Thursday, May 10, 2007

Random Acts of Poetry

It's Thursday again! And now that NaPoWriMo has finished, and my second part time job has also finished, I have some free time to get things done. Which means that I am getting nothing done. I guess I can forgive myself for a week of zoning out.

However, among my e-mail was Eric Maisel's "Creativity Newletter". In it he suggests an interesting exercise: "take your medicine". In other words, treat your writing as if it's medicine - not that it's something nasty, but schedule it four times a day - fifteen minutes at 8 am, noon, 4 pm and 8 pm. Once I would have said "I can't write four times a day". NaPoWriMo has taught me that it's easier than you think to sit down and write. And fifteen minutes is not that much. It's possible to write for fifteen minutes in my lunch break, on days when I'm at work - and if I'm working, or driving, at 4 o'clock, well, I can do it when I get home, and again in the evening before bed.

Not that I have written four times a day, but I'm beginning to recognize that it's possible. I've been writing in the morning, mostly my CV and job applications. I've been writing at lunchtime, and this is when the Poetry Thursday randomizer is just what I need. I can't work on editing my poems, because I like to read them aloud when I do that. And I can't work on my family history, because I need all my research material at hand. But I can noodle around and brainstorm for ideas, and that's what I've been doing.

On Sunday I was orienteering, and this is the poem that resulted, using one of Poetry Thursday's random prompts "copper". I wanted to put a Common Copper Butterfly into the poem, but I had to admit that there weren't any. I managed to sneak the word in, anyway.

Running in the Alps

There is nothing spectacular here
except the mountains, which surround
this level basin where we run
in all directions through the pines.
The ground is carpeted with small
unnamed plants – mosses, lichens,
shrubs so low they form a thin cushion
that supports our steps. In the clearings
the fine seedheads of grasses a foot high
gleam copper and gold in the autumn sun.
We make tracks through them, believing
they will spring up again at the next rain.
But I avoid treading on the white flowers
scattered like stars in constellations
among the flat scrub. Tiny flies and midges
dance in the cool still air, and there is no sound
except footsteps and distant cicadas.
My brother once employed a man
who left out little unimportant words
like “not”, when writing his reports.
Let me never assume I know
which are tiny unimportant things.

15 comments:

Scotty said...

Nice one, Katherine - I liked white flowers scattered like stars in constellations among the flat scrub - nice photo too. :-)

Crafty Green Poet said...

sounds (and looks) like a lovely place! The ending to your poem is wonderful.

Rob Kistner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob Kistner said...

Excellent Catherine, really excellent. Rich imagery and poignant.

Pauline said...

read this to myself and thought, oh yes, and then read it aloud and was entranced. It has such a beautiful rhythm, almost like running, and the ending is so fine!

Dave said...

Very well composed, and a sentiment I strongly agree with.

gautami tripathy said...

I too agree. Love the ending.

jim said...

4 times a day? I wonder. . . . On one hand, sounds very healthy, and on the other hand, sounds like one of those prescriptions I have a hard time following. If I skip one, do I double up the next dosage? And what then?

Glad I got to your incredibly sensible poem to save me from my own endless questions. I like the quirky introduction of the incompetent report-writer.

Tammy said...

Nice job! I enjoyed the stars very much.

Jessica said...

I love the ending, especially the guy who writes reports with omitted words. What a surprising detail!

Mike Mc said...

Interesting collection of perceptions, thanks.

Pip said...

Evening Catherine! It's nice to be exhanging comments with someone in the same time zone. We really need to swap notes some time, as I am interested in getting into both quilting and orienteering!

Lovely imagery in this poem. I think it's important to remember that the big things can't necessarily exist without the small things. I like too that you are writing about a pine forest, when I've always felt a real resistance to them, feeling them to be so foreign to our landscape.

Incidentally - I just posted 'responsibility' to Poetry Thursday. Phew - NaPoWriMo finally finished!

Catherine said...

Jessica, I remembered the guy who writes reports with omitted words when a little issue came up with our insurance at work. When the policy arrived, the summary said "worldwide not including the United States and Canada" - since 90% of our business is exports to the US, that was a bit useless. It turns out the "not" was a typo and shouldn't have been there!

Pip, this particular pine forest is rather a nice one as it is wilding pines, and they are all different sizes, not the usual rather regular and tame plantation forest.

Dave said...

On re-reading, I find I really like the opening gambit, too. Of course, that may be in part because if it were me, I'd get bored with the scenery in ten minutes and would be down on my knees with the camera, trying to get pictures of those tiny flowers!

Julie said...

I enjoyed reading your poem. What a great idea Poetry Thursday is! I am here from Michele's to say hello! Have a great weekend! :)