PAD 2021 – Day 5

Today I experimented with the prompt to find a poem, and then write a new poem that has the shape of the original, and in which every line starts with the first letter of the corresponding line in the original poem. The poem I chose was this translation of “Alcaic” by Tomas Tranströmer. The tone is certainly divergent from the original, but it was interesting to see what came out when I had to write within the constraints of starting letters and line-syllable counts.


That devil in me. I wait for your yell:
the way your voice goes high, then deep. Simmering.
		In my bedroom, I bury my hot
face in the pink quilt you made for me.	

I am never able to access why.
Can’t tell you in words, the need to be seen
		takes over from the want to be good.
Testing a needle against a balloon.

NaPoWriMo – Day 5

I love today’s prompt. The challenge put for at was to write a poem that reacts both to photography and to words in a language not your own. Begin with a photograph and then find a poem in another language, ignoring any accompanying English translation. Write with the idea that the poem is actually “about” your photograph. Use the look and feel of the words in the original to guide you along as you write, while trying to describe your photograph.

I picked an untitled, Dutch poem with no author (that I could find) and used the photo of the cat below. I noticed some words seemed to suggest an English counterpart, while other times it was the rhythm or look of a line that caused me to “translate”. A cool experiment, and one I would definitely try again with a longer piece.


Natuurlijk moest je nog lang niet

dood, dat wist ik best, maar hijdiede liedjes

zingt voor de hazen en beren waarin hij vertelt

hoe hij ze heft geschoten, was juist begonnen

het jouwe te maken, ik kon het

horen in mijn hoof, pieng

pong¸ de eerste,

voor zichtige tonen.


Cat Work

Nature made cats so the dead can

speak, messages sent through a thrum in the chest,

the glint of a green eye catching moonlight

like a hurried mouse, the faint paw print

marking fresh snow, the quick flick

of impatient tails, meow,

yowl,  they say, meaning,

we never left.