Today, I contributed to and approved, the blurb that will be issued to the trade when describing my first Children’s Picture Book. It may even appear on the back cover. (I won’t dwell on how the word “blurb” frustrates me when the words “a brief outline of the story” could be used, this is not the time to be picky.) Today is the day to celebrate and be excited by the fact I have my very own blurb. I have blurb about a book that I have written. Me. My book. My blurb. Happy.
Napowrimo Challenge: Day 25
Write a poem that explores a small, defined space – it could be your childhood bedroom, or the box where you keep old photos. It could be the inside of a coin purse or the recesses of an umbrella stand. Any space will do – so long as it is small, definite, and meaningful to you.
Warm sunbeams stream through the windows
bathing my room in golden light.
Propped by plumped, puffy pillows.
Nested, I settle down to write.
A peaceful retreat tucked away,
so sacred, secure and serene.
Escape from everyday melee,
to conjure, create and dream.
Napowrimo Challenge Day 24
I initially struggled with this prompt, but once I’d found an angle, it became much easier to write.
Write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art…base your poem on a very particular kind of art – the marginalia of medieval manuscripts. Here you’ll find some characteristic images of rabbits hunting wolves, people sitting on nests of eggs, dogs studiously reading books, and birds wearing snail shells. What can I say? It must have gotten quite boring copying out manuscripts all day, so the monks made their own fun. Hopefully, the detritus of their daydreams will inspire you as well!
A young boy, bent and twisted
over a dimly lit desk, peers at the page.
The candle flickers.
Stiff with cold, his bones ache
from long diligent hours, transcribing reverent texts.
His repetitive days pass in silent gloom.
His quill scratches hairy parchment with thin ink.
Original thoughts are not required,
Nor dreams or ambition.
Bound by his vow of celibacy,
he will never know the passion of young love.
Hunger and starvation pains his body, pains his soul.
Neglect and lack of sustenance drive him
to the point of defacing the page
with subversive medieval marginalia.
Supressed dreams, desires and anger merge
revealing his inner torment.
Offensive images of vulgarity spill out onto the page.
He longs to run away from the sordid squalor,
from the dark, cold and damp monastery.
To stretch his legs, straighten his back,
feel sun on his face as he runs into the arms
of one who smiles and cares.
The monastic life drives him away
rather than draws him nearer to God.
Are the words he pens so hollow?
Day 23 Napowrimo Challenge
Our prompt for Day Twenty-Three comes to us from Gloria Gonsalves, who challenges us to write a double elevenie. What’s that? Well, an elevenie is an eleven-word poem of five lines, with each line performing a specific task in the poem. The first line is one word, a noun. The second line is two words that explain what the noun in the first line does, the third line explains where the noun is in three words, the fourth line provides further explanation in four words, and the fifth line concludes with one word that sums up the feeling or result of the first line’s noun being what it is and where it is. There are some good examples in the link above.
A double elevenie would have two stanzas of five lines each, and twenty-two words in all. It might be fun to try to write your double elevenie based on two nouns that are opposites, like sun and moon, or mountain and sea.
Work in progress
Awaiting illustrations and print
Edge of seat
Endlessly pacing the floor
Day 22 Napowrimo Challenge
In honor of Earth Day, I’d like to challenge you to write a georgic. The original georgic poem was written by Virgil, and while it was ostensibly a practical and instructional guide regarding agricultural concerns, it also offers political commentary on the use of land in the wake of war. The georgic was revived by British poets in the eighteenth century, when the use of land was changing both due to the increased use of enlightenment farming techniques and due to political realignments such as the union of England, Scotland, and Wales.
Your Georgic could be a simple set of instructions on how to grow or care for something, but it could also incorporate larger themes as to how land should be used (or not used), or for what purposes.
Each blade of grass cools and cushions naked summer feet.
Pure daisy petals inspire children to form chains for halos and crowns.
Scented blousy roses tempt lovers to give away unguarded hearts.
Sage and stately trees steadfastly raise their arms in worship,
whilst housing birds, squirrels and bugs.
Their roots protecting foxes, badgers and rabbits
in bracken covered burrows and mossy dens.
The bluebells delicate and snowdrops hardy,
the clinging ivy, sheltering scurrying insects,
all withstand the extremes of each season, weathered yet thriving.
Opening and closing in response to the sun,
reaching skyward in praise.
None needs man’s intervention.
Man takes the fruits of their labour to feed his own.
Frustrated that nature is not abundant enough,
not convenient enough, not quick enough
to satisfy man’s demands, he violates the earth.
Tearing up nature, he manipulates and reforms the land
into ordered geometrical design;
to contain more production in a single acre,
to harness and harvest every last ounce nature can provide.
Like a caged tiger pacing, sleeping, repeating,
she churns out crops, silently awaiting freedom.
She survives captivity and molestation.
When man has gone, she will flourish once more,
using his decomposed body as nutrients to feed the soil.
The largest, most dominant predators fall,
swallowed up and fossilised by the ground they once trampled.
The roses arise more fragrant.
The bees produce a sweeter honey.
I’m human. I confess. Not only did I miss yesterday’s Napowrimo challenge, but as my response will show, when trying to please everyone, I usually get it all wrong!
Please note, unusually for me, there are religious references, but please don’t misinterpret my jest as an intention to offend anyone… if I do, add it to my list of imperfections and please accept my deepest apologies. I merely make light of today’s struggles to keep the faith (particularly mine).
