Today I need to play a poem
write a picture
paint a song.
Today I need to step outside
and let the world come to me.
As the fulfillment of the self imposed quota of poems looms closer, I consider the possibilities. 366 poems. Obviously not all of them are/or will be worthy of publishing – some were just me, grasping at something that rhymed with straw, but all of them helped me to reach the original objective. To write without filters, to ignore the inner critic.
I believe that this year of verse will be a personal acheivement that I will use to propel myself into more and different artistic challenges. It is not simply an achievement because of the 366 poems it spawned, but because I actually managed to summon up the dicipline to write and post something every day for 366 days running. Aside from the usual inescapables (like eating and sleeping) I can’t really think of anything I’ve done every single day in the last year. If I can do this then I can attempt other goals too, and I can reach them. And the reason I posted this and all the poems to my writing blog was because I wanted company when I reached the goal – I wanted other people to say “Hey, I can do that too!” as they set their own personal goals. I still have 29 days to go and I can’t tell you how much your kind words and comments have meant to me along the way. They were often the drop of water in the desert that kept me going.
So – possibilities – I want to publish the book and somehow I will make that happen. It will most likely not contain all of the 366 poems. Rather, it will be a ‘best of’ book. But the poems will live on here at the blog. I may also select about 10 of the poems that seem to lend themselves to being songs, and arrange and record them (I could put the CD into the book!).
I have toyed with the idea of doing a year of ‘a poem a week’ accompanied by artwork. That, perhaps, will get me back to the drawing board – literally!
But whatever I do and whichever artistic turn I take – thank you for joining me on the journey. This journey may be coming to a close but I guarantee there’ll be more!
Stay tuned for the final 29.
“The Poet not Quite at the Bottom of the Well Anymore”
When I’m confused or tired,
sick, or sad, or hurting,
I look for something mindless,
familiar, and diverting.
A book I’ve read a dozen times
a movie memorized
to the point where I can quote
A puzzle with big pieces,
songs I know by heart,
things where I am confident
that I can do my part.
Yes, I like to do the mindless
every now and then
and give my mind a rest
before diving in again
to wrestle with conundrums
life litters ‘long the way.
Yes, I think I’ll take a break
and ‘Do the Mindless’ today.
wind that moves
clouds around and I’d
it in my needles and cones and
it sift through my swaying limbs singing
to my roots and vibrating
the earth with its song
of life of joy of the music
of the spheres as they spin.
Find some land and some wood, build a house.
Use your heart and your brain, find a spouse.
Work when it’s light,
Sleep when it’s night,
When the weather is bad don’t go out.
Find a spade and some seeds, plant a garden.
Add a cow and some hens to the yard and
grow them some food,
they’ll do the same for you.
Get a sensible dog who will guard them.
Find the deadfalls and snags, cut wood
that will fit in your stove and burn good.
dowse a well for your water.
Raise sons and daughters.
build a cellar to hold all your food
There are other things that would be nice,
like a black and white cat to catch mice,
songs you can hum,
guitars to strum,
and books you would read more than twice.
That’s a pretty darn good life.
Lately I’ve been writing more songs than poems. I never have much trouble distinguishing one from the other because songs ususally come with a melody. There has been the occasional time when a poem has crossed over and become a song, but not often (for me anyway). The way poetry and songs are presented seems to me to create a definite distinction in how they’re written. Songs are written to be listened to, poems are written to be read. Poems can be longer, can be lingered over, and can impart impact through line enjambment and other more visual effects. Songs, with some exceptions, are usually within the two and a half to four minute presentation, must grab the listener’s attention, and are supported by the musical accompaniment, the vocalist’s inflections, etc… So two very different forms. And yet sometimes they merge. I find poems more challenging to write; possibly because of the ‘stand alone’ nature of the beast; the words must carry the message on their own. Lyrics share the burden with music and vocal interpretation and that presents another set of challenges.
PS. After a little more research, I find that I am NOT the originator of the anagram poem. In fact there are people so masochistic out there that they have not only written anagrammatic poems, the poems even rhyme. That’s a challenge for another day, I think.
I like challenges.
Like small plastic fishbone tag tethers
That lurk in the necks of new sweaters
Melodies wait to surface and nag
Till both of my hands hold grocery bags.
When both my hands clutch the truck steering wheel
Melody fishbones begin to reveal
Snippets of songs with potential to be
The number one hit that’s the making of me.
But when the truck stops and my sweater’s removed
And the grocery bags are all emptied of food
And I eagerly reach for my pen to write down
The tune that followed me home from downtown
Like the empty bag that lies on the floor
Of the truck and waits till I open the door
It leaps and it stumbles as if it’s possessed
By a drunken magpie in search of its nest
And my number one hit floats away on a breeze.
I guess some songs aren’t meant to be written by me.