In-frequent blogging

Back when I was teaching writing, I remember an essay about journaling contained in the text book we were using. My favorite example from the essay was an ancient Asian journalist (whose name, of course, slips my memory!) who made a journal entry every 7 years. I think my blog is like that : )

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Day 30 final poem for April

Using the prompt form I chose a short poem by Wallace Stevens and rewrote it line by line, changing each word, but not as suggested for an opposite one. Instead I chose different words for a different context.

Anecdote of the Jar                              A Box Tale
by Wallace Stevens                                    by Marian O’Brien Paul

I placed a jar in Tennessee,                      I placed a box in Missouri,
And round it was, upon a hill.                   Rectangular, within the ground,
It made the slovenly wilderness              It made the decorous ranks of rows
Surround that hill.                                     Gather around.

The wilderness rose up to it,                    The silent dead bestirred themselves.
And sprawled around, no longer wild.     Parents, grandparents no more napped.
The jar was round upon the ground        Four cornered box, an infant’s bed,
And tall and of a port in air.                      Soft cushions blanketed with earth.

It took dominion everywhere.                 It took precedence in that place,
The jar was gray and bare.                       Small box in its new space.
It did not give of bird or bush,                 It spoke of joy and love and grief
Like nothing else in Tennessee.               Like nothing else in Missouri.

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Day 29 poem 2 prompts a) take a line from a previous poem as title b) use at least 5 foreign words in the new poem

small as a sandbur

insidious seed husk
the bare foot beware
tá sé go dona, bad
and yes, you could
step on an Irish one
I did not, buíochas
le Dia agus Muire
but no fear a foot
might meet fangs
for buíochas le St. Pat
Erin’s been de-snaked

haben Sie gehört?
devil’s claw
in German so
you’d best
and snakes?
in august ‘09
a British tourist’s
big toe felt the fang
of a poisonous one
in a Bavarian market
briefly hospitalized she’s
okay, dank ist zum Gott

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Here’s Day 28 poem, a bit late–two stanzas, each in shadorma form.

Sea Stacks

ocean waves
salty green spindrift
slams the cliffs
carving western Irish coast
sculpting stacks

cut off chunks
lush green tops severed
from mainland —
rock towers
sea still swirling round bases
incessant assault

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Day 27 NaPoWri Poem a day 2013

The prompt today– take the first 3 words of a common proverb or phrase, plug it into a search engine and skim the first few pages of results, collecting words and phrases that interest you. Then use those as inspirations (and some of the source material) for a new poem.  I chose one of Mark Twain’s prolific quotes: “Better a broken promise than none at all.”  Voila!

Better a broken …

ankle — you can skip work
toe (than leg, but you should ice it)
nose if it was ugly to begin with

Better a broken …
piece of jade than a whole piece of pottery
mirror if you are into risk-taking
or a non-broken Kimberwicke bit?
(Answer: a leverage bit with a broken mouthpiece is
unnecessarily harsh on a horse’s mouth)

Better a broken …
promise … or, you could keep it
mindset — after all, a new perspective will enlighten you
courtship, especially when your fiance is Drew Peterson

Better a Broken …
Vows Mystery book (You can find one or maybe in your local library)
or is it Better to be Broken? (Also a book advertised on the web)

Better a broken …
-down NYC to D.C. train than no Amtrak wine tasting (see The Huffington Post)
car or computer?
parking meter if you are broke

Better a broken …
defensive line when you are the aggressor
reality or a broken game? Which one changes the world?

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Day 26 per prompt to take a longish poem and erase parts of it.

I did this for the first section of T. S. Eliot’s “Ash-Wednesday.” Apologies to anyone who may find this presumptuous and/or sacreligious.

T S Eliot’s Ash-Wedneday: an Erasure

I do not hope
do not hope
not hope
I no longer strive
Should I mourn
vanished power?

I do not hope to know again
I do not
shall not know
transitory power
I cannot drink
where trees flower, springs flow

… time is always time
place always only place
What is actual is only for one time
one place
I rejoice — things are
I renounce the blessed face
the voice
I rejoice, having something
to rejoice

God have mercy
Pray I may forget
matters I too much discuss
These words amswer
for what is done
May judgement not be too heavy

These wings no longer fly
but beat the air
which is
smaller, dryer than the will
Teach us to care

Pray for us sinners now at the hour of our death

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Day 25 of April Poem

The following is a ballad based on an incident experienced when I was teaching English as a Ssecond Language for a year in Turkey. I was accompanied by my two teenage daughters, one attending Tarsus Turkish /American high school as a sophomore. The other had just graduated, taking time off before going to college.

Our Harrowing Encounter in Turkey

Home from work one wintry evening
my coat and galoshes shed
I grabbed a sharp knife for cleaving
veggies to get us all fed.

“Daughters, daughters what can that be
all wiggly and crawly, coming at me?”

One daughter, just learning to cook,
entered the kitchen offering help.
“I need a spoon,” I told her. “Look
over …” She let out a yelp.

Shifting my eyes, I saw what she saw
thick as a hotdog and slithery
a hundred stubbly legs making it yaw.
My skin was suddenly shrivelly.

“Daughters, daughters what can that be
all wiggly and crawly, coming at me?”

A cappella, spontaneous our scream.
I threw open the cupboard door.
Snatching the Raid, I aimed its stream
to poison that thing on the floor.

It writhed and wriggled, refusing to die.
My daughter leaped on a chair.
Her sister arrived, supplementing our cry,
our shrieking consuming all air.

“Daughters, daughters what can that be
all wiggly and crawly, coming at me?”

With courage, I lifted my sandaled foot
in spite of my lifelong dread
and started stomping that critter kaput,
slipping in Raid till ’twas dead.

Our screeching done, now we could hear
someone pounding our door.
“I’ll get it,” one daughter said. “I’m near.”
She slid from table to floor.

“Daughters, daughters what can that be
all wiggly and crawly, coming at me?”

We heard her saying to neighbor boys
who’d come here to save us,
“It was only a bug. I’m sorry for the noise.
I hope you’ll forgive our fuss.”

Laughing, they ambled back to the stair
those teenage Turkish heroes
calling us crazy yabanciler. *
I was wiping Raid from my toes.

“Daughters, daughters what can that be
all wiggly and crawly, coming at me?

* yabanciler means foreigners in Turkish


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