Friday, April 30, 2010

NaPoWriMo #30: Not With a Bang but a Whimper

So - April 30 and I am really, really tired. Not so much due to the effort of writing a poem a day, but due to all the other stuff that I have been fitting the poetry writing around.

The April 29 prompt at Readwritepoem (which is April 30 here), was to be inspired by newspaper headlines. So, I looked at our local newspaper and found the headlines very uninspiring. So I went online to New Scientist instead - I have a subscription - and at least I got to catch up with some reading, something I've done little of this month. I jotted down quite a few of the headlines, and just strung some together, more or less, with a very small number of additional words of my own, to come up with this bit of nonsense. Given enough time to collect more headlines, and some more thought, the idea may even have possibilities - there are some pretty strange headlines there.

Not my favourite of the month, but I didn't want to stop one day short of the end.

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

NaPoWriMo #29

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

The prompt at Readwritepoem was Intuition. This poem may or may not be on prompt - it is something that came to me in an intuitive way as I was arriving home from work.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NaPoWriMo #28: Acrostics

At Readwritepoem, Carolee asked us to write an acrostic poem. I'm not a big fan of acrostics - they are the sort of thing that many teachers here seem to have children do in school, always using the letters of their name, and using each letter to start a line describing themselves eg "good friend of James", or "fast runner" etc. I find them indescribably dull.

The problem I have with acrostics is that I always feel that the poem itself has to describe the word that is used to provide the initial letters of the lines. Whatever word I could think of seemed rather limiting, until I thought of "emporium" - one of the two words I didn't use from the Day 22 Wordle prompt (my own prompt).

So, here it is - I doubt I'll bother to do anything with this when the month is out, but at least I haven't missed a day yet.

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NaPoWriMo #27: Scraps from my Notebook

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

NaPoWriMo #26: Overheard Conversations

Today I used the Readwritepoem prompt which was to take the first thing said to me after reading the prompt and use it to spark a poem. Except that I was at the computer, and when I did later join the rest of the family for dinner, I forgot to note the conversation. When I remembered, the first two things that I noted were "It's a post-extinction burst" (a psychology term that the speaker later admitted was slightly mangled) and "What shall I do with my hair?" References to both these phrases turn up in the last stanza.

The form of this poem owes something to the ghazal, although once again I have taken it rather loosely.

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

NaPoWriMo #25: A Sort of Villanelle

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

The prompt was to take a phrase from the Phrase Finder website and use it to spark a poem. The quote I used is in italics at the head of the poem. This comes apparently from Shakespeare's Henry VIII and is alluded to on Keats's tombstone (which in turn is alluded to by me). Inspired by Joseph, I decided to attempt a villanelle, though I am one stanza short, and I was pretty free with the repeated lines, altering them so much that the repetition consists mostly of the final word.

Nevertheless, I find trying to write in form absorbing - a bit like crossword puzzles or sudoku - even if I'm not often satisfied with the results.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

NaPoWriMo #24: Odd Companions

Sage Cohen's prompt at Readwritepoem was to imagine someone in a place they wouldn't normally be, and use that to write a poem.

At this stage of the month, I am feeling all poemed out. And also, I have a lot of magazines to send out this weekend, and before I get together with the other helpers, I need to prepare a bunch of mailing labels, renewal notices etc., which is keeping me pretty busy. However, when inspiration totally fails to strike, I find the best thing to do is stick with the prompt if possible, otherwise I spend all my time sifting through and discarding too many different ideas.

So, I imagined the ringmaster of a circus in Parliament. Actually, it strikes me that Parliament is pretty much a three-ringed circus anyway, so perhaps this is not as unlikely as it seems - at least metaphorically.

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Friday, April 23, 2010

NaPoWriMo #23

The latest prompt at Readwritepoem was a Wordle - it was my turn to contribute a prompt and I had been careful to do my best to "forget" the words I supplied, so that they would come to me fresh.

