Last of NaPoWriMo 2019

…and the beginning of Road Trip Day 2. We have the hostel to ourselves. I crept out to the common area at 5:45, all keen to crack on with the poetry practice. The final day of availing of prompts, I will have to wing it from tomorrow. Today’s prompt is all about compression – haiku, senryu or just plain micropoem. I’ve written several! Which one is your favourite?

Glencoe

Once

Where folk dwelled

Now

Only clouds

Cast shadows

Helmsdale, Scotland 

May Day Eve

Sea salt, seagull squawk

Furze clad hills smelling of tropics

46 degrees

That’s 8C for those of you who realfeel in Celsius!

Roundabout

Circling

Turns to take

Choose

And, the last one is really showing my age. Youngsters will need to Google this, but I believe in advancing education.

The TV Test Pattern

Static pattern

Single  note sound over

No transmission

We are on the ferry to Orkney Island this evening, arriving just before sunset. I have packed plenty of scarves, gloves, and fleeces. 

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Day 29 NaPoWriMo- Road Trip Day 1

Something meditative and tranquil they want for the penultimate poem of NaPoWriMo2019. Also Day 1 of my Road Trip in the Highlands of Scotland.


Passengers

At the beginning

a seagull wheeled in from the Clyde.

All the way up and across , a rib

of  blue reflecting cloudless sky

in Highland waters –

Loch Lomand on our right,

Loch Ochy on our left,

Loch Ness on the right,

Kinlochleven on the left.

Bridges crossed.

Lochs  and locks

on the Caledonian Canal.

Bridges crossed

at the Moray Firth,

at the Donach Firth

until finally rusted iron rails

ran beside the North Sea

looking all

uncharacteristically

tropical turquoise

the gorse on the hills

sending its Malibu cocktail scent

through the car’s air vents,

its acid yellow following all the way

from Strathclyde,

through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs,

Argyll and Bute,

Invernesshire,

Ross and Cromarty,

into Sutherland.

The blue and yellow passage,

seagull call,

the raven beside the road in Glencoe,

the crows scavenging seed

in the downy dales of Easter Ross.

From west to east.

Passengers.

Copyright 2019 Bee Smith 

Day 28 NaPoWriMo2019 Why Poetry?

The challenge today is to write a metapoem, or poem about poetry. AKA and Ars Poetica. Archibald Macleish has done this so well that I could weep over my own paltry effort this morning. I commend to you also Marianne Moore, Wallace Stephens and Emily Dickinson. I have considered the nature and purpose of poetry before in this blog here.https://sojourningsmith.blog/2019/03/21/world-poetry-day/.

I begin the first leg of a what will be a week long road trip later this morning. I hope to find wifi along the way to be able to post a Poetry Daily each day. But who knows what the wilds of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland will provide – other than astonishing beauty and inspiration. So, although there may be delayed posts the actual writing of a poem a day will still happen. I have a smaller notebook. I won’t have my magic fountain pen. But travel is supposed to rattle you out of your comfort zone.

Why Poetry?

It's a way to see
360 degrees,
outside and interior.
Or interrogate
tastes, feelings in words, sound
the heart's echoes in the round.
It's a way to be
free - within lines  that unbound.
You can never be lonely
with some poetry.
Not while it talks with your walk.
It's turnkey and Houdini
unshackling the locks.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

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Day 27 NaPoWriMo2019

Today’s prompt is to do a “remix” of a Shakespearean sonnet. Sonnets used to scare me, but since this poem a day lark started last September I have had a bash at them a few times. Some of my efforts I even like (especially the one where Brooklyn Bridge features). Today I chose Sonnet 116, the one that begins


Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116
Riff on 116

Love does not rock and roll when the key shifts.
It's more like jazz - improvisational.
Love keeps making the music that lifts.
Phone home and they always will take your call.
It doesn't matter what dive you are in
some far flung corner of the unknown earth.
They love you famous or has been
or have had repossessed your house of mirth.
Yeah, they know your whole story, chapter, verse,
the back when, the first dance, all your bold hopes,
the down and dirty hours when you cursed
any and every person. But nope!
Love did not flinch. Even when called a fool.
Love knows its mind. And music has its rules.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.



Feature Photo by Jefferson Santos on Unsplash

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Day 26 NaPoWriMo2019

The prompt for today is to use repetition. The villanelle and pantoum use it to great effect. However, I have written a couple villanelles already this month and the pantoum is not a favourite form. I am on the fly this morning as I have a workshop that I need to be out the door to in a little over an hour. Feeding and washing need to also get factored into that time. So I took the quotation that was the jumping off point by my poetry creative colleague Helen Shay. She used a translated quotation from the Anglo-Saxon Exeter Book. “How cruel is sorrow as a companion to one with few dear friends: the path of exile holds fast such a one.”

