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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Day 22 NaPoWriMo2019

…and I am up way to early for the NaPoWriMo prompt to be published on the website. Basically, I fell asleep too early and wound up taking a nap. So after a while I gave up on sleep and began to remember how I loved writing in darkness at winter solstice. Then it got light earlier and I slept a bit later. I am semi-allergic to sunshine and actually prefer autumn/winter to summer. And who doesn’t love spring (except in Elliot’s Wasteland.

So I decided to just to do poetry practice and work with what was staring me in my face. Also, time for another villanelle practice.

Write Ritual

It’s so still. I love writing in the dark.
I write  with a plump peach moon for my lampstand
in silence before those up with the larks
(barring the scratch of my pen making marks,
the twang of  rubberband mental reaches).
It’s so still. I love writing in the dark.
It  redefines what is shadow, and stark.
In the small hours I can explore new found land
in silence before those up with the larks.
I chivvy inspiration’s divine spark.
I write so I might fully understand.
It’s so still. I love to write in the dark.
I like my little nightime writing ark.
I sail in it, ride tides, beach on strands
in silence, before those up with the larks
when all is phosphorescent,  with few sharks
to trouble my inner  night hinterland.
It’s so still. I love to write in the dark
 in silence, before those up with the larks.

Copyright 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Day17 NaPoWriMo2019 – Notebook

NaPoWriMo2017Day29

I am less rebellious today. But I also realised that I picked up the daily prompt yesterday from another year.(I thought it felt a bit familiar! I know there is recycling, but really…!) Anyway. Day 17 of NaPoWriMo2019 has dawned and the #APoemADay prompt is “Today, I’d like you to challenge you to write a poem that similarly presents a scene from an unusual point of view. “ Hmnnn…my notebook is nearly full. So I thought I might allow the notebook to have a voice from its perspective.

Notebook

There are only two pages left
fully blank.
I am nearly full
of your ink
your squinky handwriting
that smoothed across me
day after day
since just before New Year.

You began me on the first day
of official mourning
the restlessness
after relief of suffering,
in the exhaustion
after bedside hovering.

Nearly four months you have
massaged your mind
across each page
every morning.
In two days time,
at most three,
you will fill the last
blank space in me.
I will be full
of your preoccupations.
Or not.
What deflections
and elisions
have not been confessed?
After all
it is not just a case
of commission.

If a daily practice
is for the good
of your soul
leave some imprint.
What is the shape
of your spirit?
Ink blot and flow,
crossings out,
re-routes of
line breaks,
countings out
of each syllable
in pitch black Quink
to match my cover
and the ribbon marker
and the elastic
arm band that surrounds.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.
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Day 13 NaPoWriMo2019-Hedgewitch

I could relish NaPoWriMo’s Day 13 poetry prompt. It’s all things witchy and magical.” Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something mysterious and spooky! Your poem could be about something that is mysterious and spooky in a bad way (like a witch), or mysterious and spooky in a good way (possibly also like a witch? It depends on the witch, I guess!) Or just the everyday, mysterious, spooky quality of being alive. ” Now I don’t really do spooky, but I do do WooWoo. I do live in the liminal space where magic can and does happen now and then.

My eye also fell upon a random note. My nickname and nom de plume (Bee) is derived from the Old English for been, or bean, meaning “a prayer, a favour.” It then became associated with working parties like sewing or quilting bees. And, by way of synchronicity the other day I arrived in the classroom just as the kids were closing their Irish books. I flaunted my minute Irish vocabulary, mentioning that I was nearly late because my husband was doing meitheal with his mate. Meitheal is the Irish for a working party, neighbours helping each other get work done (“many hands makes light work”), especially at harvest or hay making time. Even the teacher hadn’t heard this one. And I did spell it right! (I checked when I got home. Preen moment.)

As to the featured photo of the white calf…well, it is standing before a fairy fort. And any pure white animal with a single red part is in with the fairies.

Hedgewitch

This is what the black bird said:
You can slip between worlds
through this gap in the hedge.
Each tree's knot, knarl and burl
makes you wise to ways
nigh forgotten, all but for
those of us who fly or crawl.
But The Good People like to make allies
with some of the Other Crowd
who've no knack for stomp and stalk.
They like silence, but can sing loud.
Because you need to know how
to dream a world into being.

It's like this,the blackbird continued, saying:
Magic is made of many parts-
prayer, song, a pure intention
backed by your flora and fauna friends,
done by the movements of the moon.
It's the knowing when to sow,
the time to reap, the way to keen.
Magic is in neighbourly exchange
of hedgerow jelly in autumn time and
the collecting of sloes to flavour Yule wine.
It's shooing lost sheep back to their fold
and helping mend fencing strong enough to hold
any gleeful lamb who leaps too high too soon
like the calf that jumped over the moon.