Given that they included words like "fierce" and "flinch" I thought my poem would tend towards the dark side. However today I attended my sons graduation, and much to my surprise I realised I could write a poem about the event and work nearly all of the words into it. (I missed out "emporium" - although I did use "auditorium" which sounds similar to me - and "dizzy". Perhaps I could have worked those in too, but I didn't want to force it).

As you will see, it is autumn here.

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

(Words I used: squall, fierce, crow, pepper, rust, saffron, reverberate, flinch, tendril, tomorrow)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NaPoWriMo #22: Perfectly Flawed

For the prompt at Readwritepoem

(This piece doesn't have a title yet. It's a little bit of word play incorporating grammar jokes and science jokes among others, and also the fact that averaging out the features of human faces produces a composite that is judged more beautiful than any of the individual faces.)

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

NaPoWriMo #21: Heroes

The muse was a bit slow in visiting me today, but late in the afternoon inspiration struck. The prompt was heroes. This poem is about three special women, and others of their kind. I'm really tired, and I suspect it doesn't do them justice, but it's a start.

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

NaPoWriMo #20

I didn't use a prompt for this one as none of those on offer really inspired me. I took part in a pub quiz last night - a popular outing here in New Zealand - so I managed to come up with this, which I think may be promising with a little editing.

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

NaPoWriMo #19: Cats

For the Day 18 prompt at Readwritepoem. (Yes, it looks as if I post my responses a day late. That's because of the time difference, when the Day 18 prompt went up, it was close to my bedtime for the 18th, even though it was probably around 12.01 a.m. in the US, so I use it for the following day.)

(I'm not sure what the title of this one is yet)

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)
****

OK, I'm writing this in a great hurry, although I have been thinking it over for a few hours, because I've been at work all day, then the supermarket, and am shortly going out for the evening. Usually I write on my coffee break but with a new staff member to show the ropes, I felt obliged to be sociable.

I'm not much of a cat person, but my daughter has a rather intelligent cat (actually, I think the cat has my daughter), and some of the details came from there.

I've been reading the poems of Linda Gregg and was struck by how short and simple many of her sentences were. I tend to write long complicated musings with lots of subordinate clauses, so I tried to simplify the grammar in this one.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

NaPoWriMo #18: Elemental

For Neil's prompt at readwritepoem

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

NaPoWriMo #17

Nothing like a Saturday with supposedly plenty of free time to write, to induce a bout of extreme procrastination. However, if I'm going to reach the end of the month with a poem a day, I have to get something up quickly, so here goes: (this one is for the readwritepoem prompt to write something inspired by "smells" - in my case, pine)

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)
****

Phew! Done, more or less, and it's not midnight yet. Only thirteen days to go. (And then it will be time for some serious revision)>

Friday, April 16, 2010

NaPoWriMo #16: A Song

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)
*****

And yes, the rhyme breaks down a bit in the last stanza, plus there is a Jean missing so I need to add another stanza.
The prompt at readwritepoem was to look at poems that had not quite made it, find a line that called to us and to hum it - turn it into a stanza of a song, and add two more stanzas. But of course this poem really needed more than three stanzas.

The four Jeans are real, they are my great aunt and her three cousins. Traditional Scottish naming patterns means that four Jeans is not excessive. My great uncle David was one of six cousins named David - all the eldest sons named for their paternal grandfather. (Correction - the son of his aunt was the second son. The eldest son was named for the paternal grandfather, and second son for the maternal grandfather. With daughters, the order switched so that the eldest was named for her maternal grandmother and second for the paternal grandmother). Great Uncle David could have been one of ten cousins named David, except that his mother's sister had only daughters, and three of her brothers died before reaching adulthood. But that was just the cousins on his mother's side - he had another two cousins named David on his father's side. My own grandfather John had several cousins named John, and there were also quite a few Thomases, but not as many as the Davids.

In looking over my poems, I found the line "there were four cousins each named Jean" and it seemed made for this prompt.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

NaPoWriMo #15

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)
****

I ignored the Readwritepoem prompt today, feeling it was a bit too challenging for the time available, and used one of the ideas I have queued in my head instead. I hope that I don't run out before the end of the month.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NaPoWriMo #14

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

For Sarah's prompt at readwritepoem.

