s NaPoWriMo. I’m sad to say the least. Today’s prompt was to write a concrete poem. Like acrostic poems, concrete poems are a favorite for grade-school writing assignments, so this may not be a first time at the concrete-poem rodeo.

In brief, a concrete poem is one in which the lines are shaped in a way that mimics the topic of the poem. For example, May Swenson’s poem “Women” mimics curves, reinforcing the poem’s references to motion, rocking horses, and even the shape of a woman’s body. George Starbuck’s “Sonnet in the Shape of a Potted Christmas Tree” is – you guessed it – a sonnet in the shape of a potted Christmas tree.

So, my concrete poem proved difficult to post without the shape shifting when previewed via mobile phone or desktop. What you will find is that I have posted an image of my poem for those reading from mobile apps and a regular copy for those reading from a laptop or desktop. Either way you are reading it, I hope you will be able to detect my “tree” form.

Happy reading!

                                                                     My Trees


                                                                   My                                                      childhood
                                                                                                                   memories
                                                         are                                               full     of 
                                                 trees                                         like the
                                          giant                                      willow
                                    who                                      grew 
                          in the                                      middle
                    of the                               little grove 
             of trees                          hidden 
         behind                      the new 
     condo            development
    It was            there that
I dreamed  of spending 
my adult life
chain-smoking 
cigarettes and 
clacking the keys of 
my old typewriter 
as I cranked out
my next best-selling
novel. Then there was 
the colossal oak on the 
playground--the one whose 
ground roots held me like a 
comforting mother as I watched 
the other children run and play 
together from a disassociated 
distance. The oak was my friend—
my best friend—and I loved her.   
In later years, there was the young
sapling who gave its life to save mine.
It happened when the canoe tipped over,
I slipped quietly into the swirling river, and 
I thought I was dead at sixteen--until I spotted 
my father uprooting a small sapling from the bank.
He held the tree across the river and told me to grab on;
It was then I knew I was safe in the strength of the tree and
my father.        Safe in my childhood memories         safe in the arms       of    trees.  

--cjpjordan

NaPoWriMo 2022 Day 24 Of Certainty

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Thanks and shoutout to Tim Marshall for making this image available for free on Unsplash.

Dedicated to my dear friend who has so graciously allowed others to experience with her how she has processed the religious environment in which she was raised. She is smart and witty and writes so articulately about how she has grown and changed through the years.

I was also raised in this sort of religious environment and can relate on many levels to her story of deconstruction and reconstruction. It is here I find myself in wild-waters, the waters difficult to navigate with grace.

All the stages of grief live in this space of deconstructing and reconstructing—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. They don’t follow a natural progression and sometimes even after I think that acceptance has settled over my bones, denial and anger can revisit.

You know, just for old times sake.

I didn’t follow a prompt today, instead I let my spirit wander over words until they settled into a poem. This poem and life is a process of growth. My only hope is that I continue to grow and change until I take my last breath.

Of Certainty

She looked as certain
as the sky without a cloud
never questioning life,
never doubting God.
Her life was as settled
as her eternity,
and she liked it that way—
without a glimmer of mystery
and brimming with the loveliest
of certainties. After all,
on what could she rely
if not that certainty?

She found out unexpectedly
that it wasn’t the destination.
it was the journey
that mattered most.
When the unthinkable happened,.
the restorative property
of a palliative remedy
moderated more than mere words.
In the middle of her misgiving,
she plucked some half-dead daisies
and put them in her favorite vase
while she quietly waited for certainty.

She found instead the pull
of the undertow was so much stronger
than the weight of her will. In the end
it was the absence of nothing
and everything that was the final blow
to her certainty. It seemed
the questions came, all at once,
wrenching and pulling her apart
before slowly reconstructing her heart.
All that remained certain
was the presence of uncertainty
and a lingering regret for years lost.

—cjpjordan

NaPoWriMo 2022 Day 4

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Thanks to Josefin @josefin for making this photo available freely on Unsplash

The prompt for today was to write a poem . . . in the form of a poetry prompt. If that sounds silly, well, maybe it is! But it’s not without precedent.

The poet Mathias Svalina has been writing surrealist prompt-poems for quite a while, posting them to Instagram. You can find examples here, and here, and here.

And as always, you can read my spin on it below.

An Ode To Writing Prompts for Spring 2022

1. Come to the garden gate
2. And lie down in the patch of hydrangeas.
3. Write your name in the earth;
4. Remember how it belongs only to you.
5. Count the plants and name the blossoms;
6. Write their names in the sky like clouds.
7. Choose the most brilliant blue to mark this sacred place
8. and choose to remember (do not be fooled: this is the hardest part)—
9. Choose to remember where you alone have been.

