Poetry on the Pillars

April 2011 - Posts

Haiku

 

Haiku is a form of poetry that concerns itself less with rhymes and more with syllable counts.  The haiku originates from Japan.  Classical haiku are arranged in three lines of 5 syllables, 7 syllables and 5 syllables.  Other formats do exist.

They are short, but that does not mean they are easier to write.  Sometimes containing an idea in such a small amount of space can be very challenging.  Some haiku contain multiple stanzas of the same syllable scheme. So...

When five syllables
Precede another seven
Then five, it's haiku

Now you do one.  

 

Did you know it? You're a Natural poet!
HAPPY EARTH DAY! To celebrate, the theme this week will be none other than nature herself. Such a vast and copious muse she can be. One often only need sit in an open field or in the shady wood for a few minutes, with pen and paper in hand, before words start to flow like clear river streams down rugged mountainsides.

Nature has been inspiring great art since the dawn of time and has engaged the mind of the human heart since our humble beginnings. The influence of nature on the arts can be seen in the first strokes of creativity upon the walls of the caves occupied by our ancestors. Follow the link below to read a brief and intriguing article on this.

http://www.npr.org/2011/04/20/135516812/herzog-enters-the-cave-of-forgotten-dreams

Art and nature, especially when moving together, can have an impact far beyond the perspective of one single human life. One of the earliest American naturalists was John Muir. John Muir's poetic voice, which conveyed the beauty of the natural world, inspired Theodore Roosevelt. It can be said that the poetic voice, writing, and life of John Muir is part of the reason for nationally protected areas of land called National Parks, which Theodore Roosevelt helped to establish.

This is the power of poetry. This is the power of nature, which waits patiently to inspire the heart of humankind. This week, be inspired! Immerse yourself in that which surrounds you and with that which is flowing through you! Bring a pen and paper and post what you see and find right here! To get those natural juices flowing, here are a few examples, two from John Muir and one from Mary Oliver. Both of whom are wonderful speakers for the natural world.


Song
by John Muir

Here is calm so deep, grasses cease waving.
Everything in wild nature fits into us,
as if truly part and parent of us.
The sun shines not on us but in us.
The rivers flow not past, but through us,
thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell
of the substance of our bodies,
making them glide and sing.
The trees wave and the flowers bloom
in our bodies as well as our souls,
and every bird song, wind song,
and; tremendous storm song of the rocks
in the heart of the mountains is our song,
our very own, and sings our love.

_________________________________

Walk with Nature
by John Muir

Let children walk with nature,
let them see the beautiful blending,
communions of death and life,
their joyous inseparable unity,
as taught in woods and meadows,
plains and mountains and streams.
And they will learn that death is stingless.
And as beautiful as life.

___________________________________

Such Singing in the Wild Branches
by Mary Oliver

It was spring
and finally I heard him
among the first leaves-
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness-
and that's when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree-
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
stopped
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing-
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfectly blue sky- all, all of them

were singing.
And, of course, yes, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn't last

for more than a few moments.
It's one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you've been there,
you're there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then- open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

____________________________________________________

(Please remember we are asking for original poetry only. By submitting work for this project you attest that you are the original creator and owner of the intellectual property. Further, by submitting entries you license the Round Rock Library to include those entries into its published compilation, sales of which will benefit the Friends of the Round Rock Public Library. We thank you for sharing your creativity.)

Poetry you can Snap to

Avant-garde is the word we attribute to art and literature that is experimental in nature.  It can be innovative.  It's usually kind of wierd.  New things, by the very nature of being new, are different from the things that have come before them.  Sometimes the avant-garde can start a movement.  Often it can make you scratch your head.  This week try something that's a little avant-garde.  Of course, this is a poetry blog and so I am referring to writing poetry, but you can be avant-garde in your own life in any way.  Find a consistent habit you perform and replace it with something you never or only rarely do.  There is the avant-garde expression of you.  Mind, it's probably best if you decide to look into this kind of expression to keep new habits safe and socially acceptible to some degree.  Don't jump into tiger pits just because it's not really like you to do that sort of thing.  Just do your hair differently or something.

 Okay, back to poetry.  You don't have to look hard to find avant-garde poetry.  Take a look at e. e. cummings. (He doesn't capitalize his name at all.  Now THAT's avant-garde.)  He wrote the poem Buffalo Bill's.  It's more fun if you can say it all in one breath.  Did you do it?

Now try to glean some meaning out of This Is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams.  Williams seems to have believed that poetry can come from anywhere be it a note on the refrigerator or a Red Wheelbarrow.  It's the kind of poetry that makes you say, "..." 