The first line (which was given) fitted quite well with some lines I had already jotted down. I think it's still a little incoherent - May is going to be a big revision month!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NaPoWriMo #13: Secret Codes

This one is written for Carolee's prompt, which was to think of a message, attribute it to an unlikely object, repeat at will and then use one of the lines to start a poem. Rather than just using one, I have used a number of different objects in my poem. Although it's autumn here, the poem ended up with a spring feel to it.
As always, this is a rough draft - it feels as if it needs a little more at the end, but I like the way it's heading.

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

NaPoWriMo: Day 12

Today I went back to using the prompts supplied at Readwritepoem. The prompt, supplied by Angie Werren, was The One You Didn't Choose. Among the rules given were to choose something concrete - so, a thing, rahter than a path not taken. I was thinking of ignoring the prompt again and using another from my store of poem ideas, but then I remembered a travel incident and came up with the following (dashed down in my coffee break, so, it needs a little revision):

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

NaPoWriMo #11

I suspect there are two sorts of poetry prompts: those that work as a test of ingenuity, which make you feel as if somehow you don't quite measure up, and those that work as an inspiration, drawing out all sorts of ideas that you didn't know you had. Any one prompt of course, can work as either sort for different people - or even for the same person on different occasions.

I've been feeling less inspired by most of the prompts provided at various sites for NaPoWriMo this year, and more as if my ingenuity is being tested. So I've decided instead to work on some of the other poems that are queuing up in my head to be written. Here's today's effort:

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

NaPoWriMo #10

This one was written using Robert Peake's prompt at Readwritepoem.

He gave a list of words of which we were to incorporate twelve, along with something from another poem that didn't pan out (the chestnuts), something that tastes terrible (I'm sure that a number of things in this poem would taste terrible, if I was foolish enough to try it - the dried seed pod, maybe), and a sound that makes you happy (the chestnuts again).

Okay, I'm being a bit loose on the taste there, but I think I met the rest of the requirements. I'm not wildly excited by this piece but I feel as if I'm getting back on track after yesterday's disastrous piece (which will probably disappear from the blog at the end of the month).

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Friday, April 09, 2010

NaPoWriMo #9: Not Like a Red, Red Rose

Over at Readwritepoem Jill asked us to make a list of unusual objects, think of our current love or obsession, and use one item from the list as a metaphor for the object of our affection.

I'm glad it's the weekend coming, because I am beginning to flag. I hope with a little more time I can come up with something a bit better tomorrow. In the meantime, I found myself gazing at office supplies on my desk:

(Disclaimer: This poem may or may not be about a current or past love obsession. I approached it more from the point of view of the objects than from the person being written about).

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Thursday, April 08, 2010

NaPoWriMo #8: Love Tanka

I read somewhere that Zsa Zsa Gabor once said "I know nothing about love, I was always married". Sometimes I feel like that too - having been married to the same man for almost forty years (gulp!), I don't seem to have a great store of romantic incidents to draw on. It's not that there is no love, but everyday steady love is different from "crazy head over heels roller coaster ride falling in and out of love" love. And I don't want to write endlessly about forty year old stories. (I'd rather write about two hundred year old events!)

So, faced with the prompt to write a tanka based on an amusing love incident, what could I write? I hope the following is at least mildly amusing.

(And if it's not, then there are still 22 more days to go)

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

NaPoWriMo #7: An Image Prompt

On days like today I wonder why I let myself in for writing a poem a day for a month.
I left home for work in the morning, then from work picked up my daughter who is cleaning out her flat, dropped her on our doorstep with her bags and boxes, and headed off to the Madras Cafe Bookshop for another in the Canterbury Poets' Collective's autumn poetry reading series.

I finally arrived home after nine, ate dinner then turned to the prompt for the day.
This was Readwritepoem's day 6 prompt (since the prompt doesn't turn up here till the evening, I use it for the next day's poem). The task, to take an image and use it as the basis for a poem. I looked at a number of images last night but nothing inspired me - I think because my poetry tends to be ideas based rather than image based. It often includes images but the idea comes first.

