Colleen at Wordcraft poetry suggested writing an acrostic poem based on a word from a list she provided. She asked every line to be 8, 9, or 10 syllables long. I used the word ORACLE. Each line begins with a letter from that word so that if you read down instead of across you see the word oracle. I created a form of 8, 9, 10, 10, 9, 8 and rhymed same count lines with each other.
Voice of the Gods
On the sunwarmed rock she holds court
Ruling a man’s world with prescient words.
All listen and quake, even mighty kings
Clothed in velvet vestments and golden rings.
Love and riches–often doom–they heard,
Even took heed or to the heart.
A couple of years ago Memoryhouse Magazine published an acrostic poem I wrote using the title of my favorite Whitman poem, “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking.” Note that my title starts the phrase and then the first letters of each line the last part, “endlessly rocking.”
Colleen at Wordcraft poetry suggested we write a syllabic poem using synonyms for the word “work” and “play,” and to contrast the two for this week’s #TankaTuesday.
I have to admit that the synonym prompts are not my favorite. I prefer a little looser prompt, and this was even tighter by the need to contrast them. So go ahead and hate my poem, which is three Badger’s Hexastitch stanzas put together. I used that form because I LOVE the name. It’s like a cross between something a witch does as a hobby and the town that Loretta Lynn sings about in “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (Butcher’s Holler).
For work I used the word “toil,” because it reminded me of two of my favorite poems (see below). And for play I used “entertain” and “rest.”
like Hopkins and Shakespeare.*
Entertain sounds lazy
as if I should
does not toil much
except to wash himself
or hunt food if he must,
that I can be
more like the cat than me
and rest when I need to,
toiling just as
Hopkins is the Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “God’s Grandeur,” and Shakespeare is Will himself, “Song of the Witches” from MacBeth. I loved to entertain my kids when they were little with the latter.
Here are both poems and you can see where I got “toil” from.
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
SONG OF THE WITCHES
by William Shakespeare
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.
Macbeth: IV.i 10-19; 35-38
Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)
Now if you’re still reading, here’s a sonnet that I wrote based on the Hopkins poem which was published in Last Stanza Poetry Journal by editor Jenny Kalahar. After that you can see a pic of my cutie pie Meesker.
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod* by Luanne Castle
and I am shackled to the backlit screen, subjected to technology’s caprice, my feet immobile, hidden, and benumbed, my thoughts dispelled by cumbrous messages of discounts, password problems, and a troll, and so I scroll my Twitter notices and scan What’s Happening, then Google God, procrastinating still and find, alas, my spirit drifts away, mere haze, but then the images of light dividing clouds is how we see the brightest wings and warmth and you appear and take me by my hand to share the garden, smell the sweetbush, hear the cactus wrens, and trill for butterflies.
With son and DIL living here, we have their dog Theo here as well. He’s such a little goofy guy, and I get to let him out when his mom and dad are both gone for three hours or more. I can’t physically handle walking him on a leash, although in a pinch I can take him on the driveway on a leash because he’s very good for me. But I like to let him roam the backyard, which is fenced. He’s very loved and what’s rewarding for me is that he loves his Grandma! In his photo you can see a very typical expression he gets on his face as he is always trying to figure out what’s going on.
“Mad Swirl is excited to bring a new artist, Luanne Castle to the Mad Gallery, with work somehow as whimsical as it is haunting. Luanne brings us these magical collage pieces from Arizona, USA, and we must say, her passion for poetry and art is evident in the way she uniquely blends odds and ends of both together in her eccentric and intriguing work. I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something very Alice In Wonderland about her collages – a little mystical, dreamy & strange, like maybe we’ve plunged into a rabbit hole ourselves. ~ Madelyn Olson”
Language is part of these pieces, whether you can see it all or not. There is also a word some might not like so if you are sensitive about cussing you might not want to check out the images (or read too closely into the screen shot). If it doesn’t bother you, I hope you like them!
Our Wolves has received some lovely and “interesting” attention that I thought I would share with you.
There are some wonderful reviews on Goodreads (and Amazon), including those by veteran reviewers Elizabeth Gauffreau, Suanne Schafer, a couple of Library Things reviewers, etc. I also received my first one star rating ever!!! Yes, “Donna” wrote: “An interesting take on Red Riding Hood. Dark and shades of abuse. Might be someone else’s cup of tea but not mine.” Apparently, even though it’s an interesting take, because it’s not her cup of tea, it warrants a one star.
I had a poem published today in a cool Australian lit mag. It’s called Trash to Treasure Lit, and the idea behind it is that “every writer has a piece of ‘trash’ that we can treasure.” Look through your drafts, your poems you figured you could never do right by, and if you can write something that explains why this “trash” can be a “treasure,” they might publish it. In my case, I wrote a love poem to my cat Perry, who as you may know, suffers from a couple of terminal illnesses (so far so good in case you’re wondering). I hope you can tell from this poem that Perry is the real treasure.
Colleen Chesebro’s prompt for #TankaTuesday this week is in celebration of her 65th birthday. (Happy birthday, Colleen!) We were to create a poetic form using 65 syllables.
I created a form I will call the aînée, which is the French word for a female elder. I was going to use the Spanish word anciana, but I didn’t like the connotations which seemed less positive. Plus I like that I am honoring the French language which is a language that has originated a lot of syllabic poetry. 65 syllables are arranged this way: ten lines of six syllables each, followed by a line of 2 syllables, and a final line of 3 syllables.
“If you like interesting and thought provoking poetry, you will love Our Wolves.“
On another note, I looked for an African-American Red doll for my collection and found a gorgeous one on ebay by artist Stacy Bayne: $250! Here’s a link: https://www.ebay.com/itm/225374443246 While I can’t justify that (hah), it’s certainly beautiful. Here’s one of my $20 antique mall goodies.