 Can you dig?  Well, if you really want to get your fingers snapping, you need to get into the beat movement, and you'll find no finer guide than Alan Ginsberg.  Take a moment to read through his New Stanzas for Amazing Grace.  Wait, put some shades on first.  Now read it.  Snapping your fingers yet?  If not, it's okay.  Avant-garde isn't for everybody, but just think about something you love.  Chances are, whatever it is, it was once new, innovative and (dare I say?) avant-garde.  So take a chance this week.  Try something new.  You might hate it, but you could love it.  You're not out anything for giving something new a shot and if it doesn't work out, try something else next week.

 -We will keep all themes open through the month of April.  You may still submit entries to any themes. 

(Please remember we are asking for original poetry only. By submitting work for this project you attest that you are the original creator and owner of the intellectual property. Further, by submitting entries you license the Round Rock Library to include those entries into its published compilation, sales of which will benefit the Friends of the Round Rock Public Library. We thank you for sharing your creativity.)

Free For All

So far for poetry submissions, we have covered odes, antique poems, limericks and metaphorical poetry.  So what if you have a poem that is not an ode, isn't old, doesn't follow the limerick formula and has little to do with metaphor?  Well, you simply post it to this week's blog, the Free For All.

 This is a place for free verse, diverse themes, any rhyme scheme you can manage and any literary device you like.  Who's up for some onomatopoeia?  Looking for a forum to publish that poem about the time you tap danced with the monster in your closet?  Somehow it slips through all the themes?  Look no further!  We want all the poems you've written that we'd have never dreamed existed.  Send them to us

-We will keep all themes open through the month of April.  You may still submit entries to any of the other themes. 

(Please remember we are asking for original poetry only. By submitting work for this project you attest that you are the original creator and owner of the intellectual property. Further, by submitting entries you license the Round Rock Library to include those entries into its published compilation, sales of which will benefit the Friends of the Round Rock Public Library. We thank you for sharing your creativity.)

Metaphormosis

Metaphor is the term we use to make creative comparisons of different objects that may have little in common, but when compared reveal a conceptual relationship that helps to identify a hidden meaning.  Directly, a metaphor is simply calling one thing something else.  Referring to a problem as a wrench in the gears is a metaphor.  Many common insults are also metaphors, such as calling individuals by words that do not literally depict them, but create a comparison that you believe they deserve because they cut you off in traffic. 

Metaphor is also a general category that contains other literary devices such as similes and analogies.  You will have a difficult time finding poetry that does not contain within it some kind of metaphor.  Some poems are a metaphor in and of themselves.  One famous example of this is Walt Whitman's elegy to President Lincoln, "Oh Captain! My Captain!"  The poem speaks of the captain of a ship who has died having brought his crew through some rough waters.  The rough waters, of course, are the civil war, but you will not find any direct mention of Lincoln or the Civil War in Whitman's poem.  Another example you will likely recognize is Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken."  I won't go in depth on this one, but I will give you a hint.  It's not about roads.

For this theme, write a poem that is a metaphor.  That is to say write a poem that is about something that is really about something else.  Ready?  Activate your powers of subtext, and...GO!

 

-This week, the themes for metaphor poetry and limericks opened up, but we will keep all themes open through the month of April.  You may still submit entries to the first pair of themes, Odes and antique poetry. 

(Please remember we are asking for original poetry only. By submitting work for this project you attest that you are the original creator and owner of the intellectual property. Further, by submitting entries you license the Round Rock Library to include those entries into its published compilation, sales of which will benefit the Friends of the Round Rock Public Library. We thank you for sharing your creativity.)

The Limerick

A limerick is a type of poem that is often witty or humorous. The limerick generally uses a form of five anapestic lines rhyming AABBA. Enough technical jargon though, it's really very simple. The following is an example by Edward Lear, who popularized the form in the early 19th century. In this limerick he has fused the third and fourth lines into a single line with internal rhyme. Limericks are traditionally five lines long.

There was an Old Man with a Beard
By Edward Lear (1812-1888)

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, "It is just as I feared!-
Two Owls and a Hen, four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard."  

The conditions for submitting to this week's poetry blog are simple, we wrote a couple of limericks to suggest the idea.   

There are limericks with wit and humor therein,
That can make your face perk up with a grin.
We'll post these a.m. or p.m.
With no reason to stash them
At the bottoms of the recycling bin. 

___________________________________________

There once was a limerick named crude.
The words found within it were rude.
And since many may view,
The posts here by you,
The lewd we must simply exclude. 

Enjoy writing some limericks!
Feel free to post to the blogs from the past week as well.

(Please remember we are asking for original poetry only. By submitting work for this project you attest that you are the original creator and owner of the intellectual property. Further, by submitting entries you license the Round Rock Library to include those entries into its published compilation, sales of which will benefit the Friends of the Round Rock Public Library. We thank you for sharing your creativity.)