2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 8

It’s Day 8 of our 2016 daily write-in. This year’s theme is FOUND OBJECTS. Thanks to all of the poets and writers who contributed objects for our daily prompts.

For those of you who are new to the project, please read my introductory post. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 2 FOUND OBJECTS at this post.

Before we get to today’s prompt, I have an AMAZING treat for all of you.

I’ve been corresponding with my friend Joanne Polner, a photographer and mother of one of my best high school friends. Joanne read all of our poems about the antique box on Day 1 and wrote this response poem for us! I’m sharing it here, with her permission.

The Box Poems

I’ve got the chills
From the secrets
let out to breathe

I turn from poem
to poem and feel
the feather of
inspiration—

the kind that makes
you hold your
breath.

Is it life
or death?
or the spirit
of so many souls
released into
our world?

My rapid heart makes
my face blush;

The tips
of my fingers
are cold
as I slide the
pages

back under
the cover
of
the box.

— Joanne R. Polner

Joanne also sent us a note about the poem. “You see that I have transformed the concept of the individual poems of your contributors into a collection kept hidden ‘lo these many years.’  Truly, I felt those varying emotions that I wrote about. Praises for your contributors!”

Reading Joanne’s poetic response to our work filled me with joy. This is what doing a community writing project is all about, expanding our community and inviting people to join us as readers and writers.

***

mayrAs I was going through potential prompts, I noticed a few themes developing among the objects we found. One category of FOUND OBJECTS is pieces of art.

Poetry written in response to art is often called “ekphrastic poetry.” You can read more about this form at the Poetry Foundation.

I wonder whether our poems will focus on the art itself, or on the person or process of making it.

FOUND: SCULPTURE IN THE WOODS

The only note Diane Mayr included with this contribution is “Southern New Hampshire University.” Maybe she’ll enlighten us a bit more in today’s comments.

The sculpture reminds me of the famous poem, “Ozymandias.”

UPDATE from Diane: “The location of the art in the woods is the Southern NH University campus on the Manchester/Hooksett line. I was pleasantly surprised to find it as I walked along the campus road going from the parking lot to a conference location. Of course, I took a picture! I didn’t see a marker with the name of the work, or the sculptor, but it could have been hidden, or I could have been unseeing that day.”

My process today was to personify the sculpture. Also, I wanted to work on twinning this sculpture with the Moon, but didn’t want to weigh the poem down. I decided to put the Moon in the title, and something very surprising happened.

When the Moon Fell to Earth
By Laura Shovan

One day
I will lay
my body down
in the forest,
face tipped
to the canopy
of branches,
and wait.
Falling light
will pass this way
warm
my stony face,
move on.
And I will learn
the stillness
of a stone.

***

Linda Baie’s poem also uses the verb “wait.” And, of course, if you’re waiting, perhaps you are waiting for someone.

Lost Love

It may take longer than you can wait,
but my eyes are open.
The spell has broken,
and my mouth allows a whisper:
“I’m on my way.”

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

***

Jessica Bigi sent me a note about her poem for today. She focused on sounds and what we can learn from them.

Where Have the Forests Gone?
By Jessica Bigi

Lesson
Not a feather falling
Hums of angry toothed chains
Rolling claws of monsters
Man says it is quiet when a tree falls

Lesson
I can hear them crying
Screams of this world being torn and broken
Dreams of my forest children fading
I’m as old as Bulent light

Lesson
I know which direction they fall
Grandfather rock of mountains and sky
Block foundations of ancient cities

Lesson
windy songs of a billion leave

Lesson
Silences
My voice skips across life’s streams
I too face uncertainties of seasons’ change

***

Heidi Mordhorst of the blog My Juicy Little Universe has a series of questions to ask our forest face.

lost not found

bold white bruin man
where your boulder feet?
where your legs,
your stone torso,
your swinging arms?

they crash on
through the forest:

white columns of motion
can’t think what they’ve lost,
lost on the way
bare gash of narrow eye
bare slash of missing mouth

–Heidi Mordhorst 2016
all rights reserved

***

I hope you’ll head over to Carol Varsalona’s blog, Beyond LiteracyLink, where she is celebrating a huge milestone. Carol’s 500th blog post is about a daily writing practice and includes her contribution for today. Congratulations, Carol!

I lie among the shadows of mid-day sun
professing nothing, just residing
with body buried deep within a barren land.
You question what lies beyond my half-smirk,
my reckless abandonment of wholeness.
Half-truths, broken thoughts buried alongside me
within the shadowed forest search no more
for the stillness awakens wonder.
I ask nothing more than you open my eyes,
freeing my soul to continue pondering
the fullness of life in the vast expanse of universe.

©Carol Varsalona, 2016

***

We all need to lighten up a bit after staring at our serious forest face. Donna Smith of Mainely Write came to our rescue.

Herman, the Hermit
By Donna Smith

The hermit crab,
Delightedly, had gone
So far afield,
Returning with
A brand new home,
Though cumbersome
To wield.

With face on back
Who knows which way
He’s headed? To or fro?
And who would mess
With this fierce home
With room enough
to grow.

His girlfriend should be
So impressed
To see his smiling face;
But hoped she wouldn’t
Nag him that
He’d slowed to a
snail’s pace.

***

I’m intrigued by Margaret Simon’s note about process: “I am learning that I have to write before reading anyone else’s responses. So today I wrote a fractured limerick. It doesn’t follow the rules and rather than force rhyme which I am never very good at, I decided to just butcher the form.” What do you do, poets, read responses first, or wait until after you have drafted your poem?

