Monthly Archives: April 2016

NaPoWriMo – Day 29

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NaPoWriMo – Day 29

The day 29 prompt was inspired by the work of poet and artist Joe Brainard who is probably best remembered for his book-length poem/memoir, I Remember.  The book consists of a series of statements, all beginning with the phrase “I remember” including:

I remember the only time I ever saw my mother cry. I was eating apricot pie.

I remember how much I cried seeing South Pacific (the movie) three times.

I remember how good a glass of water can taste after a dish of ice cream.

The specific, sometimes mundane and sometimes zany details of the things Brainard remembers build up over the course of the book, until the reader has a good deal of empathy and sympathy for this somewhat odd person that they feel they’ve really got to know.  The prompt was to write a poem based on things I remember focussing on specific details, rather than whether the memories were of important events, or connected to each other. I could adopt Brainard’s uniform habit of starting every line with “I remember,” and then either cut out all the instances of “I remember”, or leave them all in, or leave just a few in.  I decided to focus my poem on my memories of fantasy and science fiction, and how this has affected my view of the real world.

I remember

I remember the Little Mermaid
A life underwater among ship wrecks and sea witches
I remember Darth Vader
Parental revelations in a galaxy far far away
I remember Alice
Down the rabbit hole into a world of weirdness
I remember Captain Picard
Speeding through the stars faster than light
I remember Frankenstein
What had he let his curiosity lead him to do
I remember Dorothy
Whose happiness was back where she had started
I remember Marty
Who didn’t need a road to visit the 1950s
I remember Kitty Norville
All started after a slip of the tongue on talk radio
I remember Ned Stark
Losing his head over honour
I remember Frodo Baggins
On the most precious quest of all
I remember wanting to live in another world
One where life wasn’t so boring and mundane
I remember the realisation one day
As I watched the news
That the world I live in is dark and full of terrors

Copyright D M Day 2016

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More information about NaPoWriMo can be found at http://www.napowrimo.net/

NaPoWriMo – Day 28

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NaPoWriMo – Day 28

The day 28 prompt was to write a poem that tells a story but with a twist – the story needed to be told backwards, the first line saying what happened last, then working through the past until the beginning.  This evening I went to see Leeds Arts Centre’s wonderful production of Macbeth, and it seemed appropriate to summarise the story of Lady Macbeth for this poem especially considering that this year marks the 400 year anniversary of the death of the Bard.

Lady Macbeth

And now I am at peace
Bestill my breath and heart
This small hand is clean at last
The damned spot is out
For it is all over now
Murder most foul is so easy to do
‘Tis a wife’s duty to guide her husband’s weak hand
To rule over this green and bonny land!
Oh to be queen, Queen of Scotland!
Such a prophecy is but a dream

Copyright D M Day 2016

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More information about NaPoWriMo can be found at http://www.napowrimo.net/

NaPoWriMo – Day 27

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NaPoWriMo – Day 27

The day 27 prompt was inspired by the work of the Irish poet Ciaran Carson, who increasingly writes using very long lines. Carson has stated that his lines are (partly) based on the seventeen syllables of the haiku, and that he strives to achieve the clarity of the haiku in each line. The prompt was to write a poem with very long lines. I could aim for seventeen syllables, but it was just a rough guide. I started this one with a line that has been in my notebook for a while, and tried to achieve the tone of a rambling story teller, telling a random story.

I accidentally bought an ice cream van when I was drunk

I accidentally bought an ice cream van when I was drunk
It was one of those nights where you’re so drunk you remember nothing the next morning
When I woke up with my head pounding and mouth dry as the Sahara
The blinding sun was shining on my aching face
I rolled out of bed and landed heavily on the floor littered last night’s loose change
Crawled towards the window and hauled myself up using the sill for support
And there it was parked in my driveway pink and white
An ice cream van which was mine, all mine
And then I remembered what I had done last night
I accidentally bought an ice cream van when I was drunk
And now every time I hear a tinkly tinny version of Henry’s classic Greensleeves
I feel that hangover all over again and remember why I gave up alcohol
In favour of eating ice cream every single day, come rain or shine
And then I gave up my job working in a solicitor’s office
It wasn’t very fulfilling anyway and when I saw this place I couldn’t resist buying it
So that’s how I wound up buying an ice cream parlour, granted this purchase I was sober
And so far today had been a quiet day but then you came in and what a lovely chat we’ve had
So, oh I’m sorry, this is melted a bit now isn’t it?
I’ll get you a fresh one, tell me do you want sprinkles with that?
Funny story about sprinkles, you’ll like this one

Copyright D M Day 2016

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More information about NaPoWriMo can be found at http://www.napowrimo.net/

NaPoWriMo – Day 26

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NaPoWriMo – Day 26

The day 26 prompt was to write a poem that incorporates a call and response. Calls-and-responses are used in many sermons and hymns (and also in sea shanties), in which the preacher or singer asks a question or makes an exclamation, and the audience responds with a specific, pre-determined response for example: Can I get an amen?, to which the response is AMEN.  The response could be a sort of refrain or chorus that comes up repeatedly, while the call could vary slightly each time it is used.  The could be longer than the response, or vice versa. Today a very important and long overdue verdict has been announced – that the people killed in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 were unlawfully killed.  This poem is dedicated to the 96 and the people of Liverpool.  Justice at last.

