Sunday, April 29, 2007

NaPoWriMo #26 and 27

I was having a lazy day yesterday, and didn't write anything. Acutally, I was planning to try and write a villanelle using a line from my poem from the previous day - "waking from a dream of flight". It seemed like a good idea, until I realised that I didn't really have anything more to say than I'd said in the short poem, and anything I added would be just padding.

I feel that writing metrical rhymed poetry is akin to being able to draw accurately for visual artists. If you choose to write unrhymed, loosely metred verse, or to paint abstract paintings, it should be because you choose to. It's good to know that you have the technical skills in the background if you want them. So from time to time, I try to write rhymed metrical verse - not usually to my satisfaction, but I enjoy the challenge.

So, the first poem today is for the prompt "circle", and the second is another attempt at a villanelle, using an incident from my eldest daughter's childhood. I'm not really satisfied with the last stanza. And it doesn't quite read smoothly in places. Still, it's a lot closer to what I want to be writing than the one I posted on Thursday. I skipped the previous prompt, "improper". On the whole though, I wouldn't have been able to write a poem a day without the help of the prompts which you can find at Poetry Thursday


Nothing is as round as happiness
It is the shape
of a ball, a balloon,
a bubble,
a hula hoop,
a dog chasing its tail
in circles on the sand

Nothing is as round as happiness
except sorrow
the shape
of a stone

Villanelle for Deborah

Deborah has seen a dead bird in the gutter
Its eyes are dull and it is gathering flies
She wants to take it home and put it in water

I have one eye on the time and the other on the weather
and therefore I am trying to hurry her by
when she stops to inspect the dead bird in the gutter

She still thinks a kiss can make a graze better
Daddy mended the moon and set it in the sky
and flowers last forever in water.

When you are three, it's the small things that matter:
blowing bubbles, watching them fly
and stopping to see a dead bird in the gutter

I'm not quite ready to tell my daughter
today's flowers are different from yesterday's
not everything can be cured with water

No manual prepared me for this: I mutter
some excuse to hurry away
She looks over her shoulder at the bird in the gutter
still wanting to save it by giving it water.


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Nice work! I think that for me, the water motif doesn't come through until the last two stanzas of the second poem. It's there, but I don't get it until then.

Ahh... I get it. The word water doesn't recur in all the stanzas. And then it's in the last few, with the same idea of curing/saving.

Hope that helps; I'm here from Michele and unfortunately, she sent a fiction writer, not a poet your way today!

Catherine said...

Thanks Susan - a villanelle has a very particular structure, the first and last lines of the first stanza are repeated alternately, except in the last stanza where they both recur. I have changed the lines a little each time they repeat, instead of repeating them exactly. I didn't want to give it all away at the beginning - a three year old's thinking can be quite obscure to an adult mind, after all!

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I LOVE both these poems....They are really wonderful Catherine...! So visual and emotional, my way of thinking, that is not easy to do.
BTW: I am here from Michele's tonight...!

Anonymous said...

"She wants to take it home and put it in water"

Hey, I remember your telling me about this incident. I am happy you made it into such an effective and beautiful poem.

Jan said...

That's what it's all about isn't it....a memory, a glimpse... painted into a wonderful poem to stay with you for ever and ever.

craziequeen said...

I like the villanelle, the images illustrated are timeless and vivid.

Michele sent me to check out your poetry today.

January said...

I like both poem. The first one surprised me, which is nice because it's such an economical and direct poem.

And the villanelle certainly captures the tender feelings of innocence vs experience. Nicely done!

Kristen said...

nice - i'd not heard of a villanelle - so i looked it up. definitely something specific.

i'm here via michele's but i also see that you read RSR - DebR is a friend of mine *beam* small world! :D