Monday, 26 April 2010

National Poetry Writing Month, Day Twentysix

Panic! I got waylaid today, business problems: our material means of production is under threat and we don’t produce much to begin with. Still, can’t let material existence affect art.
Today’s RWP prompt is:

It’s getting late in the month, and finishing NaPoWriMo is going to take every bit of resourcefulness you have. Jill Crammond Wickham reminds us about the bits and pieces of poems we may be carrying around.
Today, before you start writing, you need to do some digging. Dig through your backpack, purse or desk drawer and find a scrap of poem written on an old envelope or bank deposit slip. Unearth an old journal or notebook.
Find a poem that you started, or perhaps one you abandoned. Read it through. Highlight the lines or phrases that please you. Do not cross anything out (yet)! You now have two choices: finish the poem or take the parts you like and begin a brand new piece.
If NaPoWriMo has you a little crazy, there is a third option: take the parts you don’t like and use them to inspire a new poem.

Portrait of the Lady as a Pea-Bug Husk

as a promise
gained under duress:
a solemn vow;
a blown out plover’s egg
in a dainty centerpiece
Easter nest.

as a dirt road
in a heatwave
that wavers from the crow’s route
driving you on in the burning sun
unable to see your destination.

as a tart crust
that must be tackled
with care, lest it crack
as he adds his aromatic custards.


Golden West said...

"Dry as a dirt road in a heatwave" - that prompts such a strong visual, Eryl, I can see the shimmer off the soil!

Glad to hear your son is well in Hawaii - a grand adventure for him!

Gadjo Dilo said...

Can one, alternatively, take the aforementioned bank deposit slip, read it through, highlight the lines that please you, then take the parts you like and write a brand new bank deposit slip?

Anonymous said...

I love this poem - 'Friable/as a tart crust' - delicious!


Alesa Warcan said...

Interesting triptych.
Each scene does add a textured layer to her portrait.

Titus said...

Love the adjectival start to each stanza, and very strong imagery.
I also like "Pea Husk" in the title.
Interesting, involving poem.

Eryl Shields said...

Golden ~ I love that shimmer you get when a road is really hot, needless to say I don't see it very often here in Scotland.

Gadjo ~ I think you might be right, I'll try it!

Laughing ~ really friable pastry is one of my favourite eaties, but it is so delicate that getting it to the mouth is often problematic.

Alesa ~ I began this poem as a response to a favourite sculpture of an artist I know, but gave it up as impossible. It still doesn't work but hey ho.

Titus ~ Tom (Pow) would say 'remove the adjectives and see what happens,' and what I think would happen is the images would become more powerful and the reader would be at liberty to interpret them in his/her own way. I do like an adjective though!

I recently discovered that pea-bug husk is a recurring motif in my work.

Alesa Warcan said...

I hope your business problems work out.

How did you know what I was wondering?
So the lady this is a portrait of is a sculpture?

It does work, for me at any rate. I was thinking it painted an unhappy portrait, but it shines a completely different light if the subject is inanimate.

It wouldn't work for me without the adjectives. It would feel like another of those poems where the reader was left to connect the imagery dots to get a whole picture.

Titus said...

I'm with Alesa. The adjectives are a big part of the strength of this. It's because they are the lead, not the describing word, as I would say to the boys.

Eryl Shields said...

Alesa ~ Ach, we could probably both do with a little less food on the table!

I knew you were wondering something so I took a guess. I've added a photograph of the sculpture in question, it's by Elizabeth Waugh who is a local artist and one of the few I know who is able to make a living off her art.

The adjectives work as sign posts to a possible meaning but do you not think they are a bit heavy handed and close down interpretive possibilities?

Titus ~ I worry, though, that they lead too much. I am conscious of being a bit bossy and, see above response to Alesa, possibly dragging readers down a path they don't want to go. Though I think this is the sort of debate that could go on forever, and you will, no doubt, get a lot of it once you begin your course.

Alesa Warcan said...

Less food on the table... What an elegant way of putting it.

Well, my tastes often seem to deviate from standard so my view doesn't count for much...
That said, for me, the picture takes the poem from abstraction to reality. It pulls together the loose strands of imagery that were floating in an ether of potential meanings and makes the piece whole.

"Heavy handed and closing down[...]"
Hmm... Well, no, not for me. But I may be subpar at interpreting abstraction. I'm glad for adjectives and illustration, without them I would imagine too many simultaneous overlapping possible meaning and interwoven meaning for each word and verse...

But as you say, this is a debate that could go on forever, because we're entering the realm of subjective interpretation and appreciation, which varies from person to person.

Wigeon said...

What an amazing poem from that image of Liz's (which is different from her normal curvaceous people.) Superb combination of words makes up something rather incredible.
I so admire you for taking on this challenge - wow what a way to spend a month and how great for your writing. Do you think it's been worthwhile/had an effect on your writing practice? Is it harder than completing the folio?!
I'm not getting into the adjective discussion!