There were so many enticing word-related opportunities lately, I overloaded myself and had to pull back. Here is the result of one that I enjoyed through a local group called The Village Writers School. The writing exercise briefly pulled me out of poetry into short-story writing. It was a 15-minute challenge based on a choice of prompts. The prompt I chose was “First Impressions.” Here is how it went:
Some blogging things I tried lately didn’t suit me or my current life, so I shifted them aside. Oh the other hand, I re-immersed in poetry writing and publishing. Today, taking National Puppy Day as my poem prompt, I created this to share:
~ ♥ Jo
Dog by Alice10 at Morguefile
Puppy Poem by Jo Lightfoot
What are the ABC’s, the rudiments, of your life? I reviewed my own when one of our basic bill’s came in much higher than last month, with no explanation or prior announcement of the increase. Unexpected price jumps like this come as a jolt.
These are my poems from April. There are several reasons why I included all of them rather than making selections… Including the good, bad, and ugly may help readers better understand poem creation… None require being kept private… The variety demonstrates how poetry can serve as one’s diary, sounding board, imaginative play, spiritual practice, and therapy. (As usual, these poems are still drafts, not final versions, so please ask for permission before sharing, except by linking to this website. Thank you.)
I’m in a furious tantrum
I can’t even remember
I learn to forget
a little quicker.
I will simply forget
Voilà! —instant peace.
[ASIDE: “Serenity now!!!” was the theme
of one Jerry Seinfeld episode that I found
impressive and insightful.]
What to say?
I used to think my writing would foster and help preserve meaningful life events. I further expected that these recorded experiences and discoveries would later prove helpful to people in some way. But what generally happens is this: During key times of intense exploration and insight, the writing evaporates almost entirely.
“How do poems come to be?”
I was invited to answer that question recently. After a decade of writing poems, I could honestly answer, “Any which-way.” Today’s “Trading Partners” is a good example. It derived from the crow tracks pictured above. Other influences can be tracked as well…
These are some of my favorite poems this month. (They are still drafts, not final versions, and may not be shared outside this website without permission. Thank you.)
* * *
As a poet, why have I avoided traditional forms so long? …Arrogance, laziness, freedom, efficiency—or what? My response is: All of the above, plus a good dose of fear. To me, it seemed a violation of an emergent poem’s integrity to stuff it in a straitjacket of just so many lines, beats per line, rhyme patterns, or even a prescribed mood or theme. “Let the poem make its own choices,” I protested, considering myself more midwife than mother. Besides, following all those writing rules is hard work.
It didn’t seem like a very promising afternoon for a walk. I turned back just after leaving the house to grab an umbrella. But it never rained. In fact, the gray clouds lightened and lifted, and the sun almost broke through by the time I reached the lake. No one else was at the boat ramp, so I found a sizable rock to sit on and silently fell in with the scene.
After a decade of writing near-daily poems, I’m surprised at how often I’m surprised doing it. When I don’t come to the task ready with a topic, I often simply position the pencil over the paper, clear my mind, and wait for some kind of flow (words, images, or emotions). If I resist writing whatever first appears, that resistance sets up a blockage. So no matter what comes, I welcome it, even if no poem results. In every case, though, a wonderful gift arrives—an absurdity, a memory, an exploration of pain, or something else altogether.
Writing this way is akin to dreaming. It taps into normally hidden or disowned realms of consciousness. Once retrieval is made, analysis can begin. Today’s poem-writing process illustrates that adventure.