Swelling and Swirling — a definito poem

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Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

Hi, everyone! It’s been a rough week with family medical issues, and I escaped into writing a poem this morning.

[Edited to add: The definito form was created by amazing poet Heidi Mordhorst!] I’ve shared some definito poems before that connect to two of my new books, Zap! Clap! Boom! and Finding Family. I’d link to those poems and the books, but our power is out this morning, and I’m creating this post on my phone. [Edited to add: Well, there’s book links. Finding Family has two definito poems on its page. Here’s the other one for Zap that I’ve done.)

This time, I decided to write a definito poem about the word “billows.” It’s used in Zap, and I just love this word. I had fun looking at near rhymes and thinking of ways to bring the feeling of billowing into the poem.

I wrote four drafts, beginning with this incomplete first draft:

d 1 billows

it rises and rolls
round and unbound
like a great wave of water
off the ground
it curls and it curves
bulges like ship sails,
full of the wind

I shared all four drafts with my Writer in Progress Facebook Group this morning in a video. Always interesting to talk back through a writing process and realize things I might not have realized at the time!

Hope you enjoy the draft four below!

And for lots of wonderful poetry, make sure to visit the Poetry Friday Roundup! Sadly, I can’t link to it because when I visit Mary Lee’s blog to see who’s hosting, I can’t see the sidebar. Man, trying to do a post on mobile is kind of a pain! ???? [Edited to add: Beautiful poet, educator, and encourager Rose Capelli is hosting today. She’s here.)
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37 Responses

  1. I especially like round with unbound. Billow is a wonderful word. I haven’t figured out how to create a post on my phone yet. Good job getting it put together with no power.

    1. Thanks, Margaret! And although I got a post together, there’s an awful lot of later additions, and I had to reload the image today because not everyone was able to see it. Just when I’m thinking, “Yeah, I got this!” Ha!

  2. Laura, that is so true about trying to post from a mobile. I can never find all the features. You did a great job. For some reason I can’t see your Draft #4. On my computer, I can see a little picture icon, but it doesn’t pop up or let me click on it, so it’s probably from my side. I loved how you described plume with the volcano–“a feather or weather” — pure magic!

    1. Thanks, Denise. The definito is such a fun form! Also, I reloaded the image, because it wasn’t showing up for everyone.

  3. I so enjoyed following the creation of this poem on the Writer in Progress Group. I learn so much from seeing your process. This week I’ve tried to concentrate on the internal sounds in my poems, like you did with “round” and “unbound” and “curls and curves.” I hope next week is calmer for you. Lovely graphic, also. I’m still getting my feet wet with Canva.

    1. Thanks, Rose–I noticed lots of great assonance/consonance and alliteration in your two poems today! <3

  4. I think it’s brilliant the way you bring billows to life. “Swollen like sails/ full of the wind.” Wonderful description. And a good use of the title.

  5. I cannot see that ‘final’ poem, either, but love the word “bulges” as you wrote about “billow”, Laura. Good for you for trying with the phone, hard work!

    1. Interesting…I just reloaded the image from my laptop. Maybe it shows up now?

    2. I just read the poem on twitter, love the way you rearranged into “If” lines!

  6. Laura Salas:
    I see you are an illustrator, poet and technician. What a wonderful trinity of gifts. The children line up to share your creations as we fellow poets do…

    1. That’s so kind, Jeanne. I’ll claim “poet,” as we all should! Illustrator and technician…not so much–but I’m trying :>)

  7. Well, that’s just a perfect demonstration of a definito! I cannot pick out a best line. Glad it gave you some distraction in a tough week,Laura.

  8. Laura, you are WAY beyond me if you can create a post on a mobile. Kudos to you! I do love your definito, and although I haven’t exactly tried one, I think you have given me a good push in that direction. Thank you for this wonderful poem and post! PS — Sorry… I know it is not warm in MN, so best wishes for your power to come back.

    1. Well, the post needed lots of additions today :>D Oh, well. I hope you give definitos a try. I think they’re a delight! And power came back on after about 5 hours. So…an inconvenience, but nothing major. Thank you!

  9. This is fabulous! I especially love “round and unbound.” That captures billow perfectly to me!

  10. Delightful! What a fun word to explore. I’m sorry about your family challenges (and the techno-issues you didn’t let get the best of you!) — Here’s to a calmer week in store for you, I hope.

  11. Wow Laura, everything came together magnificently with a big Swirling Swell in your final poem! Love all, the big pick-us-up S’s against the winsor blue and billowing clouds all add to the majestic “rises and rolls” and “curls and curves” of your billow poem, thanks! And I’m glad all has settled into place for you.

    1. Thanks, Michelle–my graphics are basic. Lovely to hear an artist likes the way one came out :>)

  12. I love the repetition of IF, and your word choice is spot on — I can’t pick any favorites! I do have to admit that I was expecting to find pillows! Kudos for avoiding the obvious!!

    1. Thank you, Mary Lee. Ya know, “pillows” is in the book, Zap! Clap! Boom!, right near “billows,” so I think that’s why I avoided it here. It wasn’t a super conscious decision…

  13. Laura, I hope you are feeling better about the family medical issues after deep diving into writing. 4 drafts later, your poem is ready to swell and swirl into the limelight. Billowy clouds that were present here we covered over by gray fog today. I really liked the revision with a lovely image for extra fun.

  14. Posting without power! Arrrgh. And yet this post has power. 😉 Love the fun you had with “Billows”! And so sorry to hear of the stress with the medical issues. Hoping for resolution soon!

  15. Definito poems possess an appealing clarity and yours Laura, really hits the mark. I love the word-billows and I love the presentation of your revised/refined poem among the clouds. You have polished it into a pearl of a poem! Your use of alliteration works so well. Billows, indeed…

  16. So the poem AND the blog post about the poem were both “works-in-progress” but the final drafts look GREAT! I *love* all of the alliteration! (Sending hugs for the family medical issues.)

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