It Helps If I Know (Day 5 NaPoWriMo)

It helps if I know

what direction to follow

composing a new song to sing.

Leading me onward or back

Image and sound

brushing by me

a heartbeat, a message,

a ring of roses.

Relive or relinquish:

loquacious the melody

roves in my mind

over a bottle of wine.

Benita H. Kape (c) 6.4.2021


I took as my example (not exactly after therefore) Elizabeth Smither’s poem “To a Friend With Osteoporosis”: which is a condition I myself have. However, I found myself wanting to take a happy, positive direction. Hence lots of scratching out, especially in the middle stanza. An exercise I thought would flummox me left me a little deflated at how quickly I got there. But I like. But looking back I am a bit short on line length as per ES. I’m short on time for close of Day 5. And I do like to go within that 24 hour timeframe.

“And now for our prompt (optional, as always). I call this one “The Shapes a Bright Container Can Contain,” after this poem by Theodore Roethke, which I adored in high school – and can still recite!

This prompt challenges you to find a poem, and then write a new poem that has the shape of the original, and in which every line starts with the first letter of the corresponding line in the original poem. If I used Roethke’s poem as my model, for example, the first line would start with “I,” the second line with “W,” and the third line with “A.” And I would try to make all my lines neither super-short nor overlong, but have about ten syllables. I would also have my poem take the form of four, seven-line stanzas. I have found this prompt particularly inspiring when I use a base poem that mixes long and short lines, or stanzas of different lengths. Any poem will do as a jumping-off point, but if you’re having trouble finding one, perhaps you might consider Mary Szybist’s “We Think We Do Not Have Medieval Eyes” or for something shorter, Natalie Shapero’s “Pennsylvania.” “


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