The Journey — A Draft of Diminishing Verse

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

Logo by Linda Mitchell

Howdy, friends! I’ve missed a week or two recently–LOTS going on here. Most excitingly, a new website design! More on that soon. There are still tweaks to make and kinks to work out, I’m sure, but…isn’t it beautiful? Thank you to Steve Palmquist at Winding Oak, who’s gone way above and beyond! And thank you to my daughter Maddie, who did the header art and hand lettering. This has been a massive job, and I’ll still be working on lots of little things for the next couple of months.

I’ll also be working somewhere else. My income is way down this year, and our family expenses are way up. So, I’m working part-time at Hy-Vee. (If you subscribe to my e‑letter, you got the whole story.) That means I’ll be cutting out many things in order to use my limited writing hours on actual writing. I’ll still be part of Poetry Friday, but maybe not every Friday.

So, last week, my site was in a weird stage and I couldn’t post with my Poetry Sisters when we did diminishing verse poems. I thought I’d share what I came up with this week–a week late and a dollar short :>) A bit of writing process is below the imagepoem for anybody interested.

I started with this list, words I chose from a site Tanita shared:

  • score
  • scowl
  • slender
  • slump
  • space
  • tramp
  • wretched
  • scram
  • scrawl
  • splatter
  • splay
  • spray
  • strain
  • scold
  • price
  • flash
  • cleft
  • blend

I played with a couple of starting words, but the poems came out so…ugh. They were limerick-like and not what I was going for. Then I wrote one about cold, which I liked, and maybe I’ll share next week. Then I wrote draft one of this journey one at a baseball game, and it looked like this:

The journey was endless. The weather, wretched.
Passengers clung to the railing and retched.
In their expressions, despair was etched.

The wind-ripped waves threw a spindrift spray.
Hands clutched crosses. Chins bowed to pray.
Of sunshine and hope, they found not a ray.

The schooner lit up in the thunderstorm’s flash—
Each bolt a fiery, merciless lash.
When the wind stilled, the schooner was ash.

When I wrote draft two, which is in the image above, I was mostly trying to get rid of passive verbs and inverted phrasing, such as that third line of stanza two. Always things to try to make better!

And for lots of wonderful poetry, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup with Matt, who has a gorgeous-looking new picture book out called The Thing to Remember About Stargazing. Can’t wait to read it!


18 Responses

  1. Laura your new website is beautiful! I hope even with your new job you have lots of time for writing and sharing your poetry with students of all ages (like me!) Your diminishing poem captures all the emotions of that journey at sea. I’m jotting down this form as something I’d like to try.

  2. So sorry to hear about the income issues, my friend — hope things get better for you. But what a great way to respond to the poetic challenge here! I enjoyed seeing your nehind-the-scenes process, too. Have a good weekend!

  3. Laura, here’s to a successful year ahead for you and your family. Thanks for sharing. Your diminishing poem about the schooner is heartbreaking and beautiful. Well done, and thank you, thank you for sharing your process. That is always a welcome addition. Your new website, with the clever header art is beautiful.

  4. Congrats on the new website, Laura! And again, thank you for sharing your process. I love learning from you!

  5. Congrats on the new website! I enjoyed looking through its pages.

    I enjoyed the diminishing verse poem, especially the middle verse. I love the word spindrift- it was the name of the house where my family spent many happy times on the Oregon Coast near Cannon Beach. (It was owned by the Multnomah County Public Library, where my husband worked in Portland, and rented to employees at a very affordable rate- the only way we could ever have had such wonderful vacations.)

  6. Yes…this is an AMAZING and beautiful website. I’ve meant to create a website. But, the scale of the task just puts me off every time I get close to sitting down to do it. I’m sorry that you cannot write full time at the moment. It’s really frustrating to have to go to the day job and fight the tiredness that comes with it to get to the time to write. If anyone can do it…you can. This diminishing poem sets the stage for a new story…perhaps? Hint. hint!

    1. Thanks so much, Linda. It’s been an enormous task! You can of course go much smaller / simpler than this. I downsized mine a lot. It still just requires so much thought and soany decisions.Thanks for the encouragement:)

  7. Laura, your new website is AWESOME! I was actually googling for some poems this morning (before I read the Poetry Friday posts) and your website came up in the search. I was like–wait! This is Laura’s site. It’s very easy to use and just WOW! I’m so sorry that are experiencing changes in your schedule.

    I love that you brainstormed words for your poem. That’s what I noticed on the first read–the lovely specific language.

  8. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had to take on additional work. That’s hard, but you write beautiful books so I know good things are ahead. Thank you for always being so honest about the life of a professional writer. Sending hugs and good wishes. xo

  9. I’ve missed lots of Poetry Friday posts — and missed the community more! And I only just discovered the diminishing verse poems in the past week. I love how you all extend the challenge, and make it uniquely you — like these stanzas. I’ve been fiddling with one, since I first saw them, and it still needs some work — but I’ll be playing with the diminishing verse some more, into the future. 🙂

    I do hope that your outside work brings joy and rewards. And fresh insights and opportunities. I’m glad you’ve had this lovely warm and welcoming website to reward you. Take care of you!

  10. Laura, I am sorry to hear of your ups and downs but keep in mind that your creative talents are a gift that will keep on giving. Your website is looking good. There’s a bit of whimsy and great fonts to make it decorative. Your diminishing poem is wonderful. I like the process you went through to create a striking story of a perilous trip. My best wishes to you.

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