Justice for the 96

Cover ups and lies
Accusations of drunken yobs
and late arrivals without tickets
27 years of fighting for
Justice for the 96

A fiction printed on a rag
So called law enforcers
Covering up for 27 years
While we fought for
Justice for the 96

You thought you could silence us?
You thought we would go home quietly?
You thought you would get away with it?
We were never going to stop fighting for
Justice for the 96

The truth is out this day
You can’t deny it anymore
For 27 years we have never walked alone
27 years one voice has demanded
Justice for the 96

Copyright D M Day 2016

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More information about NaPoWriMo can be found at http://www.napowrimo.net/

NaPoWriMo – Day 25

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NaPoWriMo – Day 25

The day 25 prompt was to write a poem that began with a line from a another poem (not necessarily the first one), but then went elsewhere with it, the idea being for the original to furnish a sort of backdrop for my work, but without influencing me so much that I felt stuck just rewriting the original.  For example, I could begin, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” or “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons,” or “I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster,” or “they persevere in swimming where they like”.  Any poem would do to provide my starter line – just so long as it gave me scope to explore.  I decided to write a poem beginning with the last line of one of my favourite poems, The Chances by Wilfred Owen, and carry on Owen’s story where he left off, going back to England and the life Jim has left behind.

Jim’s Mad

The ruddy lot all rolled in one. Jim’s mad.
What were the chances?
My poor poor Jimmy
I screamed when they brought the telegram
Course
Thought he was knocked out for sure
But no
Worse
Much much worse

They told me not to go see him
But course I did
I’ll never forget that sight long as I live
Wide eyes, shaking, froth round those lips
which used to kiss me deep and slow

I must have looked the same
staggering out of that hospital
That hell hole for the lost men
Crying, shaking, threw up on the steps

I screamed once more
pulled at my hair
and wrenched that damn diamond off my finger

Copyright D M Day 2016

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More information about NaPoWriMo can be found at http://www.napowrimo.net/

NaPoWriMo – Day 24

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NaPoWriMo – Day 24

The day 24 prompt was to write a “mix-and-match” poem in which I mingled fancy vocabulary with distinctly un-fancy words.  First I needed to write a list of overly poetic words – words that I thought just sound too high-flown to really be used by anyone in everyday speech. Then I needed to write a list of words that I might use or hear every day, but which seem too boring or quotidian to be in a poem. Then mix and match examples from both lists into a single poem hopefully ending up with a poem that makes the everyday seem poetic, and which keeps my poetic language grounded.  While I was writing the lists, my brain started responding in a similar way to which I do when freewriting, and I’ve ended up creating a character who is slightly prone to melodrama…

The Artist’s Lunch Meeting

Indubitably she was happy to show off her embroidery at lunch
But still, such a rendezvous had left her in a quandary
Though her quintessential picture was the subject of much adoration
It was reasonable that she was quick to feel palpitations
Such suffering was wondrous in its depth
She sipped her coffee at breakfast and revelled
In a tremulous inferno of wild mental anguish
Such raptures did have the tendency to make one feel really quite
Quite tired

Copyright D M Day 2016

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More information about NaPoWriMo can be found at http://www.napowrimo.net/

NaPoWriMo – Day 23

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NaPoWriMo – Day 23

The day 23 prompt was to write a sonnet. Traditionally, sonnets are 14-line poems, with ten syllables per line, written in iambs (i.e., with a meter in which an unstressed syllable is followed by one stressed syllable, and so on). There are several traditional rhyme schemes, including the Petrarchan, Spenserian, and Shakespearean sonnets.  But beyond the strictures of form, sonnets usually pose a question of a sort, explore the ideas raised by the question, and then come to a conclusion. In a way, they are essays written in verse.  This meant I could write a “sonnet” that didn’t meet all of the traditional formal elements, but still functioned as a mini-essay of a sort. The main point was to keep my poem tight, not rangy, and to use the shorter confines of the form to fuel the poem’s energy. I thought this was a very nice prompt for Shakespeare day.  Many of Shakespeare’s sonnets are about romantic love, and recently I’ve noticed a change in which relationships end in our modern world.  I’ve recently dried the tears of many friends who have been in relationships which have ended on social media.  This sonnet is dedicated to them.

When a Man Leaves a Woman Broken Up

When a man leaves a woman broken up
Her breath short, and tears coming thick and fast
And heart in a thousand pieces, shattered
Does he think for a second of her pain?
Or does he only think of himself and
His freedom, his ease of mind, his comfort
Hidden in his cowardice says no word
To her to whom he promised love always
To her to whom he promised the sunlight
Perhaps he thinks it easer this way
When he disappears into thin air and
Save everyone the pain, the wretchedness
Perhaps he thinks of no-one but himself
When he vanishes, quick, without a word

Copyright D M Day 2016

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More information about NaPoWriMo can be found at http://www.napowrimo.net/