Thursday, August 13, 2009

Readwritepoem #87

At Readwritepoem this week we were invited to write poems honouring vowels. My first thought was the letter o, which has always seemed the most poetic to me. There are so many "o" words I love, such as ocean, sorrow, willow, follow, not to mention crow.

However, I have put the letter "o" aside for another time, as I wanted to challenge myself by exploring another letter. I started making lists of "i" words and when I thought of "islands" I was hooked.

Homage to the Letter "i"

The least of letters, it is familiar
to the inhabitants of islands
thin thread in the white ocean
of the page, dotted like a rock in the tide
on which sea bird shit,
while their cries of krik krik krik
hang in the air.

We live in the littoral zone,
migrants washed up with the drift
bits and pieces discarded by sailors
ships' rigging, sticks and string.
Twined lines of bull kelp
litter the shore. Spined fragments of kina.
A pied stilt steps over rusting links
of an anchor chain. It stitches the sand
with its beak, in and out, in and out,
probing for pipis. The wind whips our hair.
We eye the horizon, rim of the Pacific,
do not flinch at the sting of salt.


(I think the second half still needs a little work. I found it quite a challenge to use sufficient "i" words and still have it read well. But, it's much improved on where it was a couple of days ago.)

21 comments:

saphiza said...

I love this, your use of the letter I is beautiful and vivid.

"dotted like a rock in the tide
on which sea bird shit,
while their cries of krik krik krik
hang in the air."
I LOVE this!

Your imagery is so crisp and fresh.
Beautiful job!
If it's alright with you I'd like to post this poem on my blog.

Catherine said...

Please don't post my work on other sites, if you wish to, you may post a link to it.

saphiza said...

As you wish.

Damian said...

I think it's great! THe first half is indeed the best, but there's some nice phrase in the second ('it stitches the stand, probing for pipis'). I wonder if everyone likes 'o' more than the others? I wanted 'o', but tried for 'a', and had trouble.

anthonynorth said...

This flows beautifully.

You'll find mine here.

Derrick said...

Hello Catherine,

I like it all! Particularly the idea of "islands/thin thread in the white ocean/of the page".

Nathan said...

Wonderful use of your chosen sound. Your image of the letter as "dotted like a rock in the tide" is masterful.

gautami tripathy said...

The second stanza worked out fine too!

your yellow shirt contrasts with the pillar

Kill Word Verification

Kay said...

This is wonderful. I like how it has the flavour of the land within its restrictions. Deftly done!
I hope there's time for me to write a poem for this prompt, tomorrow; oh well, we'll see ...

rob kistner said...

I was really drawn in by the visual, physical nature of this piece -- rich and dense... well done!

...rob

briarcat said...

Don't lose that "We live in the littoral zone.." sentence--that's my favourite part. Humans, debris, and migrant birds all part of the same drift.

Tamra said...

Wonderful! That second stanza is full of things that LOOK like i's. For instance,

A pied stilt steps over rusting links
of an anchor chain. It stitches the sand with its beak, in and out, in and out, probing for pipis.

Thanks. I really enjoyed this one.

Dana said...

Ooooh! Very strong poem. You make the "i"s the focal point, with little moments of relief from them when needed, and the whole piece is still steeped in detail that's appropriate to the topic. Wonderful. And ...


Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, happy birthday. Happy birthday to you!

I left you a comment on the prompt post saying what I need from you. I need something. From you. Go see.

djvorreyer said...

bits and pieces discarded by sailors
ships' rigging, sticks and string.

What an interesting image! I really love the picture of the "we" as discarded things.

Pam said...

There are some absolutely wonderful lines in this poem. Your use of the vowel "i" was well done and you drafted a very coherent poem. I can still see the stilt stitching the sand in my mind's eye.

Dave said...

I'm really impressed! I used short i sounds, too, but I don't think my effort was as successful -- I got too stuck on alliteration. I like the self-referential quality of the first stanza, and the way you returned to the image of the eye at the end.

Linda said...

This is my first visit to your site to read your poetry. All the time I was reading your words I was seeing the ocean and the beach in my mind very vividly.
" Stitching" and "rigging" are wonderful words for "i".
I also really liked "flinching at the sting of salt". You have made the most of the least letter and I really enjoyed sharing your homage. Thank you.

caroleesherwood said...

catherine -- i like how you accomplished this with simple, straightforward and common words (while still remaining vibrant, of course). what i mean is that you've done it without showing off big fancy "i" words. i love it! it makes the sounds infused into the piece instead of imposed on top of it.

Wayne Pitchko said...

very nice....like the imagery also

Wanda McCollar said...

I shall never look at the letter "i" again without seeing it as a perch for sea birds, covered in bird shit. Wonderful! Thank you.

Wanda http://synecdochicstuff.blogspot.com

rallentanda said...

Catherine I think this would be a good poem to put on the Distant Shores group.Why are antipodeans so mesmorised by the horizon I wonder?I enjoyed your poem.