The Path of Exile

Hold fast to the path of exile,
you with few dear friends.
Keep moving
past your own solitude.
Past the ruined house
your grandfather built
for his new bride.

Hold fast to the path of exile.
Keep moving.
The past is just a blur of scenery,
a babel of white noise.
Take refuge in your solitude.
Expect no pity.
Hold your face up to the rain.

Hold fast to the path of exile.
Keep moving
past your own solitude,
you with few dear friends
and finding no mercy
for the ghosts that travel
with you along the path of exile.

Hold fast to the path of exile.
Keep moving
past the present. Place
one foot in front of the other.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Hold fast to the  path of exile.
One country is much like another
so long as you can still breathe.

You with few dear friends
hold fast to the path of exile.
Keep moving
with your cavalcade of ghosts
packed in your lone carrier bag
full of what was once a life
you had loved.     Let us walk together.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.


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Day 25 NaPoWriMo2019- Bealtaine

Wakening to bright sunshine and blue sky after a nighttime that brought welcome showers on our acre plot. NaPoWriMo’s last Thursday prompt is:

I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that:

  • Is specific to a season
  • Uses imagery that relates to all five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell)
  • Includes a rhetorical question, (like Keats’ “where are the songs of spring?”)

So the season I am writing about is just around the corner. In Ireland we call May Bealtaine. It is pronounced Be-ahl-ta-nah round where I live. Or you can have it as Beltaine in English. It’s also the name for one of the four cross quarter days of the pagan wheel of the year. It marks the six weeks up until midsummer . Or, the three month period up until harvest, or Lunasagh, at 1st August. Seasons are a bit flexible like that in Ireland. Call it late spring. Call it the official opening of summer. Beataine is the most sensual time of year. Living as I do in the West Cavan part of Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, nature is providing plenty of sensory inspiration.

Bealtaine Galore

I heard the cuckoo calling
its plaint for a mate quite faint
last Easter Sunday,
but full throated and hearty
the evening of Tuesday.
It will carol the uplands until
the longest day when nights
are shortest and dawn does not delay.

But today...well the bluebells are still out
in the shade, mingling in with
the aromatic of wild garlic,
(which sharpens the appetite.)
its star white flower crowding into
the bluebell dell on the forest floor
along with the white bells of wood sorrel,
that  not-shamrock tasting of lemon spinach.
A munch quenches thirst on walks
through this wooded glen,
the river in full conversation
rolling over the rocks from another epoch,
the fallen trees downed

or bent like the crick in my back
from sowing beans and carrots.
I have an ache in muscles unused
to industry, gone slack
during the dark months.
We mimick all these nesting birds
who already have some hatchlings,
or the energy of gamboling lambs
ridiculous and bucking up their heels.
Calves are appearing in neighbours' pastures
sporting their new eartags.
And the weeds!
Everything is rushing towards being.
The bees are at the nectar.
The butterflies have been released
from self-made cocoons.
The blackthorn blossom is floating down
butterfly kissing our foreheads.
It's a benediction. It's a glory.

Bealtaine Go leor!
Is everything not plenty?
Is everything not enough?
Everything
is in a rush
towards its blooming and being.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.



Beataine Galore
My townland, bog cotton blooming in pasture

Bealtaine Galore
Bluebells

Bealtaine galore
Wood sorrel in flower

Bealtaine galore
The Playbank. The sight that always means I am getting close to home.
Bealtaine is the Irish for the season of early summer. NaPowriMo's daily prompt allows me to riff on the the sensory pleasures of living within Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.
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Day 24 NaPoWriMo2019 Lexical Slaw

The daily prompt from NaPoWriMo2019 asks us to take a reference book and choose words from two pages in front of you and go from there. I mixed this up a bit, since it is a bit like an exercise I do in Word Alchemy that I call “Word Salad.” But I choose up to six words that pop up at random and then go about trying to make a connection. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it’s a stretch. Sometimes it’s hilarious. For the purposes of today’s NaPowriMo2019 exercise in poetry writing I left the OED on the shelf and picked up the Chamber’s Dictionary of Etymology, which always makes for fascinating reading. The random words I picked out were spike, exemplary, protest, detest, nomad. They are all in there in some form of their etymological definition.

This was great fun! Who doesn’t love a lexicon?! I’ve loved the word ever since I found it in an Emily Dickonson poem age 11.

Lexical Slaw Word Alchemy

So many versions of how
to know the word universe
in the mind of God
in just about any language

which may be somewhat helpful
to the venturing nomad
searching and incurring
on new pasture

yet even words can splinter
language deflecting into dialect
so dense the origins
get swallowed whole

but something sticks in the throat
like a vow to dissent
that then regurgitates
like a solemn curse

Source document as reference
is public testimony for all to see.
Yet time will free the redactions
of agreed meaning, as necessity
or adventure into word alchemy.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.



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