This one is for You – NaPoWriMo 2017, day thirty – prompt: write a poem on something you do again and again.

This One is for You

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Who would do that?

Well, I have to tell you

that my ophthalmologist

does it, but only because

we don’t just talk about eyes,

we talk poetry. I write the poems

he is the one who files them.

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And, it goes like this.

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For the past four years

he performs on me, a procedure

which is fodder for my pen.

The more remarkable moments

in the continuing course of injections.

Yes I said injections and they are to

the eyeballs (both of them.) Though

I have now had twenty eyeball

injections, on four of these occasions

I have written poems for his team.

It happened with the very first visit

and I thought that would be it. But

it intrigued, sometimes frightened,

me so that I continued to write about then.

Each one is different.

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Things could not have been worse,

when on one occasion at that critical

moment of needle entry to eyeball

someone knocked the chair, Connie,

I wrote one for her to set her mind at rest.

It’s to the patients’ advantage to keep

the team cool and relaxed. If I can

do this so can you, is the approach

I take. And when they jab I have

already put my mind into the ancient

practice of ‘nothingness’. It works.

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Two more poems have followed;

four for the team but this one is

for you because you asked me

to write a poem about something

I do again and again. So I started

afresh on the subject. This one is

for you about something I do again

and again. My ophthalmologist recently

said, “this is getting boring”. I think soon

he will try something new. Let’s hope

whatever it is it will be a once only thing.

Benita H. Kape © 20.4.2017

And finally, our final prompt – at least until next year! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something that happens again and again (kind of like NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo). It could be the setting of the sun, or your Aunt Georgia telling the same story at Thanksgiving every single year. It could be the swallows returning to Capistrano or how, without fail, you will lock your keys in the car whenever you go to the beach.

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Petals: Now Let Us Engage Her Elsewhere – NaPoWriMo 2017, day twenty-nine – prompt: choose concrete noun from fav. poem then free writing, adjectives, other nouns – go ahead write a poem.

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Petals: Now Let Us Engage Her Elsewhere

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Somewhere in the poem

there will be a small child.

She is always talkative, and busy.

Sometimes she is deeply engaged.

We must explain everything at

her level so that she may

more fully understand.

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Today her animation centres

around flowers. But wait,

she goes back for leaves;

another flower, or part thereof,

plucking so quickly she brings

little in her hand. She is running

back for more but we must call

her in from the rain.

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When she comes, her warm hands

brush mine with a single petal

and staring back at the blank, barely

discernible, space,  certainly not

a half plucked bloom, she begins

to cry and cries the more

on seeing that the oblong petal,

having been singularly plucked

can never be put back whole.

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When the rain stops we show her

this happens to plants anyway.

Flowers drop petals, drop flowers.

She pulls back unconvinced.

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Now let us engage her elsewhere

lest our/her small timeframe is lost.

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Benita H. Kape © 29.4.2017

And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I’d like to challenge you to take one of your favorite poems and find a very specific, concrete noun in it. For example, if your favorite poem is this verse of Emily Dickinson’s, you might choose the word “stones” or “spectre.” After you’ve chosen your word, put the original poem away and spend five minutes free-writing associations – other nouns, adjectives, etc. Then use your original word and the results of your free-writing as the building blocks for a new poem.

The poem I chose was by Brian Turner, Otago, New Zealand “Flowers”.

Petal was my key noun. Petal, in that poem, was used in a way one didn’t quite expect. There was definitely no child in Brian’s poem.

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Tease and Torment – NaPoWriMo, day twenty-eight – prompt Skeltonic verse

storm clouds

Storm clouds over my street – southern hemisphere in May

Tease and Torment

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Every awful wet day

the cruel month of May

will heavily out-weigh

the short and the stray

of autumn’s fresh breeze.

winter’s cool auxiliaries

chasing us all overseas;

we love the Hawaii’s.

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Or we might travel on

to China or Taiwan.

Come with me, Juan,

I wish to prolong

a happy arrangement;

promising it well spent

tease and torment

cancel every dissent.

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I see you are willing

Our hearts spinning

place of good feeling.

Good times are building

our cup is over-brimming

Nothing is missing.

Nothing is missing.

Nothing is missing.

Benita H. Kape © 27.4.2017

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem using Skeltonic verse. Don’t worry, there are no skeletons involved. Rather, Skeltonic verse gets its name from John Skelton, a fifteenth-century English poet who pioneered the use of short stanzas with irregular meter, but two strong stresses per line (otherwise know as “dipodic” or “two-footed” verse). The lines rhyme, but there’s not a rhyme scheme per se. The poet simply rhymes against one word until he or she gets bored and moves on to another. Here is a good explainer of the form, from which I have borrowed this excellent example:

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Variety Makes the Taste Buds Grow Fonder – NaPoWriMo 2017, day twenty-seven -prompt: taste

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Variety Makes the Taste Buds Grow Fonder

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Friday is a busy day for me.

Skipped breakfast, apart from a cup of tea

Though lunch was healthy,

Sticks of raw celery, apple, carrot, and peppers.

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Friday is a busy day for me.

Now, what should I have for dinner?

Fish & chips, pie, and mushy peas?

No chance I’ll grow any thinner.

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Friday’s a busy day for me.

Shopping and choir practice.

But late evening I indulge

Enjoying a few treats of chocolate.

Benita H. Kape © 27.4.2017

And last but not least, here’s our (optional) prompt! Many poems explore the sight or sound or feel of things, and Proust famously wrote about the memories evoked by smell, but today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that explores your sense of taste! This could be a poem about food, or wine, or even the oddly metallic sensation of a snowflake on your tongue.

