You know, I love poetry games. The idea of making poems up on the spot based on words randomly assigned makes me happy. Writing group poems with 1st through 6th graders, never knowing what they’ll come up with, makes me happy. Adding a line to the 2013 Progressive Poem makes me…well, happy, actually. Though with more stress in the equation than those other two situations. What made it stressful for me?
- I love short poems. So a poem that already has 27 lines before it gets to me is unlike most poems I read! I was getting impatient to wrap this baby up.
- So many wonderful poets/people have already participated, and I didn’t want to mess up what they have already done.
- I wanted to not only write the next line, but the whole ending. Each line wiggling through my head made me think, “Oooh, that would be great if the line after it did ______________.” Fill in the blank with whatever pressure/burden I decided to put on the penultimate poet, Denise Mortensen.
Luckily, I love the tension Ruth Hersey of There’s No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town added in her line. What a wonderful springboard to get to jump off of. And even though this is intimidating, really, it’s a lot easier than taking part in a progressive dinner or something, and having loads of people come to your house to eat food?and inspect your taste–or lack thereof (oh, wait–that will be my daughter’s graduation party in a few weeks–ack!). Anyway, here is our Progressive Poem so far!
When you listen to your footsteps
the words become music and
the rhythm that you’re rapping gets your fingers tapping, too.
Your pen starts dancing across the page
a private pirouette, a solitary samba until
smiling, you’re beguiling as your love comes shining through.
Pause a moment in your dreaming, hear the whispers
of the words, one dancer to another, saying
Listen, that’s our cue! Mind your meter. Find your rhyme.
Ignore the trepidation while you jitterbug and jive.
Arm in arm, toe to toe, words begin to wiggle and flow
as your heart starts singing let your mind keep swinging
from life’s trapeze, like a clown on the breeze.
Swinging upside down, throw and catch new sounds?
Take a risk, try a trick; break a sweat: safety net?
Don’t check! You’re soaring and exploring,
dangle high, blood rush; spiral down, crowd hush?
limb-by-line-by-limb envision, pyramidic penned precision.
And if you should topple, if you should flop
if your meter takes a beating; your rhyme runs out of steam?
know this tumbling and fumbling is all part of the act,
so get up with a flourish. Your pencil’s still intact.
Snap those synapses! Feel the pulsing through your pen
Commit, measure by measure, to the coda’s cadence.
You’ve got them now–in the palm of your hand!
Finger by finger you’re reeling them in?
Big Top throng refrains from cheering, strains to hear the poem nearing…
Inky paws, uncaged, claw straw and sawdust
What’s really fun about poetry? I just read this one last time before hitting Publish and changed the second half of my line substantially. Poetry improv–there’s nothing like it:>)
Check out my right sidebar, and make sure you visit the last two days of the Progressive Poem. Thank you, Irene Latham, for organizing a bunch of clowns, word jugglers, and wild writers into the barely contained madness of a progressive poem! I can’t wait to see the grand finale!