A Poem Ode, A Poem Urned

Time to catch up. As some of you may remember from last year, I’m partial to erasures, wherein one takes a previously published poem, chooses words and phrases from it (following the poem linearly), and creates a new piece of literature from the fragments. It’s more challenging than it sounds at first, if you’re picky about the flow of grammar, but still it’s a fun and creative exercise (not unlike NaPo’s Dickinson challenge of Day 5).

This time, however, I decided to piece together two new and entirely different poems from the same originator, John Keats’ famous Ode on a Grecian Urn. In the following scan, you can read the original text, and find my own creation in the circled words (polished, separate versions to follow). So poems Fifteen and Sixteen:

urn erasure15:

Unravished silence haunts
maidens and melodies
sweet,
but the sensual spirit
beneath love
and warm breathing
leaves a burning tongue.

The mysterious
silken citadel
will tease us
in midst of Beauty
on earth.

.

16:

Thou bride of time,
who canst shape
of men or maidens
melodies unheard,
pipe not thy song,
nor fade the Spring
unwearied,

For a heart
and a parching tongue
are coming
to the altar.

Lead’st thou
thy silent soul
and silent form
out of cold woe–
to truth,
and all ye know.

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A bit of tame eroticism for #15, and what developed into a meditation on writer’s block or lacking inspiration for #16.

Another Lament

Day 14, also late. Draft:

onscreen

Final:

Tired eyes just keep on staring,
aching muscles keep on bearing
the weight of one heavy ego
that presses, “Why don’t we go
back a page — we might’ve missed
a like or follow on that list.”
Weak from one too may hours
glued to screens and higher powers
of stimulus-response insisting
on another video or article, resisting
the body’s instinct to budge,
thwarting a helpless subconscious begrudged,
I postpone the real world and stay plugged
into nonsense, my own senses drugged.
They say we blink less in the monitor’s sheen —
around sixty percent — while somewhere off-screen
there are eyes growing tired of sun and mold,
blurred vision or burning from pollen or cold,
and I ask myself for an explanation
as to why I can’t be allergic to instant gratification.

.

It’s inescapable: when there are things to be done, responsibilities to be seen to, I always manage to escape into those lifeless corners of the internet for some genuine time-wasting. Even when I do manage to get some work done, it’s almost always on the computer, which I (perhaps “we,” as a society) have become too dependent upon. I feel the toll it takes on the eyes, the body, and the mind, but somehow I always seem to get drawn back into the black hole. I suppose we have such things to give ourselves hope of one day overcoming them, but every time NaPoWriMo rolls around, at least one poem is manifested from such disappointment.

Need Some Space

Lucky Number Thirteen. I wanted to try my hand at the mysterious nove otto poem today — mysterious in that I can’t seem to find any information pertaining to its origins. What I did find was its form: nine lines of eight syllables each, with a rhyme scheme of aabccbddb. Straightforward enough, but I needed a subject, so it was off to the Random Poem Idea Generator, which gave me something like this:

“Challenge conventional wisdom in the form of a cosmonaut’s last words.” My muse took it from there and gave me this draft (you can also see my attempt at NaPo’s suggested abecedarian poem from day ten, but I didn’t think it was worth including in this month’s collection):

nove otto spaceman

The red one’s not so small from here.
They said it could be hope, or fear
that takes over, out all alone,
but when it’s just nylon between
you and nothing, the nothing seems
a lot like peace, and the way home
sure seems awfully far away.
I think I’d do best just to stay
and wait awhile with the unknown.

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I used a handful of half rhymes, yes, but in combination with the enjambment, I think it reads rather like prose. Which, for some reason, I find pleasant.

Eostre Aria

While I definitely want to return to NaPoWriMo’s suggested Sapphics prompt from day eleven, I felt moved to write a pantoum for spring today (throwback to last year?)

Here’s the draft:

eostre aria

And the cleaned-up version:

.

Tiny voices sing in clicks and purrs
outside my window, a timeless chant
enshrined in sacred spring
when muddy faces are washed clean.

Outside my window, a timeless chant
of waking, wanting, and hoping,
when muddy faces are washed clean,
stirs the sensuous.

Of waking, wanting, and hoping
I can sing, too; an echo of the season
stirs the sensuous
within me, rising to a cry.

I can sing, too, an echo of the season
bathing in rain and passion
within me, rising to a cry,
an Ēostre aria treading cool water.

Bathing in rain and passion,
tiny voices sing in clicks and purrs
an Ēostre aria, treading cool water,
enshrined in sacred spring.

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As a side note, I’ve discovered something about my writing habits by recording the hand-written drafts in my journal: when I want to change something, usually something I’ve just written down, my first instinct is to erase the previous word or phrase completely instead of simply crossing it out. Each time I catch myself, I rewrite the original text and cross it out, then continue with the new so as to preserve all of the poem’s creative elements. I find it interesting that my old habits are so destructive, albeit on a small scale, but this experiment in hand-written drafts has certainly been helpful. Maybe I should graduate to pens, as they are much more permanent than pencil the first time…

Quick & Cute

I had saved this for a day such as today when I have too little time to devote to a lengthier creation. So for Day 10, a limerick:

blind lune and pup limmerick

There once was a cute little pup
who preferred to be tummy-side up:
when a hand would draw near,
he’d waggle his rear
and roll over and never get up.

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Now, to take that little pup for a walk!