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Thursday, May 5, 2016

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Twenty Nine: Remembering Spring

Today's challenge:  Write a list where every line begins with an 'I remember' and is rich in concrete detail. Make a poem with  or without the 'I remember' refrain.

Remembering Spring
by Shirley Smith Franklin

I remember the greening of trees, softening the lines of their stark black trunks.
I remember the pink of wild cherry tree branches bending toward each other to confer.
I remember feeling confident that I could open the side door without help.
I remember dressing for Easter church and wearing a blue and gray checked coat, though the day was warm.

I remember babysitting a newborn on new year's eve in the subdued lighting of the house that was the first place I ever heard NPR. I was too young to be trusted with such a responsibility, but they assured me the baby wouldn't wake up in my charge.  (Cliffhanger report:  the baby slept the whole time.)

Well, there you have it, wimping out you may say, but there are other words, other papers, other tasks (including doing the dishes and sorting the laundry!) keening for my attention. Perhaps I may come back to this list some day.  The possibilities are endless, were the return to result in a work of fiction.

One more day to go on the April challenges...then, back to the backlog of possibilities at my desk!
This has been fun, however breathless.  It will be interesting to look back at what I wrote after a period of time...(confession: I do look back, perhaps too often--is that possible?-- already!)...and to browse the poets-in-translation and the translations-of-poets-of-other-nations embedded in each of NaPoWriMo's daily April posts.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Twenty Eight: Story Upside Down

The challenge:  Write a poem that tells a story, from end to beginning.  The example given is rather simple.  'Wonder what I'll come up with...'must think about this while exercising at the Y today...
and now it's tomorrow...

There Goes Memorial Day
a story told backwards
by Shirley Smith Franklin

But that's how it was.
This wasn't how it was supposed to turn out.
She sighed at the flowers.
She heard the stairs creak while he went to his room.
They stood there for awhile.
Tears welled up as she put them on the counter.
'I picked them for you, mom.'
'I was saving those for the cemetery!'
But she gasped instead.
Obviously hoping she'd hug him and smile.
He'd picked gladiola.
Her nine year old son came in bearing flowers.
It was a sunny day.
One year had passed since her mother had died.

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 27: Along Longer Lines

Today the challenge is to write longer, haiku-like lines, with seventeen syllables in each line.  The syllable count in this potpourri, using lines and rejoinders old and new -- would you call it a poem? -- got a bit carried away, and galloped off at an average rate of twenty.

by Shirley Smith Franklin

If wishes were horses and horses could ride, why don't we invite horses inside?
If a penny saved is a penny earned,  why aren't piggy banks bursting at their seams?
When a stitch in time saves nine, why, by now isn't the whole world a safer place?
When you look before you leap, you might remember other promises to keep.
They say he or she who laughs last, laughs best, but where's the joke, and who's laughing now?
They say rolling stones gather no moss, but they flatten everything in their way.
Settle arguments before dark, debts before borrowing; better yet, don't have them.
See beauty in everything, look in the mirror. Reflect on what you see there.

Monday, May 2, 2016

NaPoWriMo 2016, Day 26: Say It Again!

Today's challenge, a 'call and response' poem, ala sermons and hymns, folk songs from many nations, work chanties, or cheers.  Googling 'call and response' brings up plenty of examples. A website called SongFacts lists a number of popular songs of this type. Another mentions Ella Jenkins' songs for children, including the catchy (which ones of hers aren't?!) "Jambo," that was popular with some of my first grade classes.

I'm wondering whether repetition of the last lines of stanzas qualifies as 'responding'--'anybody out there know?  I'm thinking of working both response and last-line-repetition into whatever comes out of the pen (computer) today...stay tuned!  [In the end, I just used the refrain line as italicized in the poem below, a frivolous combination of words that happened to rhyme.  Make of it what you will, and, if you would be so kind, please send your impressions and comments my way!]

The Campaign
by Shirley Smith Franklin

Strangest political campaign in years
Tell us, average voters, what are your fears?
Trump! Frump! Heffalump!

Listen to the candidates tout their stuff
denounce their opponents, create mythic fluff,
Trump! Frump! Heffalump!

Hubris and promises made over beers,
move us to laughter or sometimes to tears.
Trump! Frump! Heffalump!

Let one of them make the smallest mistake,
others soon calculate which tack to take.
Trump! Frump! Heffalump!

He's winning, she's winning, that one is out,
'confusing to know what this is about.
Trump! Frump! Heffalump!

He scorns women, he even flouts it.
She asks,'What do men know about it?'
Trump! Frump! Heffalump!

