Writing 201: Future

“Day 10 has arrived: let’s end the course with a bang. Sonnets, chiasmus, the future — en garde!”

The poetry prompt for the final day of Writing 201 is “the future.”
The form is the “Sonnet.”
The device is “chiasmus.”

(Click on the link above for the full assignment explanation.)

Cairns, Block Island, 2011
throughout history cairns, stacks of stones, have been built for navigation and as monuments or spiritual offerings.

Past Halfway Through

Looking at my life, now past halfway through,
will the future take me, or will I take the future?
At a younger age, more naive, I thought I knew.
Older now, but not yet old, I find myself unsure.
Is it better to clutch aspirations and dreams,
or hold a plan in hand, undeterred, yet gently.
Cradled, nurtured, unfolding. How recently, it seems,
have I begun to fly with expanded wings intently.

A “mature” woman in the land of the free and the home address
of youth, I concede uncertainty seems most certainly certain.
Defined by family, cast as best supporting actress,
I gather my own self and proceed toward the final curtain.
My action resolute, a sense of independence growing,
yet, I accept the unknown as life’s living showing.

Copyright © 2015 Terry Boswell

These past two weeks, participating in the WordPress Writing 201: Poetry workshop have been a lot of fun, but challenging as well. The event nudged me out of my comfort zone and required considerable effort. I wrote and rewrote into the wee hours more than a few times to wrestle with the daily prompt, form, and device.

I have never considered myself a writer, but after this workshop I feel I can consider writing, writing more frequently, and perhaps with more ease.

Thank you Ben Huberman and Denise Williams for all your effort, and thank you to all the workshop participants who were so supportive with comments, follows, and likes!

Writing 201: Landscape

“Day 9. That can only mean one thing: let’s make a list. With a pair of scissors and a map.”

The poetry prompt for day nine of Writing 201 is “landscape.”
The form is “found poetry.”
The device is “enumeratio.”
(Click on the link above for the full assignment explanation.)

I chose to “find” my poetry in the pages of a local newspaper. It became quite a challenge to find words descriptive of landscape among the ads for used cars, retail sales and plumbing repair. Thank goodness there was one garden center ad and another for a local ski area!

All in all, this was another chance at a little silly fun with words in a visual way, as was the concrete poetry assignment of last week.

…and… I got to play with a glue stick, bits of paper, and an old paper bag. I’m easily amused!

(Click on an image to see it larger.)

Celebrating the last days of winter,
come out, the chill is still on!
Another awesome winter of the best snow play!
(Warmest thanks for the polar plunge.)
Yet winter’s grip loosens with upcoming spring.
Look, the snow starts again, but now slow.
It’s time, time to change,
begin anew,
refresh,
preview.
Now is the time to plan for spring.
Earth’s renewal day!

Words and images by Terry Boswell
Copyright © 2015 Terry Boswell

Writing 201: Drawer

“What’s in your drawer? Let’s praise it (to its face) with odes and apostrophes. Hello, Day 8!”

The poetry prompt for day eight of Writing 201 is “drawers.”
The form is “ode.”
The device is “apostrophe.”

 

Closets and Drawers

china closet

Oh, closets and drawers,

many years you’ve accommodated
me

s  p  a  t  o  u  s  l  y  ,

but for more than a decade

I’ve taxed you to your limits.

Spilling your contents into the floor below

and filling up under the eaves of our home.

Through

hospitalization,
home renovation,
mold remediation,
illness,
a business upheaval,
and more …

Through death,

of this one,
then that one,
then another,

over six family members exiting, at a near yearly rate,

and add to that a few friends gone.

Mementoes,
documents,
papers,
accumulation,

life’s left-behinds to process and file.

You hid away what I couldn’t bear,

and enveloped what I needed to store.

And when somewhere in mid-life,

life went awry

with burdens beyond my capability or control,

you absorbed and hid the

overflow,
inability,
the chaos,
confusion
and pain.

