Woke up to the fun find that one of our workshops at Pernessy Poets in Lausanne is part of today’s feature for NaPoWriMo. What a treat it will be to surf your poems today!
NaPoWriMo, April 19, 2019: “…Today, I’d like to challenge you to write an abecedarian poem – a poem in which the word choice follows the words/order of the alphabet. You could write a very strict abecedarian poem, in which there are twenty-six words in alphabetical order, or you could write one in which each line begins with a word that follows the order of the alphabet…” The names of the animals for this poem came from a list written by my family – JF, Olivia and Alex — to pass the time on a road trip years ago.
This may sound strange — but what would you do
if you came back home and discovered a zoo?
We sat in the driveway – all were tongue-tied.
The house sure looked different — but no one knew why.
I climbed on the bench for a peek inside….
You. can’t. imagine. but you can give it a try!
I’ll try to describe it, one sight at a time,
in alphabetic order — but not rhyme:
Actual anteaters aspirating alfalfa sprouts
Bouncing baboons buttering bananas
Crocodiles chewing caramels — continuously
Dehydrated donkeys drinking daiquiris
Egalitarian eagles egging everyone
Flamingos flouring flopping fish
Greedy gorillas gobbling grapes
Happy hyenas heaving honey
Iconic iguanas icing ice cream
Jaguars juggling jellies
Keen kangaroos kicking kiwis
Leopards licking liquorice ladders
Mad monkeys munching maggoty mangos
Nifty newts nibbling nuts
Orang-utans overtly opening Oreos
Proper porcupines picking pickles
Quivering quail quacking-up quinoa
Roman rhinos revelling in ravioli
Sleepy sloths supping sushi
Tigers teething on t-bones
Uakari unsettling upside-down-cake
Vultures eviscerating vanilla beans
Walruses watering waffles with wine
X-ray tetras exhaling xeres
Yaks yodelling “Yummy yam yogurt, yoo—hoo!”
Zebras zapping zucchini ziti
Now you believe me? Just what would you do
if you came home and discovered a zoo?
NaPoWriMo Prompt 17 April 2019: “…Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that presents a scene from an unusual point of view …” The Forest is the nickname for the wooden frame of Notre Dame’s roof — an immense intricate lattice of ancient wood. More info on it in this NYT article here.
Possible Thoughts of a Notre Dame Security Guard, April 17, 2019
Maybe, if we hadn’t searched so hard
all morning for evil: lined everyone up,
first searched their eyes, then checked
their pockets, sacks, and backpacks
for means of destruction, signs of meanness,
maybe, just maybe, we could have felt
that elemental fear — our ancestors’ fear
of fire — instead of our fear of the other.
Maybe we would have wondered if we might
be looking in all the wrong places and checked
into the Forest, like those who stood guard
up there, for hundreds of years, with their fear.
Much fun to have this poem published by California’s Las Positas College in their anthology, Havik: The Las Positas College Journal of Arts and Literature (Spring 2019)
Elegy for the Prisoners in My Study
To get to my desk, I shuffle across parquet
made of pine trees who once swayed their days away
in faraway forests before they were stripped
naked, sliced up and slapped with varnish.
To sit at my desk, I plunk into a wicker chair
whose reeds once shilly-shallied in the breeze
somewhere balmy before they were ripped up and
water-boarded until they’d conform into appropriate shape.
To write on my desk, my glass desk, sand stretched
some sunny expanse tickled by wild waves before
it was kidnapped and cremated into transparent flatness
on which I put pencil to paper. Paper. Pencil. More trees…
I’ve taken many prisoners to create poetry.
May the trees, and reeds, and sand forgive me.
May I honor them each time I forge my way through
this forest to sit by the shore in the reeds and write.
*by Elizabeth Boquet
“Reverse Musical Chairs” was published by Stoneboat Literary Journal (April 2019)
Sundays at noon
at my mother’s table with eight chairs
the seven of us sat.
We’d take our usual seats
and there was always room
the six of us struggled
to find our spots at the same table
among the eight original chairs
despite my father’s permanent absence
leaving room for two.
the eight chairs remain
waiting round the same table.
There are only five of us left.
We search in desperation
but my mother took the music with her;
no one can find a seat.
Long live NaPoWriMo days! Callooh! Callay!
But before I get all mimsy, here’s the thing: NaPoWriMo’s prompts have inspired some of my best poems — ten of last year’s have been published (or are forthcoming) and three others tempted some slithy toves but, because I had left “an electronic trail by publishing them” on my blog, were ultimately refused. ‘Twas brillig. So, this year, I shall shun this frumious Bandersnatch and take my vorpal sword in hand off screen.
In the meantime, thank you for visiting my blog. I look forward to hopping around other participants’ sites and I promise to come galumphing back and post my published poems here, as soon as the rights return to me upon publication. If you choose to follow this blog, you can receive them automatically in your email.
Until then, see you by the Tumtum tree,
In memoriam of my dad, Lawrence C. Hornor, April 28, 1929 – Febrary 12, 2019, who would recite the original “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll — even when impaled by a lilac bush he was trimming by the sea — and with thanks to NaPoWriMo for prompting me “to rewrite a famous poem” so I could give him this little something back.
by Lewiz Carroll Hornor Boquet
Dad took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the lilaxome foe sought —
So rested he by the purplish tree
And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in doofish thought he stood,
The Dadderwhack, with eyes of flame,
Came whippling through the bugley wood
And sworbled as he came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
His sharpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it flib, and with his rib
Made one final attack.
And thus did slay, my Dadderwhack,
That rottish lilaxsome-annoy!
O frabjous day! Callouh! Callay!
He chortled in his joy.
“Birthright” was first published in Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing (March 2019).
Back then, back there — as a child in the summer
on month-long sails with my mother
down the coast of Maine, we’d gaze east,
as far as our eyes could see, across the Atlantic.
Hey, Mom! I think I see France! or maybe…Portugal?
Oh my! Pass the binoculars! Let’s see!
She’d let me believe each island from Kittery Point
to Penobscot Bay might be uninhabited, just waiting
for exploration — or the discovery of a new welcoming land.
She let me practice possibilities.
What do you suppose they do for fun there?
I wonder what they’ll have for supper tonight?
So, in my teens, when I finally made it all the way
across the Atlantic to study in France, it was a matter of course
to fit right in with a new world and its inhabitants —
who, after all, had just been waiting for me to come and join them.
Bonjour, Mademoiselle. Comment allez-vous?
Très, très bien, Monsieur. Merci. Et vous?
Unsure where I am most foreign in the eyes of others —
there, back home — or here, in this life abroad without birthright,
I know I belong because of summer mornings
along Portuguese and French shorelines.
I still connect by looking as far west as my eyes can see
towards those Atlantic islands, grateful liquid bridges never burn.