Saturday, April 19, 2014

My Turn: The 2014 Kidlitoshpere Progressive Poem

Welcome to Day 19 of the Kidlitosphere PROGRESSIVE POEM, organized by the lovely and talented Irene Latham (click here to see how she sets it up each year - thank you, Irene!)  I've been watching the poem grow day by day for the last eighteen days - we've got a rhymed-couplet thing going so far, and there's a menagerie of sorts (elephant, peacock, eagle, hen and jellyfish - fun!) I appreciate the energy infused on Day 9 by Diane Mayr as well as the practical/tactical inner rhyme on Day 10, thank you, Tabatha! Tamera on Day 15 added a charm to the mix, Robyn got the poem moving toward the coast on the 16th. Now it's my turn to either go with the flow or set the poem on its ear. The former choice is a little safe - my natural inclination is to shake things up a bit. But shaking it up is risky. I do it with my own poems - look for unexpected directions, complicate the rhyme or rhythm, reach for the surprise. I don't want to get too abstract or large in scope - my own work usually goes after small details (and maybe way too often, goes for an elbow in the ribs and/or a pun.) I want to change directions or tonal registers when the effort is collaborative? Well...ummmm.....hmmmmm....should I rock the boat or glide? What's it going to be, Julie? It's down to the wire....

Okay now, I've made my decision and put my line in at the bottom, bolded so you can see what I contributed. It's a little dreamy, maybe, but I want to hold on to that mystery Irene injected while still helping the narrative move "to the coast."  Buffy Silverman, it's your turn next. And thanks to all of you for the creative nudge(s) and the willingness to put yourselves out there and have fun together!

Sitting on a rock, airing out my feelings to the universe
Acting like a peacock, only making matters that much worse;
Should I trumpet like an elephant emoting to the moon,
Or just ignore the warnings written in the rune?
Those stars can’t seal my future; it’s not inscribed in stone.
The possibilities are endless! Who could have known?
Gathering courage, spiral like an eagle after prey
Then gird my wings for whirlwind gales in realms far, far away.
But, hold it! Let’s get practical! What’s needed before I go?
Time to be tactical— I’ll ask my friends what I should stow.
And in one breath, a honeyed word whispered low— dreams —
Whose voice? I turned to see. I was shocked. Irene’s
“Each voyage starts with tattered maps; your dreams dance on this page.
Determine these dreams—then breathe them! Engage your inner sage.”
The merry hen said, “Take my sapphire eggs to charm your host.”
I tuck them close – still warm – then take my first step toward the coast
This journey will not make me rich, and yet I long to be
like luminescent jellyfish, awash in mystery.
I turn and whisper, "Won't you come?" to all the beasts and birds,

Below is the chronology of contributors. Take 10 minutes and see how the poem morphed from one day to the next by clicking on the daily link - it's fascinating to have so many poets working to shape a poem, in terms of structure, technique, sound, heart, and head. Enjoy!

1 Charles at Poetry Time
2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Donna at Mainely Write
4 Anastasia at Poet! Poet!
5 Carrie at Story Patch
6 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
7 Pat at Writer on a Horse
8 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
9 Diane at Random Noodling
10 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
11 Linda at Write Time
12 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
13 Janet at Live Your Poem
14 Deborah at Show--Not Tell
15 Tamera at The Writer's Whimsy
16 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
17 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Julie at The Drift Record
20 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
21 Renee at No Water River
22 Laura at Author Amok
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Linda at TeacherDance
25 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
26 Lisa at Lisa Schroeder Books
27 Kate at Live Your Poem
28 Caroline at Caroline Starr Rose
29 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
30 Tara at A Teaching Life

P.S. Head over to Books Around the Table to see some of my musings this week about reading Marcel Proust for the first time.  And I'm proud to say that Doug Glover, the editor of Numero Cinq ("a warm place on a cruel web") published five of my poems for adults this month - here's the link.


  1. "Won't you come?" It IS dreamy! And wonderful. What would the journey be without company? Another challenge of this poem is writing a line that goes somewhere but also keeps it open for the remaining collaborators... my tendency is to want to wrap things up, when we have a ways to go yet. Thank you, Julie!

  2. It's becoming quite a good story already, and now you've invited everyone to turn the page with such anticipation, Julie. Wonderful!

  3. Wonderful invitation and pass off, Julie! Should I admit that my first thought for the next line is to have those flying beasties reply with splatting something that rhymes with birds? On to second, third, or fourth thoughts!

  4. That's true, Buffy - I didn't want to pick an end-word that would be difficult or point the poem only one direction - and the possibilities of curd/turd/absurd came to me right away! But there are just enough other choices to keep things non-splatt-ish, I hope! :-)

  5. Happy to see that I'm not the only one--and that Buffy and Julie both considered "turds"! (My only excuse is that I've been doing a lot of K-5 school visits lately.) Words-herds-shards-fjords: all much better possibilities! (Eager to see what you choose, Buffy!)

    (And was that you, Mary Lee, who made Irene the whisperer? Brilliant!)

  6. Ahhh - I'm all about the beasts and birds, so I LOVE this line, Julie! I hope they all say yes. ;0)

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  9. Third try to get my comment without typos: No, turd wouldn't be a first choice for me! I like Janet's suggestion, "herd." It would be apropos.

    If I post this one, and it's still wrong, I'll just wear my "I write good" badge proudly and go quietly into the night...

  10. I love the invitation to come along to the beasts and birds. Where are we going? Can we keep the rhyme and meter going?

  11. Wouldn't you think writers would think "words" before "turds"? Okay, maybe not. Just please don't use "nerds"!

  12. A sojourn for the animals, the sapphire eggs, the hen, maybe the peacock will actually appear? Oh it is a mystery and a surprise every day. I am glad I am not figuring the rhyme for birds..though I am with Donna, words has lots of potential. Wonderful where Buffy will take us! I also love to read what each poet puts about their thoughts and process. Thanks, everyone.
    Janet F.

  13. Ooooh! Friends for the journey! I immediately thought "words" and am now dying cracking up over here... Such fun! Thank you for bringing in some beasties...

  14. Ooh, I just took a moment to catch up on the poem and am amazed at the twists and turns it has taken. I love your invitation, Julie! Now I'm off to see Buffy's response... :)