And when trying to give what I didn’t have,

indispensable to others,

lost to myself,

closets and drawers, you filled to the brim,

tucking anguish and turmoil in to dark corners,

unaware you can’t hold and absorb

every thing

for every body,

all     for   all ,

without

the bottom

 

dropping

 

 

out.

 

You can’t cram-pack in space already filled,

‘though guilt will say that you should.

And you’re not unkind or terribly deficient.

You can only hold so much, and no more.

 

Closets and drawers, now I pare down your contents

and you, forgiving, relieved, let go

hidden remnants,
memories,
trauma,
pain.

Making room for space in the heart,

clarity, and vision,

because,

really,

 

what do I want left

when I’m gone?

 

Words and pictures by Terry Boswell
Copyright © 2015 Terry Boswell

 

 

Writing 201: Fingers

“It’s Day 7. Time to think about vowels, with your fingers. Prosaically.”

The poetry prompt for day seven of Writing 201 is “fingers.”
The form is “prose.”
The device is “assonance.”

My husband and oldest son are potters so guess what I’ve written about today!

The Potter’s Hands

Fingers moving through mud, sliding over the surface, shaping. Pressuring first, then gliding openness. Encouraging growth, upward, outward, from the center. Conjuring form from the formless.  Subtly nudging, guiding the nameless to become something with a name. Something useful and cherished. A treasure born of the potter’s gentle caress.


Click on an image to see it larger.

To see, handle, admire or purchase the work of my son, Andy, and husband, Ray, you can visit our family business, the Bostree Studio and Gallery, in Sugar Loaf, NY.

Words and pictures
Copyright © Terry Boswell

Writing 201: Hero(ine)

“Grab your verse by both ends (or hands; your call), like a hero with extra big hair. Week 2 here we go!”

The poetry prompt is “hero” or “heroine.”
The form is “ballad.”
The device is “anaphora/epistrophe.”

Rather than writing about a “hero with extra big hair,” in response to today’s poetry prompt, I’ve chosen to write a ballad honoring the invisible hero within each of us that perseveres through life’s daily struggles.

I didn’t use anaphora, the repetition of words at the beginning of a line, but did use epistrophe by repeating the phrase “persevering every day” at the end of a few lines.

Unsung Heroes

Unsung heroes of every day

facing the

responsibilities of life

 

Mouths to feed

and bills to pay

warmth, shelter

love to provide

 

Such small players

in a big world game

persevering every day

 

Grace be given

fortitude, wisdom

persevering every day

 

Living life simply

dawn ’til night

 

Grabbing joy

where it’s found

 

Persevering every day

 

Click on the images to see them larger.

 

Pictures and writing
copyright, © Terry Boswell

 

Writing 201:Poetry Potluck

Our Weekend assignment for Writing 201 is Poetry Potluck.

“Forget brunch. This weekend, let’s share our favorite poems with each other.”

There are many different poems that I love, but the one that popped into my head immediately to share for this assignment was the Dr. Seuss poem “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.” Then just as quickly it was followed by another thought, “You can’t do that! It will seem silly or bizarre in the eyes of all those amazing WordPress poets!”

Well, the thought persisted all weekend, perhaps because I’m able to share the poem with such a creative video that won “Best Short” in the New Media Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA. The video was created by Ted Saunders in 2011 and filmed at Burning Man in the Black Rock Dessert of Northern Nevada. Wikipedia describes Burning Man “…as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance.”

How could I resist posting this awesome short film, made with grown-ups in mind, to share with you an awesome children’s poem? I say children’s poem, but I’ve always admired Dr. Seuss because he often conveys great truths in a way that both children and adults find understandable and enjoyable. When reading his books to my own kids, years ago, I wondered if he was writing for them or me, the adult cuddled beside them. He conveys his meaning uniquely and with his own signature style.

