Today’s prompt was the challenge to write a “duplex.” A “duplex” is a variation on the sonnet, developed by the poet Jericho Brown. Here’s one of his first “Duplex” poems, and here is a duplex written by the poet I.S. Jones.
Like a typical sonnet, a duplex has fourteen lines. It’s organized into seven, two-line stanzas. The second line of the first stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the second stanza, the second line of the second stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the third stanza, and so on. The last line (or two) of the poem is the same as the first.
This is based on a true story. One day, if the mood seems right, over coffee and croissants, I will share the rest of the story with you.
Come on by and let’s make a date for coffee.
What I remember most is the ocean releasing— crisp, cool breezes and a bevy of blues.
You left me there by the stony beach—blues and greens assault my senses, I cannot look away
A way off in the distance your boat lurches But not as much as my heart when she slips
Slips slowly under the water, eyes wide open Open arms floating just beneath the surface
The surface of the water explodes With my crazed frenzy. Panic rising
Rising until bile is all I taste, but somehow, somehow… My memory is blurred but I remember—
crisp, cool breezes and a bevy of blues; what I remember most is the ocean.
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.
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.
The prompt for today was in honor of today being the 22nd day of Na/GloPoWriMo 2022, and they challenged me to write a poem that used repetition. I was invited to repeat a sound, a word, a phrase, or an image, or any combination of things.
So, here you go fellow poetry loving friends. Not as repetitious as some poems I’ve written, but there is that element throughout.
Happy Weekend to you!
The Owl Sees
Where the mind ends, the owl sees— through Ominous golden eyes It breathes in stealth and exhales darkness gliding through blue-black skies. Underneath the fern unfurls, shivers in the windy wake.
Where the mind ends, the owl sees— with certainty of vision and a clarity of mind; she free falls into the darkness, her mournful cry resounding into the boundless cosmos.
Where the mind ends, the owl sees— the wilderness unconstrained, the weeping child whose wailing seeps into the warping twilight. Inside echos of sadness the owl and child grieve as one.
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
Today, in honor of the potential luckiness of the number 13, I was challenged to write a poem that, like the example poem here, joyfully states that “Everything is Going to Be Amazing.”
Sometimes, good fortune can seem impossibly distant, but even if you can’t drum up the enthusiasm to write a riotous pep-talk, perhaps you can muse on the possibility of good things coming down the track.
As they say, “the sun will come up tomorrow,” and if nothing else, this world offers us the persistent possibility of surprise
Hum of Hope
I heard the low steady, insuppressible hum; it was always running like a droning dial tone from days gone by.
Many people looked curiously at me because they heard only silence.
But I am a gatekeeper with a finely tuned ear.
The cadence careens down the halls, dashing into rooms, echoing with memories, with experience, and with desire.
The hum of hope, is my song; it is the vibrance of being alive— my joy that cannot be hushed.
Today the challenge was to write a poem about a mythical person or creature doing something unusual – or at least something that seems unusual in relation to that person/creature.
I tell you the truth, this one threw me. So I turned to my friend Jennifer Kautz, an expert in mythology. She suggested I do a dragon who serves food instead of fear, so all the credit goes to Jen for that brilliant idea.
I used a six line poetry form with an ABABCC rhyme scheme and a meter of 10, 10, 10, 10, 14 and 10. Not sure if it works in the epic way I thought it might before I started, but I wrote, which is always the most important thing for me this month.
The Horse and The Dragon
The horse met up with the dragon one day To discuss her plans for a coffee shop; With a great aplomb (and a rare Beaujolais) Horse methodically let her vision drop. Thus began the legend of their fine collaboration Cloaked in love and honest admiration.
The dragon shifted shapes from salty beast To honest hard-working entrepreneur; Slowly the vision saw steady increase as a conifer cone became a fir— dragon opened up and learned to serve food instead of fear, and shared with horse a miraculous year.
Today’s prompt was a bit complex. The challenge was to write a Spanish form called a “glosa” – literally a poem that glosses, or explains, or in some way responds to another poem.
The idea is to take a quatrain from a poem that you like, and then write a four-stanza poem that explains or responds to each line of the quatrain, with each of the quatrain’s four lines in turn forming the last line of each stanza. Traditionally, each stanza has ten lines, and here is a nice summary of the glosa form for anyone who is interested.
I chose a poem by Rumi found in a book of his quatrains (Rubaiyat) put together by John Moyne and Coleman Barks. I love reading Rumi anyway, so I was delighted to find this book in an online format, easily accessible to all.
This is the quatrain or rubyaiyat I chose:
“The morning wind spreads its fresh smell. We must get up and take that in, that wind that lets us live. Breathe, before it's gone.” —Unseen Rain: Quatrains of Rumi
And here is my response to Rumi with each line of the Rumi quatrain woven in to complete my verse of ten lines.
The Wind That Lets Us Live
I am so small a twinkle in the starry night, a single ray of light escaping from behind a cloud. I do not know the strength I own— Like the scent of salty air, I permeate the taste buds. I am alive, breathe in— The morning wind spreads its fresh smell.
I am fearless in my tiny state I know not when or where. I know not how or what’s to come, yet move ahead without an inkling of tomorrows’s fright. I am alive, breathe in— We must get up and take that in,
I must get up with brave resolve not filled with dread or doom. Tragedy might tear apart, yet I choose to stand— to look in the eyes of wailing winds whipping wildly lash and cheek. I am alive, breathe in— that wind that lets us live.
I sing of life; I dream of death. I fear not either one. I see eternity among the stars, still choose to shine my light. Not everyone can see the rays, I find contentment there— moving forward, arms outstretched; I am alive, breathe in— Breathe, before it's gone.
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.