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Three Lives of a Cheese Board – NaPoWriMo, 2017 – day twenty six – item from an archaeological dig. Haibun

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Three Lives of a Cheeseboard

 

The site of this excavation, a humble cottage, late twentieth century. It seems the item handed me is in the shape of a bottle, dark green glass, and I deduct it as having originally contained local wine. Looking at it closely we doubt we will find any possible traces of wine.

Further study is warranted as it is clear this item had gone on to a second, creative use. Under heat, yet retaining the original cylindrical shape has been flattened. What was the upper neck, of the bottle, has been wound around with twine which appears in excellent condition. Though it appears that this item hung on a wall, perhaps as decoration, the outer limits of objet d’art, we believe its true function was as a cheese board, a lovely simple functional cheese board. (There are moments when doing our excavations I just want to tuck a found item into my rucksack.)

The hour to drop our tools for the day grows near. A wine or two before dinner will relax me.

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the moon a tipsy green cheese

found items

held up to the late sun

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Traces of cheese were found in the twine.

Benita H. Kape © 26.4.2017

And now for our (optional) prompt! Have you ever heard someone wonder what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us? Today, I’d like to challenge you to answer that question in poetic form, exploring a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist? The object or site of study could be anything from a “World’s Best Grandpa” coffee mug to a Pizza Hut, from a Pokemon poster to a cellphone.

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Spaced – out – NaPoWriMO, 2017 – day 25 – prompt: write about a small space, a box

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SPACED-OUT

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It becomes an escape

to a wilderness of wildflowers.

Though small, it has all

the space I could want.

When we bought the house

we freshened all the rooms

but this one. Why it waited

such a long time? I have no

excuse.

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In the end, I tackled this room,

our bathroom.

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(Excuse me, I’m multi-tasking

as I write this poem, watching

the mid-day news; retired but

still busy every hour of the day.)

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Back to poetry and a small room.

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When I tackled this room

I had such a short time frame

to get it completely freshened

while the family on holiday.

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Plenty of sanding and preparing;

Painting. Exacting wallpaper,

fitting leaf to leaf, flower to flower.

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The only tradesman required I called

in for the tiling. I stood back

and admired my handiwork,

smiles all over my dusty sweaty

face, Knowing that at the end

of my seventh decade, I’d done it,

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And wow, what

a struggle, climbing a ladder perched

in the bath, to get these two corners

completed. Yeah, but I did it.

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And now, when I take a long lingering

soak in the bath, entertain my muse,

wander in a garden of wildflowers:

I’m spaced-out. No one mentions

the long time it took me to do this,

but hey I don’t care. I’m spaced-out.

Benita H. Kape © 25.4.2017

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And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always). In 1958, the philosopher/critic Gaston Bachelard wrote a book called The Poetics of Space, about the emotional relationship that people have with particular kinds of spaces – the insides of sea shells, drawers, nooks, and all the various parts of houses. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that explores a small, defined space – it could be your childhood bedroom, or the box where you keep old photos. It could be the inside of a coin purse or the recesses of an umbrella stand. Any space will do – so long as it is small, definite, and meaningful to you

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Magical Beasts – NaPoWriMo 2017, day 24 – ekphrasis poem based on marginalia

Top this

Top This 

Rutland Psalter, c. 1260. (British Library Royal MS

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Magical Beasts – La Monde Reverse

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Should you choose to convey many things,

all at the one time, give a creature, three heads:

a creature which is about to discard his blue

velvet pantsuit; a three-headed dragon and

his wacky companion marshaled to the marginalia

of a holy book. Monty Python genius sashays to mind.

Yes, he’s crazed by his options, his three faces displaying

three different emotions. (Definitely, scenes for John Cleese.)

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How fierce can one be when you are a unicorn

emerging from an exceedingly curly snail tail?

This, even a bewildered Michael Palin, could not

achieve. Or was this abhorrent creature displaying

his anger, perhaps because he’s at the bottom of the page?

(Now that assuredly a Palin position.) Elsewhere,

in the marginalia, a surreal Graham Chapman. This team

queered our world and the full La Monde Reverse

of the medieval worlds was never beyond them. It’s

a cartoon world we can but guess at. It would take

a lifetime to unravel but let us look on.

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A bespoke hare uses a man cum snail as his stead;

he carries a spear and a shield And balancing

on the vine a few feet in front of him, another

hare, a startled hare, startled because he carries

a monkey on his shoulder: a burden for any

startled hare. Did he not know the monkey was there?

Does he object because the monkey too has a spear

and a shield, about to take down the untroubled hare

from his vine balancing unbalanced snail?

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Another vine sweeps over a forger and his forge,

a sweet cathedral to his humble labours. I imagine

he is used to his flimsy skirt, not fashioned to soak

up the sweat which trickles down his bare leg

dampening his pixie footwear while in the garden

his sister Nun plucks penises from the phallus tree.

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I leave you with these two knights

swords drippings blood, each holding

their grotesque, blood drained heads,

in their hands. And the vine on which

they balance twitters profanely on and on;

in rich marginalia; strange playfulness

everywhere. If you’ve watched Monty

Python, this is where it came from.

Benita H. Kape © 24.4.2017

Blue pant suit

Blue Pantsuit

Magical beasts in the Rutland Psalter, c. 1260. (British Library Royal MS

. Today, I challenge you to write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art. But I’d also like to challenge you to base your poem on a very particular kind of art – the marginalia of medieval manuscripts. Here you’ll find some characteristic images of rabbits hunting wolves, people sitting on nests of eggs, dogs studiously reading books, and birds wearing snail shells. What can I say? It must have gotten quite boring copying out manuscripts all day, so the monks made their own fun. Hopefully, the detritus of their daydreams will inspire you as well!

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