NaPoWriMo – Day 18

Decided to experiment this morning by combining the Poetic Asides prompt calling for a “temptation” poem, with the NaPoWriMo.net call for a reverse, line-by-line response to a published poem. Sounds a bit more complicated than it is, but here are the rules:

  • Find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with).
  • Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it.
  • Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line.
  • Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. It might not be a finished draft, but hopefully it at least contains the seeds of one.

I am not sure mine really meets the “response” instruction, but I just went where my mind took me.  I suppose I’ve been influenced by news of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and other daily news about the threats to water. I’ve posted my poem first, and the source poem below.

 

 

Hands in the Well

 

Tempted by still, blue water

how long do we cup it in our hands

before bringing it to our greedy mouths?

 

Our solar system, even beyond

awash in water they say,

liquid planets.

Life could be teeming

in the smallest drop.

 

Here it is not a maybe.

What makes this home

a home,  welcoming water smile.

 

When did we start

to take it for granted?

So humdrum it even falls from the sky.

Pour in the dirt. Bottle up the clean.

It doesn’t care if we dance

in praise or thanks.

 

Our eyes clouded by

too much too much too much,

we’ve forgotten the word sublime.

Can’t see past the mirrored surface.

 

Together, our hands panning for gold

what can we get get get.

 

Minds clogged

like a pipe jammed with

grease and hair.

 

Future solutions,

gummed up in there somewhere,

if only we can rinse them free.

 

The poem I reverse responded to was “With My Back to the World” by Saskatchewan poet Judith Krause, from her book Homage to Happiness.

 

With My Back to the World

by: Judith Krause

 

I have no ideas of my own.

I empty my mind every day

 

and wait for inspiration.

Alone, my back to the world,

 

I seek the sublime.

Nothing in nature

 

can match the happiness

I find in rectangles —

 

so much friendlier

and welcoming than squares.

 

The grid is my door

to the universe.

 

Bands of colour wash

through me onto the canvas —

 

green waves of beauty.

 

Poem: No Mishaps

I spend too much time on Twitter. Even on days — like most days, lately — when it seems to be an endless timeline of terrible news, there are bright spots. Every day I learn, laugh, connect and discover, but it still sucks my time. So today, I thought I’d try to make (good?) use of that time by chopping snippets of tweets from some of the people or organizations I follow*, tossing them around in a word blender, and attempting to write a new poem. Here’s what came of it. Though not all the tweets that inspired this were political in nature, the thoughts in my head are in political prison right now, so I suppose writing things like this is a way to break out.

 

No Mishaps

 

Can’t tell if the song is brilliant or crap,

the machine gun percussion, big rig motor grind,

and Phil Collins as lead singer. But leaders,

I know leaders. Leaders win and smile when they say,

hey, it’s a-ok, c’mon and drink the water

with just an essence of lead. A danger? No danger,

it’s all in your head, listen to your heart, listen to us,

there is a war, but not that war  — a war on coal,

a war on country, a war on YOU, and how dare they say

it’s not a communist plot. They’re feeding you

this cosmic dread, but the answer is easy,

the answer is here, no, NO, there’s nothing under there,

Look ! OVER HERE! We make the sun shine, the sunshine is huge,

a huge dose of Vitamin D, very important for good health,

you take care of you, and we’ll take care of

us, but  really, you’ll thank us. It’ll be amazing, you’ll see.

Did you taste the water?  We have the best water,

come swim in the water, no one drowns in the water,

no one’s forced into water. YOU, you are the one

touched by migration, you are the one in need of

safe crossing to the future of your past,

to what came before, and what came after. Remember?

Do you remember, it was pure white gold,

that sweet family photo in the tall shiny tower,

you can be in that photo. You can be met with grace,

the resurrection of everything great.

Listen, do you hear it? That round of applause,

the loudest hand claps from the biggest, best hands,

That song we keep playing, are you singing it now?

Are you affected yet? Infected yet? They’ll try

to tell you that a vaccine exists, but the price

is too high. The price isn’t the sky, or the trees

or the birds. The price is your freedom and

we’ll stop you from paying.  No mishaps,

we’re golden. We’re good. And yes, you can

thank us. Your welcome is welcome.

 

*NOTE: The title “No Mishaps” came from a Tweet by Edmonton artist @JayIsPainting. Other parts of lines were borrowed from or inspired by  @thomaspluck: (cosmic dread), @MSF_canada: (vaccine exists, but the price is too high)  @anniegirl1138: (not a communist plot) @wickerkat: (Can’t tell if it’s brilliant or crap) @Don_Share: (touched by migration) @AusmaZehanat: (safe crossing ) @ChuckWendig: (and the resurrection) @HighwayTomson: (Your welcome is welcome. ) @TheAmericansFX: (be met with grace) @ThatEricAlper: (Phil Collins as lead singer & what came before, and what came after) @KimPigSquash: (Vit D very important for good health) @CBCAlerts: (war on coal).