Friday, May 1, 2015

I would let in the moon (A Pantoum)


The last time I tried a pantoum, I was feeling mucky and complicated and my poem reflected that. This time, I resolved to write a small love song, and pare it down as much as possible.

A pantoum, it seems, can hold both moods---the rotating, repeating lines clarify the complicated and amplify the simple.



I would let in the moon
ere light floods
the room
and everything flies

ere light—flooding
fast the hole in my heart
where everything flies
into night; no keys lock

fast the hole in my heart
Dark as dusk, I swell
into night; no keys lock
you to me; only love,

dark as dusk. We swell
the room,
you to me, only. Love,
I would let in the moon.

           ----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)


End notes:
Don't miss this magnificent post from Michael Rosen at Tricia's blog about form poetry.
And find all the Poetry Seven's pantoums here: Liz, Tricia, Andi, Tanita, Kelly, and Laura.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Ellen at Space City Scribes.

Friday, April 3, 2015

At the Fulcrum of the Day: A Raccontino


If you're like me, you had to look up a raccontino to know what it was. Or, more precisely, I had to scramble to Miss Rhumpius's blog to find out that it's a poem that is:

  • composed of couplets (any number)
  • even number lines share the same end rhyme
  • the title and last words of the odd numbered lines tell a story


The Poetry Seven had different approaches to this form. Some wrote their end line sentence first. Others came up with a theme first. Me? I wrote a non-rhyming poem, made it rhyme and then played with the odd numbered end words and line breaks to form a story sentence.  

As one of our group said of my method: Impossible. 

Heh. Well, I will admit that I didn't mind toying with the couplets or jiggering the rhyme scheme, but moving those end words around into a sentence was killer for me.  It felt wrong to be messing with how I shaped the poem originally.  I like my line breaks to be my line breaks!

But it all came right in the end. 



at the fulcrum of the day

I watch my children as the tides, escaping,
inch by inch, until they are fanned

out, too far out; I call to them: mind the time!  
Thin as a needle, I rise, slow to expand—

How closely sliced are the minutes, as onions shaved
to transparency; I see them, as near as my hand;

I have only seconds before noon slips into 
afternoon; blocks of hours eroded to sand.

Soon it is before supper; Beyond is the dusk
and the night; the tide I can withstand

But great God, let the sun balance, never-ending
Wait there, wait there! I call as l stand.

---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Amy at The Poem Farm. The other raccontinos--by each of the Poetry Seven--can be found here:


Friday, February 6, 2015

Chiral: a Poetry Friday Fling with a Villanelle





When I fall in love with a word, I go a bit mad.  It happened this week, when I belatedly began a draft of a villanelle so I could hang with the Poetry Seven today.

I'd written a villanelle with this Gang of Poets once before, and was pleased with my fairly traditional take on a feast. This time, I aimed to write about the "fulcrum of the day" (i.e. noon) but I made the fatal error of Googling rhymes on the Internet.

Specifically, I had a non-repeating line that ended with spiral and needed help.  Lo and behold! The rhyme search turned up

Chiral.

On to Wikipedia, where, along with some impenetrable diagrams of molecules, I found THIS:

"Human hands are perhaps the most universally recognized example of chirality: the left hand is a non-superposable mirror image of the right hand; no matter how the two hands are oriented, it is impossible for all the major features of both hands to coincide." 


Well, COOL. Our hands, although we think of them in pairs (like rhymes), they are, in reality, unmatchable. What a fitting subject for the villanelle, a poetic form built around the fiction that things can always be manipulated so they will line up, just so.

The only teeny problem with this lovely word, chiral, was that I could name but one other rhyme for it off the top of my head. (Besides spiral.)  Did that stop me? Did that stop me from making it the REPEATING LINE?

No, it made me fling myself further into the Internet to see what other unmatchable words were out there.

 See? MAD.

In truth, though, I've always been this way.

I admire other approaches to poetry, of course--  I adore a well-tempered line turn, a gorgeously formal word choice, an exquisitely correct rhyme---I really do.  I just don't know how to write that way.

To me, poetry is an excuse to play with words as hard as I possibly can.  A way to be madly in love with world, one cool fact at a time. A chance to gyre and gimble over the fundamental strangeness of my own hands.

My poetry sisters all know this, of course. What a veneration of villanelles they've made:  Tanita, Liz, Laura, Andi, Kelly, and Tricia.


No Matter

Our hands, no matter how we rotate them, are chiral
did you know that? they’re mirror images that never meet
Look at them! Look at them now! Don’t listen as I birle

(to cause a floating log to revolve by treading); I spiral
on the surface of the Inter-bog, layered rich as peat;
But my hands, no matter how I rotate them, are chiral

How did I find these facts? I was seeking rhymes more viral,
to conflagrate—OMG—there is such a thing as gleet?
Look at your hands! Look at them now! Don’t listen as I birle!

I blame Ogden Nash, who could precisely match eye roll
-ing end rhymes; no unruly corners on his fitted sheet!
Yet, my hands, no matter how I rotate them, are chiral

It’s like trying to tame the Jabberwock, most gyre-ral
but he’s one-off; no need for gamete to mate gamete
Look at your hands! Look at those doozies! Don’t listen as I birle!

But if you must Google these words, seek out too: gyral
(relating to the convolutions of the brain); how meet!
Yet, hands, no matter how we rotate them, are chiral;
Look at them! Look at them now! Don’t listen. I birle!

---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass.



Friday, January 2, 2015

Antidote: A Triolet for the New Year



The antidote to fear is honeyed in devotion
delivered deep, a draught of slow and barmy mead.
Else we dry to salt, fleeing night-depths of the ocean;
The antidote to fear is honeyed in devotion 

Why pillory our hearts, why gulp the unguent potion?
Why frack our veins to stir up courage quickly dead?
The antidote to fear is honey-slow devotion;
Yes, poetry, delivered deep, a draught of barmy mead.


This poem would not have been possible without the encouragement of the rest of the Poetry Seven:  Liz, Andi, Kelly, Laura, Tricia, and TanitaEach of these poets has a triolet posted today, so go and drink deeply.  

For more about triolets, see here.   For more about the Poetry Seven, read about our first gig together on this April day in 2008.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by one of the Poetry Seven, the amazing Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Poetry Friday: Writing Pantoums with Friends

When Liz suggested reviving the dormant Poetry 7 Collaborative by writing pantoums around a common line, I said: "I'm in." 

Then I went to look up a pantoum.

Oh.

Hmmm.

Writing this was like turning myself inside out. 

The best part? Getting to read all my poetry sisters' beautiful efforts, which Laura Salas has collected here for Poetry Friday.  


A Pantoum

With thanks to Ani DiFranco for the line “I’ve got better things to do than survive"

I’ve got better things to do than survive
Like bread, I’m buttered to the edge
Slathered in riches, I’ve
congealed, a manicured hedge

Like bread, I’m buttered to the edge
I roll my socks in pairs; nothing should be
congealed; a manicured hedge
bitten back to nubs; still---wood, tree.   

I roll my socks; in pairs, nothing should be
alone in the dark; I reach for matches
bitten back to nubs; still! Wood! Tree!
I call out names, stick knives in latches

Alone, in the dark, I reach for matches
made in heaven; thus, a poem is braced, stave by stave
I call out! Names stick knives in latches;
Turning wood is soft as butter on the lathe

Made in heaven---thus, a poem is! Braced, stave by stave, 
Slathered in riches, I’ve 
turned. Wood is soft as butter. On the lathe,
I've got better things to do than survive.

                  ----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

Laura Purdie Salas has the Poetry Friday roundup today.