—cjpjordan

Birth of a Poem

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Photo Credit: Thanks to Dewang Gupta @dewang for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/qNlQ5MJWZDg

The prompt for today challenged me to write a poem that recounts a creation myth and so, I thought I’d let you all in on the secret world of creating poems.

You see, each poem has a unique life form. You might think that I create poems, but actually more often than not, they create themselves, the words falling in to place with rhythm and order and beauty.

Writing poetry is an act of passion—writer and poem must come together in love and single-mindedness. I imagine if there were a mystical story of the creation of a poem, it might go something like this.

in the beginning: the birth of a poem

crisp cadence of sound bytes
dancing across the page;
marginal moments light
momentous mysteries
marching on.

letters swirls like atoms
forming ionic bonds.
how i cannot fathom
those molecular fronds
marching on.

yet unknown, the story
tumbles out in stages;
rolling rhymes unfolding,
memories outrageous
marching on.

ideas shift and shape,
pulling without tether
yet binding all the same
bringing us together
marching on.

the joyous pain birthing
small words that time sustains;
rejecting or rejoicing
the simple small refrain
marching on.

—a draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

What is your passion? What keeps you marching on?

NaPoWriMo Day 8

Photo Credit: https://www.simplycoreyphoto.com/carrollton-newborn-photographer-football/

The prompt today was called “Return to Spoon River,” after Edgar Lee Masters’ eminently creepy 1915 book Spoon River Anthology. The book consists of well over 100 poetic monologues, each spoken by a person buried in the cemetery of the fictional town of Spoon River, Illinois.

I was challenged to read a few of the poems from Spoon River Anthology, and then write my own poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead. 

Just because I am trying to stretch myself with form, I decided to try my hand at the rubaiyat which is a poem comprised of quatrains following an aaba rhyme pattern.

Each successive quatrain picks up the unrhymed line as the rhyme for that stanza. So a three-stanza rubaiyat might rhyme so: aaba/bbcb/ccdc. Sometimes the final stanza, rhymes all four lines. The lines are usually tetrameter and pentameter.

Here is the short story of the short life of Aiden McCray told in his own words.

***PSA – In the spirit of “Return to Spoon River”, this monologue poem is entirely fictitious.

Aiden McCray

My face was framed with auburn curls
that dipped and turned in tight tipped whorls.
Shunned was I at school and at play,
ruthlessly teased by village churls.

When I grew up I moved away,
Bought myself a darling chalet
Far away from modernity
I found my peace in old Bombay—

the joys of sweet fraternity.
With wit of cool acerbity
I managed all my fiercest foes.
Then one day eternity

would catch me in tranquil repose.
I died beneath the little rose
that grew behind the bungalows
under the place where lichen grows.

-- A Draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Click on the link and let me know what you think in the comments below.  Share the love, write a poem, appreciate a good friend. Each moment is a new beginning.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day Two

Photo Credit: https://mymichiganbeach.com/petoskey-harbor-springs

Today’s prompt was to write a poem using Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” as inspiration. So here’s my stab at it. Let me know what you think in the comments below and follow me for more of the same.

Even Now

I dream of immense white sand 
rolled out beside a rocky 
shore, piles of dunes rising like 
mountain castles--like places 
of refuge for the weary. 
Even now,

I see the whitecaps riding 
on the backs of waves when 
their weight grew too burdensome 
to carry, the slow rhythmic 
mesmerizing ebb and flow.
Even now, 

I feel each deafening and 
weighty expectation, my
mind thick with hesitation 
and uncertainty, my heart
knowing what the stars demand.
Even now,

I taste the salty sweetness 
of tortilla chips and wine—
each bite and sip reminding
me of two divergent roads,
yellow wood and deep longings.
Even now,

I know the bittersweet call
of tragedy and regret—
the burden of longing for 
more of life—and the lovely
dance of stars begging a kiss.
Even now,

I wonder what could have been 
had we listened to the sun 
singing brightly somewhere off 
the curve of horizon, to 
the moonless night sky’s bidding. 
Even now, 

when the driftwood still dances 
with rock and sand in a large 
coffee table box kept as 
a ballroom for such affairs, 
I wonder what might have been. 
Even now.

--A Draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments below.

Share the love, write a poem, appreciate a good friend. Each moment is a new beginning.