And then there is this:
A hedgewitch keeps herself well
only so long until someone else can spell
her and assume her magical work
between the blackthorn and the hazel trees,
to ken the mending of what has been rent
between the folks that stamp and stalk
and have lost all good sense,
those who simply cannot see
what lives in the woods, what lives in the trees.
Or The Good People, living beyond yon hedge,
in the gap where there is a magical screen.
They who work all the magic
yet are never not seen.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.
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Day 12 NaPoWriMo2019

Despite the sunshine I am feeling lacklustre about the poetry practice this morning. I have rules for myself. I really, really need to do it in the morning because my energy is likely to run out of puff by the evening. Evening is either a full flop or dedicated to interactions with friends, often telephonically or video linked. Mornings are for the poetry making, no matter how incomplete. And writing fast, playing the scales up and down, I realise I do need to find time to go back and see if the poem is an actual whole. Am I writing fragments? Are they poems at all? Writers can funk. even when the sun is shining and the blackthorn blossom is adorning all the hedgerows around.

One of rules for NaPoWriMo is to actually do what the prompt says. I know the website says it is optional. It’s a self-imposed rule. “Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem about a dull thing that you own, and why (and how) you love it. Alternatively, what would it mean to you to give away or destroy a significant object?” I am not a materialistic person, but having dragged various objects with me through three country moves it is fairly easy to designate objects of significance. Mine is a conch shell. Provenance: Long Beach Island, NJ. Found by: sister Given to: sister.

Dull object loved up or significant object destroyed? Well, a conch shell deconstructed...Day 12 NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo2019
Conch shell as gravegoods

Gravegoods

You can put it into the box with me.
Place it so my ear rests against the conch.
They say hearing is the last sense to go.
Let me go out with music from the sea
as the casket solemnly slides to launch
toward the cremie's flames red hot glow.
Let us face together eternity
ashes to ashes
love's ocean and me.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

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NaPoWriMo2019 Day 4

I slept in this morning. Two workshops down. One more to go. Then repeat next week. Just another sprint and then it eases off a little. Except when I finally got around to looking at today’s prompt they want a poem on sad. They also suggest a sonnet. If you had asked me ten years ago to try writing a sonnet I would have have said ‘ no way!’ But since 15th September 2018 I have dipped my toes into sonnet seas a few times. But this is probably going to be my last jab at any official acts today. I need a day of rest. And some time with my head buried in a cozy mystery. And maybe happy weep over a few episodes of “Queer Eye.”

But what to title it?

Sonnet Spring 2019

It's the brittle smile, belladonna
bright eyes,that's the tell of denial.
Lids shut over eyes like tombstone magma.
What the eye doesn't see, truth cannot defile.
It's the breakdowns over crazy things.
The backed up sink. The cracked tea cup handle
unmooring you from the ballast one clings.
Lose a home, but weep  over lost baubles.
Which is easier than walking with ghosts,
feeling their hand grasp yours at the cross walk's
empty air. Most days it's just better to coast.
You are still shaken by the after shocks.
But try to gauge if your appropriate sad
has become a depression's Stalingrad.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.
Sojourning Smith is participatingin GloPoWriMo2019.

Featured Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

NaPoWriMo2019 Day 3

So I start my days by flicking over to the http://www.napowrimo.net/ to get the daily poetry prompt. “Today’s prompt is based in a poem by Larry Levis called “The Two Trees.” It is a poem that seems to meander, full of little digressions, odd bits of information, but fundamentally, it is a poem that takes time. It takes its time getting where it’s going, and the action of the poem itself takes place over months. Today, I’d like to challenge you to similarly write something that involves a story or action that unfolds over an appreciable length of time. Perhaps, as you do, you can focus on imagery, or sound, or emotional content (or all three!)”

It’s a tall order for before 7am. I needed cereal first. Am off to teach nine 10-11 year olds soon, trying to facilitate their unfolding a story. But I decided to be game. As I have told the little kids, being creative means being willing to fail.

Homeplace

They were planning the move
while I was still in the womb.
I was born knowing how to pack.
I  can make a life in a room.

I can shed skin like a snake.
I can abandon my shell.
I was born knowing to forsake.
I was bottlefed in an hotel.

This transitory life,
roaming, more than rolling rock.
Collecting some accoutrements,
then dispersing my  householder's stock.

I have left behind plenty
changes of address notes.
I have left behind some dreams' scope.
I've crawled into a few lifeboats.

Moving felt most like home.
Being the stranger is my
inalienable right zone
of every place, or none, then one.

The nomad took a settler
to husband for all of life,
an acre and  a full quarter
to have and hold and to be wife.

It's a briary place
with roots that know to tunnel
and trap the escaping ankles
preparing to go off on travels.

The rock can rest, roll no  more.
It can remain still at last.
What is it to know a homeplace?
That all the packing is now past.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.
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Sojourning Smith is participating in GloPoWriMo2019