Friday, November 13, 2009


Arcade Souvenir 
(I want that hat....) 

Last week I was  moon-drunk, and there's still something going on between the moon and me, so I must have moon fever. I wrote "Late Night Thoughts" (below) as a response to Tricia's Poetry Stretch over at the Miss Rumphius Effect this week.  The challenge was to write a rictameter (another counted-syllables poem - like the Zeno! Only not like the Zeno!) which is a non-rhyming nine-line poem with the following syllable count: 2/4/6/8/10/8/6/4/2. The first and last lines must be the same. (Of course, that last rule immediately makes me want to bend it - or even break it, though bending rules is much more fun.) When I write in response to a challenge, I'm not sure I produce an actual poem. But I do a few things usually that interest me. In this poem, I enjoyed turning the first two words of the poem into a complete question in the last line. I also liked coming up with line "the sun never rises" - it was like a backward curtsy to Hemingway. Putting howl and now next to each other felt good - almost like singing a Roy Orbison song - oh, I know why! - " in BLUE... BAY...-OUUUUUU!"  The rules say no rhyme, and I assume that's no end rhyme - that's usually what people mean (unfortunately?) when they talk about rhyme. There actually is quite a lot of internal rhyme in these nine lines:  Thoughts/not, might/night, howl/now, moon/soon, one/sun. The "wolf-throated chance" is an image I might actually want to save for a more serious poem. So - here's the second in my Moon Fever series (or so it seems):

Late Night Thoughts

Why not
howl at the moon?
Soon it will be sun-up --
who knows what happens after that?
This might be it: Your one wolf-throated chance.
You know, the sun never rises
at night -- what kind of friend
is that? Howl now!
Why not.?

Arcade Souvenir
(...again, the hat!) 


The Poetry Round-Up this week is over at Gotta Book  (thank you, Greg) - You gotta go there and see the links.


  1. I find that first moon's countenance to be too much the leering sort, and yet, and yet, I would pay to have my photo taken with it.

  2. I love the shape of this when the words are centered. Such a small change that made a difference in the way I read the poem.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. P.S. - Thanks too for analyzing/explaining the poem. I love looking more closely at structure and am glad you led me through it!

  4. Too much fun. Thinking about my "one wolf-throated chance".

  5. Why not indeed? Great poem! I understand your moon fever, too. I've been mesmerized by the moon of late, standing in the backyard with our dog around midnight, staring at the sky.

  6. Julie,

    Excellent moon-themed rictameter! I didn't get around to trying Tricia's poetry stretch this week. I'm still hooked on double dactyls. I love light verse.

  7. Those photos are terrific!
    Great poem, too!

  8. I'm all agog over your poem and the hats and the moon!

  9. Love this. I like that the words are centered as well (although I didn't get a chance to read it before). Thanks for the analysis. I love to hear people speak about their work. I learn more-about the "finished" form and about the process itself.

  10. Love those hats, although I'm not keen on the way that first moon leers at the lady in his lap. He needs a good howling -- "Howl now!"

  11. Hi Julie! I love the poem's diamond shape. It looks so inviting on the page. And the question at the end is perfect.

    If you like hats take a look at this one:

  12. My favorite line: "Who knows what happens after that?" Thanks for giving us the back story too. Love this poem!

  13. wolf-throated!! Love this. I hope your moon fever continues. A good thing for which there is no vaccine.

  14. Thanks for all the feedback, everyone - this experiment was fun, wasn't it? What would I do without Tricia and her Stretches?

    I guess that first moon really is leering - but I think it wants the hat - nothing more! I wish we all lived closer together and could have a hat party.

    Martha - I love the idea of looking at the moon with a dog. There's a poem in that. Write it?

    Diane - how do you suppose the woman with that hat (your link) even moved through the world when it was on. You'd think she would have just tipped over....

    Daphne - no vaccine - absolutely right - owwww-ooowwwww-oooowwww!

  15. You know, I think I *will* try a dog/moon poem ... thanks!

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  17. Julie,

    I'm leaving today (Thursday) for Philadelphia. I'll be at the NCTE Convention. I won't be around on Friday. Here's the URL of my "Poetry Wednesday" post.