Stone Head
By Margaret Simon

Stone head slips a wink and sly smile
in the forest, long and deep.
His angle is awkward.
His skin snow white.
How does he ever get a wink of sleep?

***

I get really excited when a prompt sends an author off on an unexpected tangent. Here, Diane Mayr found that the prompt she contributed today did  just that. “I wanted to find out the difference between a wood and the woods.  I came across an old use of the word that put everything in place for me.”

What Say You, Brothers Grimm?
By Diane Mayr

Wood, noun
Madness, Obs.

Someone set the bars
of madness so far
apart a Colossus can
slip through, yet I,
the grandmother to
a girl in a cloak and
hood, can neither go
in nor out, fearful that
the wolf of my soul will
eat me alive, here,
in my own wood.

***

Late arrivals:

Everyone, please welcome newcomer Kay McGriff, who is a Poetry Friday blogger at A Journey Through the Pages.

I lost my head
when I strolled
through the woods
late yesterday.
I set it down
just to rest
a moment in the shadows
that stretched toward dusk.
Then I rose
and ambled onward,
never missing it at first.

by Kay McGriff

***

Mary Lee Hahn is blogging alongside us at her site. You can read her post about today’s poem here. I love the simplicity of this poem. With snow falling on the East Coast today, I think Mary Lee’s poem will speak to many of us.

there was nothing
left
for me
to
do
but rest my head
on a pillow
of fallen
oak leaves,
close my eyes,
and dream
of
spring

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

***

Catherine Flynn also pointed out that many of us used words in common today. That would be an interesting thing to explore. Maybe next year, our prompt will be a short list of random words that must be included in our poems. Hmm…

I’m a still, silent witness
to sun circling,
moon wheeling,
stars spinning.

I lie in this forest
evergreen trees towering above me,
shadows and sunlight
dancing across my face.

I’ve felt raindrops, cold and fat,
pelting me,
eroding my gray granite surface.
Snowflakes fluttering from low clouds
have shrouded me.

I’ve heard the wind
whistling and whispering,
birds’ wings whirling
raccoons and squirrels
scampering across this bed of pine needles
that cradle me.

Overhead, stars are spinning
moon is wheeling,
sun is circling,
I’m a still, silent witness.

by Catherine Flynn

***

Another Poetry Friday regular who’s blogging our project is Jone MacCulloch. You can read her full post about this poem at DeoWriter.

The Face

In the park
listens.

The elderly man
crying. His boyhood friend
just died.

Star crossed lovers
plotting
their next rendezvous.

A child
singing
about spiders.

It’s this way
each day.

The face
never
revealing secrets.

© 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved

***

My favorite image in Charles Waters’ poem today is “rainbows of hands.”

The Statue
By Charles Waters

My body, carved out of marble,
stared at in reverence, caressed by rainbows
of hands that satisfy my yearning to be loved.
I may live in immortality, although I wish
they could see the beating heart inside
my alabaster soul.

***

I’m very happy to see a prose entry today. Short prose pieces also lend themselves to a daily writing practice. Thanks for sharing this creation story, Molly Hogan.

Molly says, “For some reason this picture spoke to me of clouds and legend, and my response is in prose, rather than poetry. ”

The Origin of the White Boulder
By Molly Hogan

Long ago, not at the beginning, but soon thereafter, when the earth was young and the green of the land blazed against a brilliant blue sky, the clouds lived at peace with the sky and the land. Though the world was new, they understood that they were irrevocably joined and that each one enhanced the other. And for many, many years, all was peaceful and the clouds and skies drifted over the land and the people were happy.

Then one day a small cloud formed. It drifted through the sky, forming, reforming, shape-shifting as small clouds do. It rode the air currents and came and went as the sky the land and the elder clouds bid it.

But as time passed, this small cloud grew and as he grew, he began to change. Instead of drifting with the other clouds above the land, dancing over lakes and mountaintops, he sought to make mischief. Day after day he drew close to the land to form great, dense banks of fog. He laughed as he hid the fleecy white sheep from the farmers and the ports from weary sailors seeking safe harbor.

And at last Land grew tired of his pranks and spoke to him coldly, saying, “Go back to your place, Young Cloud. Leave the people be.”

In his pride the cloud thought, “Who is Land to order me about? For I am far more powerful than she. I can cover the tops of the mountains, hide the sea, and block the very rays of the sun.”

And in his anger he covered the land, blocking her from the sky and from the sun’s light. Day after day he refused to leave and each day he spread further and higher. Land grew ever more angry and rumbled her warnings and laughter no longer drifted on the breeze from the homes of the people.

Weeks passed and the plants began to sag and rot in the earth and the people wept. Still Young Cloud would not leave and in his pride and arrogance, he ignored the final warnings of Sky, Land, and Clouds. At last, the Clouds gathered, dark with fury, and thundered their displeasure at him. The earth trembled below him and the sky lit with flashes of lightning.

And in that instant, banished, Young Cloud tumbled from the sky to the earth, transformed from lightest vapor to heaviest boulder. And there he remains, forever immobile, earthbound. And once again Cloud, Land and Sky lived in harmony and the people were happy.

hahn

DAY 9 FOUND OBJECT PROMPT

See you tomorrow for Day 9.

Interested in what we’ve written so far? Here are links to this week’s poems:

Sunday, February 7
FOUND OBJECT: Blood Letting Knife
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Jessica Bigi, Laura Shovan, Catherine Flynn, Linda Baie, Molly Hogan, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Matt Forrest Esenwine.

Note: You will find links to all of  the Week 1 poems at this post.