Friday, June 19, 2009

For Poetry Friday: Getting Stretched

First things first: I want to wish Blaise Pascal, the French mathematician and physicist, a Happy Birthday. He was born on June 19, 1623, and he would have been 386 years old today, if he had made it. He's the author of this lovely line: "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from mistaken conviction." That's a very generous attitude, don't you agree? I've thought of it many times over the last eight years. So, Happy Birthday, Monsieur Pascal!
I hope that when I'm 386 years old,
I'm as convinced of man's basic desire to do the right thing as you were.

Now then: Poetry Friday! I admit to feeling a little like an old Slinky lately - with my stretch wearing out, and the poetry stretches over at The Miss Rumphius Effect getting harder for me to complete. Read what the assignments were by clicking on the links, and follow them to see what other people wrote. At least getting nudged keeps me writing, and it might do the same for thanks for that, Tricia.

1. This week, we were asked to "generate a list of rhyming words inspired by your surroundings and then write a poem inspired by them." Here's mine:


Quiet in the house, not a sound.
It's all moonglow, though mallow whispers from a pitcher
near the sink. Then Day comes. She turns Night around--
the flowers shout and the stunned house, which her
chirrups fill, begins to spin-- Day makes the tea tins
tremble, she makes the thin-bowled silver spoons clink
on the counter, she makes the cups shake and the dog blink
and cockatoo whistle in his cage. In fact, Day wins
the day and keeps on winning all day long until, once more,
Moon knocks like at neighbor at the back porch door.

2. Last week the stretch was to write a poem based on a folktale, fairy tale or legend. I chose to set a fairy tale mood rather than to use one speific fairy tale figure.


Three gold coins,

three wishes wished,

three magic seeds

and three magic fish,

three bad guesses,

three real tears-

now the sea is salty,

now the seeds are years,

now the threes are doubles,

now the doubles one,

now the world is spinning

'til it comes undone.

Now you are a changeling,

now you are a haunt,

now you're hardly here at all

and now you're not.

Now you're just the wind

as it moves through trees,

and I can hear you counting--

One, two, three....

3. And the week before that we had to write poems "based on food." I got a double dactyl from that (well, double dactyl meter anyway - I didn't add in the six-syllable word in the next to the last line. This one goes out to Lang and her husband, the owners of Mandarin Chef in Seattle's University District, on the Ave. just north of 50th Ave. NE. They serve delicious food, and they are such nice people.

Higgelty pigglety

Mandarin Cheffery

uses some spices,

some garlic (and how....)

Even when I'm in the

Great Land of Noddery,

I am still dreaming of

Lang's hot kung pao.

Oh, yum. They do make their kung pao very HOT HOT HOT! You'll find Poetry Friday today over at Carol's Corner. Thanks, Carol.


  1. Very fun--very stretchy! All three so different.

    My favorite is the fairy tale Counting Song. You definitely captured the moods of mystery and malevolence that sit side by side in those old stories.

  2. What a delicious trio of poems!! Of course my faves are What the Day Does for all the kitchen imagery, and the last HOT kung pao one. Yum!

  3. Julie, I love the Counting Song. What is it about the number three? It seems to bring its structural perfection into everything.

    *sigh* I miss West Coast Chinese food. No one can make it hot enough on this side of the country, and they think I'm crazy for requesting "extra hot."

  4. These are just great, Julie. I'd say your Slinky is still retaining its shape.

  5. You would post food? As if I need any enticement to want to eat. lol


  6. I need to do those Poetry Stretches more often. You did well. Love the almost spooky counting song!

  7. Wow! I love your fairy-tale poem - and if I were Lang I'd be framing that ojne and putting it on my wall!

    Thanks for the reminder of Pascal too - I love his Pensées but it's a long time since I read them...