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Poetry Princess Project — November

Well, hello autumn.
Hello, election season.
Hello, dark mornings and short days.

My sisters-in-verse and I have met another month with a poem. We chose gratitude as a theme because, well, tis the season. And lord knows we need to counter the dour daily energies and news stories and Twitter wars in the world right now.

And our form? The terza rima — a funny little slip of a thing that reminds me of knitting (ok, so I don’t knit but I’ve learned the basics several times) in that you pull a stitch from the middle of each stanza into the next one and build the rhyme scheme off of that. Throw a little iambic pentameter in and you’ve got yourself a poem.

I tried a couple. They weren’t easy. I felt constrained — more than I often do by form — but puzzles are supposed to keep us fresh, so what’s the harm? Here goes….

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Gratitude in Rhyme
by Liz Garton Scanlon

Times like these, true gratitude’s a stretch –
days hammer on, the pitch of life insists.
Amazing grace that visits every wretch

(and finds and saves and otherwise persists)
seems strangely quiet, absent in the din,
as we reveal ourselves – we can’t resist.

Our darkest thoughts are matched by deed akin –
are we not better in our hearts than this?
What if we all start fresh, just now, begin:

Hot tea, good dog, obligatory kiss.
From there, go bigger – promise, listen, vote –
before you know it, moments of real bliss.

Because we have each other, we’re afloat.
We try, we love, we write this thank you note.

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Half Empty or Half Full?
By Liz Garton Scanlon

My neck bends upwards, gazing at the moon.
I ask: is it half empty or half full?
It’s all in how you see this silver spoon,

this tree, its leaves; this sheep its autumn wool.
Is every thing just resting on the verge,
the push that feeds into tomorrow’s pull?

Even optimists raise up a dirge
into the void, the middle of the night –
the owl cries, all aching hearts converge.

But then it’s dawn: the breeze, the birds, the light.
Have faith, the moon will wax again to right.

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And, in celebrating the end of another year writing with my favorite gals, why not run off and read their terza rimas, too?

Kelly Fineman
Tricia Stohr-Hunt
Tanita Davis
Sara Lewis Holmes
Laura Purdie Salas

Plus, while you’re at Laura’s, you can hook into all the Poetry Friday poems because she’s hosting today! Hurrah! Enjoy. Be well.

Posted on 11/04/2016 11:26 am
 

17 Comments

  1. Not one, but two evocative moods to enjoy in these poems representing your monthly form.
    In the moon moment, “this silver spoon,” calls to mind just last evening, when my husband & I were out walking & he reminded me of his family’s term for this moon phase – melon moon.
    And thank you for your meditation on the election mood. We voted as early as possible & since then, have labored to avoid dwelling in the fray. But, today I read in K & 1st, so I’ll bring my old election-time picture book pal, DUCK FOR PRESIDENT (Cronin & Lewin). In the end, if you remember, duck decides to go back to the simple life on the farm….

    Reply

    • Oh, melon moon! Isn’t that lovely??
      Have fun with those little ones today — that always really helps the mood! 🙂

      Reply

  2. Optimism is a challenge —
    Is it naive to believe
    that things will get better?

    Amazing grace that visits every wretch

    (and finds and saves and otherwise persists)
    seems strangely quiet, absent in the din,

    — I love that first poem so much, because the lines of disgust and dismay ring so true and resonate so strongly. Both are really beautiful – and the hopeful little turn at the end is so what’s needed. Start small, grow bigger, believe that the moon both waxes and wanes. Thank you. ♥

    Reply

    • I think one thing I’m realizing as I age is that I prefer the kind of optimism we have to work for rather than the blind kind. It holds a bit more water in the end, y’know?

      I found this form less-than-satisfying but ok, onward …. 🙂

      Reply

      • Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

        I agree with Liz that the kind of optimism we have to work to find or hold onto is more valuable. How can we even have the other sort if we are aware of the world around us? And yet, I choose to be optimistic. Always.

        Thanks for both of these lovelies.

        Reply

  3. Oh, Liz, these are wonderful. Your poems rest beautifully in this form’s hands. You sure can’t tell you felt constrained. Favorite bits:

    we reveal ourselves – we can’t resist.

    It’s all in how you see this silver spoon,

    this tree, its leaves; this sheep its autumn wool.
    Is every thing just resting on the verge,
    the push that feeds into tomorrow’s pull?

    Reply

    • probably there should be a comma after sheep, right?
      I’m just seeing that.
      anyway, whatever — what a puzzle and joy ….
      xoxo

      Reply

  4. I love both these poems. In the first, there is so much hope in the first line of the final couplet:
    “Because we have each other, we’re afloat.”

    That’s what this group does for me in this monthly jaunts. You buoy me!
    I’ll take that good dog and obligatory kiss on the road to real bliss. What a lovely idea.

    I love the last line of your moon poem:
    “Have faith, the moon will wax again to right.”
    I’m going to have faith that the world will wax again to right.

    Thank you for sharing these. You did the terza rima proud, even though you may not recognize it.

    Reply

    • thanks pal — and yes, I’m buoyed too.
      we’re lucky to have each other and to have poetry….

      Reply

  5. For me, your poems always have such a strong turn—a moment when I’m deep into your poetry-made world, and then you kind of nudge me and say: do this. try this. notice this.

    Hot tea, good dog, obligatory kiss.
    From there, go bigger – promise, listen, vote –

    Like that. You have my full attention, and I’m just opened up like a book. Dang, girl. Every time!

    I also adore the image of the moon as a spoon, half full or half empty, and yes—autumn is all those things “on the verge” and maybe that’s why it makes me glad and sad every year. xo

    Reply

    • oh gosh, thanks Sara….
      I often feel so inadequate in the face of the fierce forms, so thank you…
      what a journey, huh?
      xoxoxo

      Reply

  6. oooooooh I have a favorite. It’s ok to have a favorite I hope….I love the Half Empty or Half Full? It all in how you see this silver spoon. Awesome line. There’s a feel of a word puzzle but the flow of a poem. Nicely done.
    And, yes….hot tea, a good dog. That’s what I’ve got right now. And, it is enough.
    Well done, looking forward to seeing the next challenge.

    Reply

    • Ha ha — of course, yes, it’s ok to have a favorite!
      Thank you for the visit and enjoy your dog and tea.
      🙂

      Reply

  7. I like the way your knit together your stanzas, with the interlocking rhymes. I liked the moon and the owl. Very evocative of loneliness.

    Reply

  8. You nail both of your ending stanzas! I love the first one best.

    Reply

  9. Liz, your constraints aren’t showing at all. : ) Both successful, but the first works for me–the little things, begin again, how the “obligatory kiss” becomes the day’s turning blessing.

    Reply

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