Please could I also ask anyone reading this who knows me personally, please don’t tell my Mother-In-Law I posted this across the entire world wide web, I’m in trouble enough!
Napowrimo Day 20
Write a poem that incorporates the vocabulary and imagery of a specific sport or game.
My Response: (with a very loose reference to a card game)
The Ham Sandwich Incident
It was Jack’s 5th birthday
I had everything;
Bouncy castle, candles,
balloons, ribbons and bows.
Birthday cake and presents,
a great big gazebo.
I had buns for hotdogs,
pizzas and lots of treats,
when I was reminded;
no-one will eat meat!
“Today is Good Friday,
everyone eats fish!”
“Your buffet looks lovely
but was fish on your list?”
Fish finger sandwiches!
Yes, they will surely do.
I pre-heated the oven
and hurriedly set to.
I saw her pick the ham
off the pizza that I served.
Ate fish fingers, hungrily.
Was that a tiny burp?
The party in full swing.
The buffet went down well.
Hotdogs and ham sandwiches
devoured without hard sell.
Mum in law picked her food.
No meat touched her hands.
Eyes darted to the buns,
filled with freshly carved ham.
Yet she was adamant;
It was a day of fish!
Nothing would persuade her
to pass meat across her lips.
At 5pm I walked in,
her mouth full of ham barm!
She hung her head in shame,
asked; would it do her harm?
“It was only one” she said
“I’m sure you’ll be forgiv’n”
I reassured her more,
that God will surely listen.
The card game that evening;
she couldn’t win a hand.
She was sure of the cause
“Eating that damned ham!”
She was being punished
for lack of discipline.
Bad juju on her game.
She’d never win again.
As I was the tempter,
I suggested we atone.
Back into the kitchen,
Produced the hot x buns.
This will surely fix it,
cancel wrong with a right?
She agreed and ate it
with one almighty bite.
I’m glad God in Heaven
was pleased with her once more,
but it was a reminder;
He’s always keeping score.
Day 21 Napowrimo Challenge
Write a poem that incorporates overheard speech. It could be something you’ve heard on the radio, or a phrase you remember from your childhood, even something you overheard a coworker say in the break room! Use the overheard speech as a springboard from which to launch your poem. Your poem could comment directly on the overheard phrase or simply use it as illustration or tone-setting material.
I merged the suggestion of “something remembered from childhood ” and “coworker” and recollected a kindness by a coworker when I first started working. He gave me advice I will never forget and will always live by.
“The man who made no mistakes, made nothing at all”
Told to me by a wise man
who held me under his wing,
when I made my first mistake
and the world came to an end.
He held my hand, guided me,
through the stormy seas that came.
Stayed until the sun came out
and chased away the rain.
I carry his sage advice
“Keep trying no matter what.
Your efforts hold your value,
not other people’s thoughts.”
Napowrimo Day 19
Write a poem that recounts a creation myth. It doesn’t have to be an existing creation myth, or even recount how all of creation came to be. It could be, for example, your own take on the creation of ball-point pens, or the discovery of knitting. Your myth can be as big or small as you would like, as serious or silly as you make it.
In leafy forest glade,
amongst meadow flowers fair,
heady floral fragrance
hung heavily in the air.
Still, she sat in zenful peace,
as daydreams drifted by.
A breeze blew the tallest leaves
and whispered softest sighs.
With eyes closed, she observed
a world of scents and sounds.
Then she pushed each thought out
until silent mind was found.
Maiden so serene and soft,
in state of inner calm,
exhaled long, stretched aloft
her slender ivory arms.
With slight move, turned her face
to the golden orb on high.
Reaching with delicate grace
plucked insight from the sky.
Again she reached, caught more;
glints of wisdom and of truth.
Pulled each near her fairy form,
where they glowed, brightest hues.
Nimble fingers worked thereon,
wove gems into ribbon tails.
Multitudes of colours shone
as fluttering bright yacht sails.
Her fingers worked into night.
Ribbons stretched to the stars.
Weaving kindness, peace and grace
into finest work of art.
The Gods saw the modesty
of this gifted fairy child,
whose work simple honesty,
from a soul so meek and mild.
They raised her up to heaven.
Forever she will remain.
Her ribbons stretch across the sky
when sunlight meets the rain.
Napowrimo Challenge: Day 18
Write a poem that incorporates neologisms. What’s that? Well, it’s a made-up word! Your neologisms could be portmanteaus (basically, a word made from combining two existing words, like “motel” coming from “motor” and “hotel”) or they could be words invented entirely for their sound.
My partner threatens to smothercate me
He has a premeditated defence:
temporary mental incapacity
caused by sleep deprivation
as a direct result of
He hasn’t done it yet, he must love me.
“Smothercate” – verb -to suffocate by holding a pillow over the face
Napowrimo Day 16
Write a nocturne. In music, a nocturne is a composition meant to be played at night, usually for piano, and with a tender and melancholy sort of sound. Your nocturne should aim to translate this sensibility into poetic form!
Night lead me by the hand
as we climb a twinkling staircase of stars.
Darkness cover me. Tuck me in.
Place a goodnight kiss on my forehead.
Shadows close my heavy eyes.
Guide me into sleep.
Dreams waltz with me
across an endless sky of velvet black.
Stillness soothe my mind.
Sing me a lullaby of moonlit melody.
Softness sway my soul.
Rock me gently with your sympathetic lilt.
Peacefulness rise and fall
with every breath, as I slip deeper
into restful slumber.