He says the country's become a dump,
get on with the vote, get over this hump.
Trump! Frump! Heffalump!

She's got ideas for making things fair.
He has more money, his power is there.
Trump! Frump! Heffalump!

Heaven knows the future's going to be rough;
dissention, contention are not good stuff.
Trump! Frump! Heffalump!

Economic bust or economic boom;
can you see the elephant in this room?
Trump! Frump! Heffalump!

Although this sorry scene may be amusing,
Vote for the candidate least confusing.
Trump! Frump! Heffalump!

Lest nations, in dismay, while looking askance,
politely demur when they're asked to dance.
Trump! Frump! Heffalump!

Lest our country be diminished, fail to thrive,
under a leader unable to drive.
Trump! Frump! Heffalump!

NaPoWriMo Day 24: Breathless

Breathless, determined to 'catch up' on last month's poetry challenge, exercising the brain, I tell myself, at every possible moment, 'Exercise the aging brain!  'Must keep fit!' (What is 'fit'? who determines the parameters?) So. Day twenty four's challenge starts playfully enough:  generate two lists of words, one of high-falutin', overly poetic (?), little-used words, the other of quotidian (now there's one of the first for ya'!), over-used, hum-drum words.  Then mix and match in a poem: form, length, and theme wide open.  Well! 'Sounds pretty much like 'doin' what comes naturally.' But feels forced when approached intentionally!

Big-shot words:  hyperbole, perspicacity, embolism (yikes, where did that one come from?), quotidian, candor, fraught, fusillade, emblematic, burgeoning, dimity, prurient, surmise, prescient, twit, magnanimous, evanescence, prim, perdition, perfect', regimen, repugnant, resurgent, sovereignty

Everyday words:  cup, poor, kind, know, tweet, open, yawn, sunshine, per'fect, good, diet, cute, yeah, later, busy, wash, game, deal, see, dump, cool, stuff, like, dishwasher, table, coffee, fast food, training, security, password

Mish Mash Poem: A Portrait in Mixed Parlance
(embarassedly to say) by Shirley Smith Franklin

His yawn was the perfect kind 
to convey his repugnant sovereignty,
emblematic of comments
like, 'Yeah, cute,' fraught with candor
as good as a dishwasher
burgeoning magnanimous
over 'cool stuff' like fast food.
I surmised him, thus saying,
to be a quotidian twit.

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 25: Starter Poem

Today's prompt is not new, but a fun one I and many other poets have done before: use a line from another poem as a starter for a new one, not re-writing the first, whether known or new, but just plucking out a single line and going from there.  See what happens.  Here's one from a brief 'moral'
poem which my mother sometimes quoted for me in times of stress:  "Be like the bird..." by Victor Hugo. Searching for the author led me to other good quotations where the bird is a positive model, one by Rabindranath Tagore, another by a Rev. Burt, both of these in thee arly twentieth century. Great minds in the same vein, or one inspired by the other??

You Can
by Shirley Smith Franklin

Be like the bird,
such good advice
by Christ himself
poets, writers
throughout ages
in many ways
in many forms
but all come 'round
to simple terms,
content to live
one day at a time,
just be, just be,
I can do this,
you can adjust,
build a good nest,
keep on singing,
weather the storm,
trust God to be,
cling to the branch,
lean into the wind,
let go, fly free,

Sunday, May 1, 2016

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 23: Better Late Than Never

Day twenty three, and napowrimo suggests we write a sonnet.  Unhh, I am veering away from such strict forms...why? I search and search for my book, POETIC FORMS, but find it not. Lame excuse.

Napowrimo elaborates, that, beyond the usual forms of sonnets, there is basically a question posed, explored in the form of ideas that might answer the question, and conclusions are proffered, to arrive at an answer the question, i.e., an answer is given.  Here, form is not such a major concern. Oh! Why oh why didn't someone tell me this earlier?  I may be a poet after all! (haha)

Napowrimo suggests that it helps, to keep the form tight, not rangy, and to use the poem's brevity as a goad. In any case, here is trying my hand at such a sonnet. I intentionally use dated language and deliberately truncate some grammatical forms, i.e. abbreviated conventions.  I am not done with this one yet...'can already see how to tighten it up some more...I'll be back to this page, whether on TLPOP or not.

What Is It, About Spring?
by Shirley Smith Franklin

What is there about spring
makes it so amazing?
Is it that bud and sprout,
make new, and roe of trout
is spewed upon a stream?
Summer isn't summing up,
winter isn't winning,
leaves fall, but that's not all;
there's also more to spring.
Could spring be metaphor
for something, returning,
'come better, more and more?
Resilient. You. Me. Yes.