Friday, November 6, 2015

Poetry Friday: Growth Spurt

The Poetry Seven's assignment this month was simple: Write a poem inspired by an image.  (Technically, it's called ekphrastic poetry.) We all used the same image, plucked specially for us from the magpie-marvelous collection of Tanita Davis.


(Source: lowpresssure, via baikuken
Sculpture by Danish artist Susanne Ussing

Growth Spurt

Hold your tongue, they said.
Unable to grasp how such a
delicate hand as my own could
hold such a large and dextrous muscle,
I laughed.

First discovery:
Laughter is mighty exercise
for the tongue.

Have a care, they said.
But I could not nibble at care—at the metallic whiff
of the bit approaching, my tongue bucked
words, flinging them upright and uncleft
into the wild.

Second discovery:
Language multiplies the reach
of the tongue.

Quit jawboning, they said.
But, by now, my head—enlarged by the excavations
of my tongue—was naught but a bony bloom;
the world, whispering back,

Third discovery:
I was not alone
but one of many tongues.

Hush now, they said. Hear our prayers.
Their too-small devotions brushed my skin,
worms turning dirt. I shot to the sky,
a hot-house flower, all of me muscled as
         my tongue.

Together, we made the

Fourth discovery:
        I knelt; they held
        my heart, thrumming.

                      ---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

I tried not to look at what my poetry sisters wrote for the same image until I was done with mine, but OH! Wow. Go look now:

Tricia (Happy 9th blog anniversary!)

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Poetry Friday: Etheree

When I first heard the word etheree, I thought it was an old-fashioned name, the kind given to a girl who shucks peas on a weathered porch, with a Bowie knife strapped to her ankle, in case a rattlesnake gets to rattlin', or a rancher gets to raunchin'. Surely it wasn't a form of poetry, as my Poetry Sisters claimed?

I found out it was, indeed, both. Turns out that the Arkansas poet, Etheree Taylor Armstrong, invented a poetic shape in which each line has one more syllable than the one before, and while she was hardly famous, the form named after her has a growing following.  Apparently, many people like it for its simplicity.

I kind of hate simplicity. It's darn hard to pull off.  In fact, I couldn't pull it off. I had to resort to word play.  Lots and lots of word play. (Old ee cummings may still have a grip on me.)

Anyhow, the poem was inspired by my mint tea, informed by some judicious Googling of the astonishing varieties of mint, and ultimately, built around this simple admonition to would-be mint growers that was stark in its advice:

Different varieties of mint should be planted far away from each other. On opposite sides of the garden,  if possible.

Now there was a simple fact I could use.


tendrils left
can crosspollispear
til, oh! calaminty--
scharp-scented, increeping vaders
brandnewishing fresh varietrials
demand mint conditions: no leaf unturned.

---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

Please see Miss Rumphius' blog for a much more considered definition of the form.

My Poetry Sisters' etherees are here:

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Poetry Friday: Wiseguy (A Found Poem)

Athlete of cross work

Lover of up-and-down

Word wonder 2 briefly

Not Done

My source for this found poem was Merl Reagle's last crossword for the Washington Post. I solved it with a heavy heart:

Read the Post's nicely done obituary. And don't miss the movie they mention, Word Play.  Bonus points if you can find the Simpsons episode Reagle starred in, as himself. 

All of my Poetry Sisters are in with Found Poetry today, too. Maybe we should call ourselves the Salvage Sisters this month:

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Linda at Teacher Dance.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Poetry Friday: ISO Haiku

Once, my son found a "help wanted" ad:

Remove nest of baby copperheads
from under porch. Will pay $20.

I always wondered if anyone was desperate enough to answer.  I mean, come on---they're BABY copperheads, right?

That's the thing about classifieds. They suggest (perhaps willfully) that if only you answer them, the full story will be revealed. More likely, the truth is that if you answer the ad, you become part of the story, too.

I think the same give and take applies to poetry. Which is good, because this month, the Poetry Sisters are playing with haiku/senryu in the form of classified ads. I wrote several because I couldn't help myself.

WANTED: rain, heavy
Must pelt/soak; no peevish squalls
Will pay in fresh corn.

LOST: my perspective
No reward; meet me for cake 

FREE: to a good home:
One book, never read, but loved.

POETS: Start today; 
word your way up; could capture
moon in fifty years.

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

See what's LOST/FOUND/WANTED/FOR SALE from my Poetry Sisters here: Liz, Tanita, Tricia, Laura, Kelly, Andi

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Poetry Friday: "In Just---" Echoes of ee cummings

The assignment for the Poetry Seven this month was to write a poem in the style of ee cummings, taking one of his works as inspiration. Although cummings is one of my favorite poets, and I've blogged about him before (in relation to Frank Cottrell Boyce's fabulous novel, Cosmic) I did a little research anyway. And discovered this:

Between the ages of eight and twenty-two, cummings wrote a poem a day.

Yeah. That.

And here I am, trying to follow in his pen strokes.

First of all, I had a hard time naming what I was attempting to do. What did "in the style of" mean?


Then one of the Poetry Seven used a word I liked: echoing. Perhaps I could do that. (thanks, Andi!)

in Just-
dusk when the world is shadow-
mossed the one-winged lightningbug

blinks, incan/descent

and pillbugandmoth come
floating from screenshanks and 
scatterall and it’s

when the world is wing-wonderful

the lop-flighted
lighteningbug blinks
and beetleandroach come scalltering

from rot-hopping and stank-rope and

it’s dusk
lightningbug stutters



---Sara Lewis Holmes, inspired by "in Just-" by ee cummings

One more thing: we also decided to record these poems. Click on the sound file below to hear me read my work aloud.

Other echoes of ee cummings can be found at each of the Poetry Seven's blogs today:

Liz, echoing "i like my body when it is"
Tricia, echoing " a looking"
Tanita, echoing "the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls"
Laura,  echoing "Spring is like a perhaps hand"
Kelly,  echoing "maggie and milly and molly and may"
Andi, echoing "a wind has blown the rain away"

As a bonus, we've gathered all our recordings in one place on Soundcloud. (Perhaps we'll continue to record our work? I, for one, love hearing work read aloud.)

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Katie at the Logonauts.