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.
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.
“State of Grace” was first published in Offshoots 14 – Writing from Geneva (2017). The poem and my process for writing it were featured by National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) in April 2017.
State of Grace
It’s a bit like
that moment when you’re asleep but realize someone is
on the fire-escape trying to open your window
and you hear them freeze just before they jump off and run away
your due date has passed and, while setting the table, your back muscles
decide to rise and finger their way forward, `round your ribs and
grip each other over your belly for that first whopping contraction,
or like that dripping August afternoon
in West Virginia when you were sweating out a game of checkers
on the front porch with Grandpa and you saw a way to beat him,
but couldn’t stand the thought of him losing so you goofed on purpose.
Yes, it’s like that, only this time, when it hits you,
it lowers your shoulders and drops your head because you’ve been up all night sorting out fifty years of stuff from your parents’ basement and you remember
where you hid that purple starred sparkly marble from your brother after that fight
and you know exactly what to do —
you make your way to the defunct freezer, fingertip the metal ice cube tray
still on the top shelf to the left where it’s always been and you feel for it —
tangible proof the past can become forgivably present
and you clasp that last piece of a smooth rounded past
in the palm of your hand and head for the stairs leading to the kitchen where you know your brother is sitting in his old spot at the table just staring into his old bowl of cold oatmeal he never eats and you plop that marble right into the thick of it.
by Elizabeth Boquet
Thrilled that this poem was featured 18 April ’18 by National Poetry Writing Month – Global Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo – GloPoWriMo). The generative prompt for it appeared the preceding day. It was inspired by the word “saplings” in – and the concept and format of — “Directions” in Sailing Around the Room by Billy Collins.
NaPoWriMo’s prompt: “…write a poem re-telling a family anecdote that has stuck with you over time.”
Carrying the Ashes*
dedicated to Nanci Hamblett Wilson
You know the granite chunks on the beach,
the ones you see from the dinghy,
the ones that wend their way to
And you know how if you follow the path
up the steepest part of the slope
and climb up into the woods you might
have to grab hold of saplings until
you come to the raspberry patches, picked over
by each of us every summer
right under the grove of tall pine, dripping now
with grandfather’s beard?
And farther on, you know how the path
twists to the left and narrows between juniper
and if you go beyond that you arrive
in the clearing with the long stone ridge
bordered by the small field
followed by the big field that tumbles
right back down to the sea
just to the left of the cabin
where there was the singular chair?
That’s a fine place to stop
and catch your breath.
Of course, the journey’s best done with
your hands free. But you know when
you have a load to carry and your hands are so full
you can’t even grasp a sapling?
Just remember that the beginning of the path
is the steepest and, with each step,
the raspberries are getting closer.
And it helps if you have someone
to chat with when you take breaks
and can switch the load from one to the other
up the path to the singular chair.
So, let me know before you set out next time.
I’ll row the dinghy and you can put your hand
on my shoulder as we cross the granite chunks.
Bring a bowl for the raspberry patch
and I’ll bring an old blanket
and we’ll nibble away an afternoon
where there the singular chair once sat
and catch our breath.
By Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018, *This poem was inspired by the word “saplings” in – and the concept and format of — “Directions” in Sailing Around the Room by Billy Collins.
Thrilled that this poem was featured by National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) 3 April 2015. The generative prompt was from the preceding day: “…Today, I challenge you to take your gaze upward, and write a poem about the stars… Any form or style will do.”
peach and cherry sunset cocktails
rimmed with slices of fresh silence
skyful of shooting stars with
lucky tails to slurp like spaghetti —
plenty of stardust sauce to splatter
darkest chocolate sky-pie
to nibble and lick towards infinity
until there’s nothing left to do
but roll over into a spoon.