However, on my desk at work was a calendar with rather surreal images from painter Andrew Bond. I brought it home with me and used bits and pieces from several images to compose today's poem - many of the images seem to be a protest against the expansion of dairy farming on the dry Canterbury Plains.

I may expand on this piece in the future, however for now this will have to do.

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

NaPoWriMo #6

Back to work after the Easter break today and suddenly I don't have all day to sit around thinking about what I'll write. I'm not sure that it makes much difference, if I do have all day I tend to procrastinate and push something out in fifteen minutes or so anyway.

I have this fantasy that I should spend hours carefully crafting my poems, but in the end I think most of them are written like this. Then, the ones I don't care about too much get left, and the ones I do care about get set aside for a while, then I return to them and try to refine them so that my face to face writing friends grasp what I really intended in the first place.

Once again, the prompt at Readwritepoem didn't really inspire me. So I pulled another idea from the stock of ideas that I have been putting off actually writing for the last few months. I suspect most of these ideas will prove to be not that great after all. But at least getting them down on paper at last will free me up for something else to flow (I hope). This is from our trip to the UK in 2007, which I am still processing.

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Monday, April 05, 2010

NaPoWriMo #5: Not an Inside Out Poem

The latest prompt at Readwritepoem had me stuck: "inside out". In fact, my brain feels rather fuzzy lately, especially over Easter - too much chocolate and not enough exercise. maybe.

Instead I turned to an idea that had been buzzing round my head for a while and not quite made it out as a poem yet. Mark Twain was apparently born in the year of Halley's Comet, and died in the year it next appeared. The poem however is not about Mark Twain.

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

NaPoWriMo #4: Something Scary

Using the third prompt from Readwritepoem:

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Saturday, April 03, 2010

An Easter Photo



Nellie meets the new rabbit in town

NaPoWriMo #3: Acronyms

RWP stands for Readwritepoem. It also stands for many other things, as revealed by the Acronym Finder. Today's challenge was to take inspiration from the list of other definitions of RWP. I chose two of them to come up with the following rather raw and unedited effort (guaranteed to be biologically, historically and scientifically inaccurate).

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Friday, April 02, 2010

Trees #2

Another one for Carmi.

This is a close up of a nikau palm, taken near Punakaiki on the West Coast of the South Island

NaPoWriMo #2: Doing the Shuffle

Now that the US has joined us in the month of April, I have used the first of the prompts at Readwritepoem for my second poem for the month.
The task was to put my iTunes player on "shuffle", write down the first five song titles that came up, and use them in the order they appeared and without alteration, in a poem.

To be honest, it didn't grab me hugely. The trouble is that pop song titles do tend to invite rather cliched love poems (or falling out of love poems). I wanted to break out of the mould, but it would have taken more than a day to come up with something more imaginative. For what it's worth, here it is (the song titles were Let's Do It, Another Galaxy, Truth You Know, When I See You, and Sure Don't Feel Like Love.

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Thematic Photographic: Trees



We have some rather odd looking trees in New Zealand. This is a lancewood - Maori name horoeka - taken on the West Coast in January, although we also have one in our garden.

For more tree photos, visit Carmi's Thematic Photographic here

NaPoWriMo #1

Happy April everyone! Once again I have agreed to the challenge of writing a poem a day for the month of April. There are a number of prompt sites on the internet that offer a prompt every day for the duration of the challenge. It's the only way I'd get through it - it saves me from spending half the day dithering over what I'm going to write about. My site of choice is Readwritepoem, which I think offers great prompts.

The only problem is that we in New Zealand are a day ahead of much of the rest of the world. Last year, it was nearly bedtime before the prompts appeared. And I just can't bring myself to say that I am writing "a poem a day for the period April 2nd to May 1st." Somehow, it just doesn't seem to induce the same motivation in me. So for my first effort I pulled out a file where I have saved previous Wordles pulled from the Readwritepoem site, and used several of the words in my poem:

indigo, rust, ocean, congregation, punctuate, numinous

(All NaPoWriMo poems have now been removed for possible editing and submissions. Contact me if you would like to read them.)