Serious poets might look askance at me for my choice here, but I’m sharing this poem, this particular enactment of this poem, for my own visual and phonemic pleasure. I hope you enjoy it as well!

Writing 201: Fog

“Day 5 is upon us: clear your foggy mind, embrace absence, and paint with words.”

The poetry prompt for day five of Writing 201 is “fog.”
The form is “elegy.”
The device is “metaphor.”

Being visually oriented I headed straight to my photo archives to give me inspiration for today’s poetry prompt. I had been out taking pictures on a foggy winter’s day a couple of weeks ago. It was fairly clear in some places but quite thick with fog in others. The mountains/hills in the background of the first photo are totally obscured.

The first words that leaked out of my brain formed a haiku…

Winter’s frozen breath
hangs suspended over snow
whispering, “Hush now.”

Then another poem formed in my mind, but it wasn’t elegy…

Winter’s frozen breath, thick, suspended,
whispers, “Hush now. Sleep.”
Earth’s deep white blanket envelopes all,
Tucked-in tree and leaf.

Finally I came up with something that perhaps resembles elegy with its characteristic sense of loss…

Summer lies smothered by a heavy white quilt,
Her breath suspended frozen and thick.

Awaiting the arrival of spring mournfully
Forced to relinquish all that is past.

Each bud that was born, each flower that had bloomed,
Each leaf, each tender blade of grass,

Relentlessly shivered and silenced, withered, now gone,
Wrenched from Summer’s weakening grasp.

New buds to birth, new flowers to bloom, fresh and unfamiliar,
Forced to embrace all that is new causing fear and apprehension.

 

Although I’m enjoying stretching myself, all of these Writing 201: Poetry challenges confirm that, for me at least, pictures are so much easier than words!

 

 

Writing 201: Animal

“Make shapes with your poems. Go crazy with enjambment. And pay attention to the animal inside. Hello, Day 4!”

The poetry prompt for day four of Writing 201 is “Animal.”
The form is “Concrete Poetry.”
The device is “Enjambment.”

I’ve been sick with a cold and fever this week and have spent a lot of time curled up on the couch with my dog, so she was the first animal that came to mind for today’s prompt.

Click on the images to see them larger.

Puppy paws playfully pounce,
tossing toys this way and that.
Tail in the air,
snout in a rout,
joyfully sniffing about.

Pausing to sleep in a streak of sunshine.
Dreaming sweet dreams of the next escapade.
Rising,
rested,
ready to go.
Running and racing then
s l o w.

Paws

pause.

Eyes seek me out.

Leaning
lovingly,
strokes,
pats,
and pets.
Curled
cuddling
sublimely content,
my steadfast canine companion.

I’ve made this image available to purchase as a t-shirt, note card, or iPhone cover on Zazzle.com. Click here if you’d like to take a look. 🙂

Words and images by Terry Boswell
Copyright © 2015 Terry Boswell

Writing 201: Trust

“Day 3 is here — and so are questions of trust, acrostics, and internal rhymes.”

The poetry prompt for day three of Writing 201 is “Trust.”

The form is “Acrostic.”

The device is “Internal Rhyme.”

Dark winter sky with light.
Knapps View, Chester, NY, 2015.

 

trusting day will follow night

right when things are darkest,

under any circumstances, no matter fear or plight,

sight seeking optimism, spirit

turned toward ever-present light.

 

When I wrote this poem I did, of course, purposely begin each line so that the first letters of each would vertically spell the word “trust,” but I hadn’t intended for each line to end with a “t.” I noticed this after I had finished writing. It somehow seems fitting that a poem about trust evolved with such consistency since trust is elicited by consistency.

 

As an aside… I used the code below, in the text editor of my post, to make the first letters of each line larger and bold…

<span style=”font-size: X-LARGE; line-height: 1.4;”><strong>my letter choice</strong></span>the rest of my text.

To make the last letter of each line bold, I simply highlighted the letter and used the bold option in the visual editor.