Saturday, November 27, 2010

Big Tent Poetry

This week's prompt at Big Tent Poetry was a wordle.
The words offered: hung, ash-pit, forklifted, boiler, nib, clunk, hand, awake, resurfaced, passed, cupped, lush.
I let them sit in my mind for a couple of days until I came across this post at one of my favourite science blogs, The Artful Amoeba.

This is the result (I worked in most of the words)

Mastodon

When he hears the clunk of the blade
in soft soil, the bulldozer driver climbs down
to find a massive bone. This soft earth
cupped in a hollow in the mountains
is now revealed as the site of an ancient swamp.
Lush grass bordered its edges.
Animals blundered in, bogged down,
while the peak hung above.
Work now stops. The driver moves to another job,
experts are called in to see
what has resurfaced.
Later, the driver returns
to read the story, written
not with nib on paper,
but in rows of exhibits - ancient grass seeds,
fragment of an iridescent beetle,
wood marked with glyphs by the teeth
of a prehistoric beaver. He passes
rows of bones - sloth, salamander, bison -
to gaze at the huge tusks,
imagines himself at the controls
of such a beast,
all that opposes him
forklifted and tossed lightly
into the air.
He raises a hand in salute.

*****

It's rough, but I'm not too worried about that. Lately, I've started revising old poems from a year or two back. I've discovered the "housework method" of editing is remarkably successful. I read over and think about the poem for about ten minutes or so. Then I leave it alone and go and do housework. (Gardening works too, or a walk, or a long soak in the bathtub if actual work doesn't appeal). Somehow my subconscious keeps on working at the poem and I figure out what needs fixing, and how to fix it. So I'll probably put this one away for a year or so as well, and then come back to it.

To see what others did with these words, go here.

6 comments:

Tumblewords: said...

I love the competitive thoughts of the forklifter and the vision of living bones...terrific imagery.

liv2write2day said...

Enjoyed your "dig" a lot. Also, there's a lot to be said about the housekeeping mode of revision. I like to allow things to gestate a while before revising, too.

http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/big-tent-poetry-the-gospel-according-to-st-john/

Tilly Bud said...

I like that the driver went back; that it meant something to him.

gautami tripathy said...

I like you way of revising a poem. Will try doing that myself!

marked

hedgewitch said...

Quite a solid effort as is, and good use of the word prompts, they really fold into the language of the piece without any fuss and reinforce it. I agree about revision; I've just started revising and rewriting poems I wrote in the '80's--some of them just slightly tweaked, and some have become quite different beasts. It can be hard to stop forcing and pulling, but sometimes it's the best option.

vivinfrance said...

Very enjoyable poem. And as for your recipe for editing: I'm adopting it forthwith (so long as it isn't copyright!)
ViV