2019 Day 17 – Map

Why did you think I’d tell you where to go?
I only show what is and isn’t there.
The path is yours to choose, you know.

With every step you take the choices grow.
Take this road or the next – why should I care?
Why did you think I’d tell you where to go?

I show the hills, but not the ice and snow,
The wolf that waits for you to reach its lair.
The path is yours to choose, you know.

I make no judgements. Let the record show
That I was never biased or unfair.
Why did you think I’d tell you where to go?

No matter if your journey’s fast or slow
I let you trace your passage through each square.
The path is yours to choose, you know.

Follow your heart, or trust the dice you throw,
Or travellers’ tales or Tarot cards or prayer.
Why did you think I’d tell you where to go?
The path is yours to choose, you know.

 

Notes: “Today, I’d like you to challenge you to write a poem that similarly presents a scene from an unusual point of view.” If a map could talk…

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2019 Day 16 – This Is My Hand

This is my hand.
It has four fingers and a thumb.
This is my hand.
The ends of the fingers are red and rough from chewing; the thumb also.
This is my hand.
The skin over the finger joints is loose; it sags.
This is my hand.
It can write poems.
This is my hand.
The ends of the fingers are wrinkled from washing up.
This is my hand.
There is a blue vein standing out from the back. It squishes when you press it.
This is my hand.
In the winter the fingers turn white, then purple, then red, or sometimes all three together.
This is my hand.
It can stroke cats.
This is my hand.
There is a trace of chocolate under one fingernail. I can’t think how that got there…
This is my hand.
One fingernail has a ragged edge. This annoys me but my scissors are in the bathroom. I may chew it off.
This is my hand.
I have forgotten what the lines on my palm mean. Which is the life line, and which the heart?
This is my hand.
It can weave wire.
This is my hand.
Lately it cramps into strange shapes at unexpected moments.
This is my hand.
It is softer than you’d think.
This is my hand.
My fingers may be shrinking. Or maybe my rings are expanding. Either way, they’re loose.
This is my hand.
It can hold your hand.

Notes: “Today, I challenge you to write a poem that uses the form of a list to defamiliarize the mundane. ” Well, I managed a list about something mundane, in any case.

2019 Day 15 – Ado

No-one ever talks about the women of Sodom.
Funny that – you’d almost think
They didn’t matter.
I knew them. They were my neighbours,
Gossiping around the well on sunny mornings,
Swapping recipes and stories of our children.
Sometimes they shared (quietly, half whispered)
Other stories too
Of unwanted hands grasping, of forced kisses.
No-one talks about the children of Sodom:
The little girls who never grew up
To gossip and cook and share stories,
The little boys who had not yet learned
To treat women as things to be used.
When the strangers came, and my husband offered
My girls in their place to the lusting mob
I knew
He was not so different.
He gathered us like chattels as he fled.
I would have gone with him anyway –
What other choices did I have? –
But I looked back for the women of Sodom
And the children.
I took their tears into myself; now I am still as salt.
Someday it will rain.

 

Notes: “Today, I’d like to challenge you to write your own dramatic monologue. ”  Lot’s wife is named in some traditions as Ado or Edith.

2019 Day 14 – Imaginary Menagerie

Oh what a bore! The boar’s got out
And so’s the deer, my dear.
What’s more, they’re headed for the moor
And they won’t be back, I fear.
The lion’s lying by the door
While the daw stares from the stair
And the raven’s raving ‘Nevermore’
While the hare’s doing her hair.
The seal’s still waxing lyrical
About sealing wax and pickets
And the bat is bawling for a bat and a ball –
Wants the cricket to pick it for cricket.
I won’t pander to pandas – it’s not fair that their fare
Is so fussy and hard to obtain
And I’ve made myself hoarse as I called for the horse
To remain while I plaited its mane.
I can’t bear this – the bear has gone AWOL again
And I’ve barely caught sight of the swallow
So I’ll go back inside and swallow my pride
And hope that the pride will all follow.

 

Notes: “Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates homophones, homographs, and homonyms, or otherwise makes productive use of English’s ridiculously complex spelling rules and opportunities for mis-hearings and mis-readings.” Seemed like a cue for some animal puns.

2019 Day 13 – Woven

She weaves herself into this cloth,
Hair and blood and dreams and tears,
The twists and knots in light and dark
Of loves and hates, of hopes and fears.

Softly the weave entangles me,
Hair and blood and dreams and tears,
Cobweb light, yet woven strong
Of loves and hates, of hopes and fears.

She wraps my heart, my nights, my days,
Hair and blood and dreams and tears,
Till I become the pattern too
Of loves and hates, of hopes and fears.

 

Notes: “Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something mysterious and spooky! Your poem could be about something that is mysterious and spooky in a bad way (like a witch), or mysterious and spooky in a good way (possibly also like a witch? It depends on the witch, I guess!) Or just the everyday, mysterious, spooky quality of being alive.” I wanted to suggest a spell or incantation with the repeated lines.

2019 Day 12 (b) – If Tomorrow

If tomorrow I should lose this tongue
The words will echo in my head
And I will hear the songs unsung.
If tomorrow I should lose this tongue
I know the bell can still be rung.
After all is done and said,
If tomorrow I should lose this tongue
The words will echo in my head.

 

Notes “Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem about a dull thing that you own, and why (and how) you love it. Alternatively, what would it mean to you to give away or destroy a significant object?”  Literally and metaphorically. The form is a triolet.

 

2019 Day 11 – Valley

The valley’s in my blood still,
Under my skin
Like the blue scars of coal-mapped miners.
Despite the best efforts of Oxford and the BBC
My voice still holds a trace
Of Sunday morning chapel
And Max Boyce.
I come from hills green with rain
And yet
It’s the bright days I remember most,
Skin sun-touched as I climbed to the Lion Stone.
The houses seemed so small from there.
I wandered where I liked.
So did the sheep,
Lambing in the doorways of back gardens
And stealing food from bins.
The only road led out
And in the end I took it.
I went back once – back home, I almost said.
I’d grown; the valley hadn’t.
It didn’t fit me any more.

 

Notes: The prompt-‘ We’d like to challenge you to write a poem of origin. Where are you from? Not just geographically, but emotionally, physically, spiritually?’ The Lion Stone is a local name for the remains of Bodringallt Colliery overlooking Ystrad.  When a miner is injured, coal dust in the wound creates blue scars – which is called ‘being mapped.’

2019 Day 10 – Raining Cats and Dogs

We talk about the weather to avoid
Conversation. “It’s raining cats and dogs,” we say.
A neutral topic stops us fighting. Weather
Is safe enough, won’t get us too annoyed.
We watch the weather vane lest we should spend the day
Fighting like cats and dogs. The summer rain
Brings common cause to grouch and gripe together.
Like cats, like dogs, we have no words to fight our pain.

 

Notes: The prompt was ”Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that starts from a regional phrase, particularly one to describe a weather phenomenon. ‘ I’d already written a sunshower poem for a previous NaPoWriMo (https://flutterbynapowrimo.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/casamento-da-raposa/ ) so I opted for the more homely ‘raining cats and dogs). The form is a san san.

2019 Day 9 – Things I May Forget

Things I may forget:
Your name,
Your face,
The colour of your eyes,
Which button ripped off from your shirt
In our hasty undressing.

But not
Your laugh,
Your scent,
The angle of your shoulder,
The warmth of your hands on the small of my back
Gently pressing.

 

Notes: The prompt ‘Today, I’d like to challenge you to write your own Sei Shonagon-style list of “things.”’. This was going to be a longer poem, but life got in the way.