Patterns in the Sound

Here's a batch of poems that I've either revised since I posted them, or else never posted in the first place. I have to send these in to my prof today, along with a self-critique of sorts. There was no length stipulation and I don't know what I'm supposed to talk about. I have a page so far but it's kind of fluffy. Le sigh. Work just needs to be done NOW. At least I'm home, though, and we're expecting up to a foot of snow! Huzzah! I told Boyfriend we're going to build a fort. Forts are the best and I'm not giving him any choice in the matter.

Please give me feedback on these poems! I am not by any means saying these are final drafts and I am open to suggestions or criticism (as long as it's civilly phrased ^_^).

Stolen word poem (the assignment was to take the last word of each line in an existing poem and write a new poem using those same words at the ends of my lines. This is from Shel Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends," except the title, which is a spin off Frost's "To Earthward." Ah, that poem gives me chills every time....)

“To Peaceward”

There is a place where the freeway ends
and the Pacific Ocean begins,
where the surf froths and crashes white,
the sand sparkles bright
with gold, and anchored earthworms take flight,
origami birds borne away by the wind.

There is a place where the ocean ends and the black
pavement begins. The road once had its bends
through the places where palms and pine trees grow,
and we drove slow.
But now, with one place still to go,
we speed east to where the freeway ends.

The road once had its bends and we drove slow,
the world setting at our backs. Peaceward we go.
We are carved in the sandstone hearts of those we know.
Home is where the freeway ends.

Diptych in syllabics (pt. I: an inanimate object speaks. pt. II: a response. The syllable pattern is 5-11-4-8-7.)

I. 08/15/08

Hello. I am here
to let you know someone is thinking of you.
He hopes you’re well.
Phase one of boot camp has been hell
but he says he’ll make it through.
Dear friend, I am here
because someone carved out time to write a few
words on a page
in the midst of a loaded day
because he’s thinking of you.

II. Upon Receiving a Letter

Thank God you’re here at
last! I’ve waited all summer to read his scrawl;
this month’s the third
since I last heard from him. I draw
his word quilt tight ‘round my
frame. When he was here,
we sprinted on the sky ‘til breathless; then we sprawled
in the tall grass. . . .

Unstop my pen. I can’t write past,
“Wish you were here. Yours always.”

Ekphrasis (a poem based on another work of art, in this case, Jim Zingarelli's "Host and Hunger" exhibit. I'm not sure how I feel about the word "dwindling" in the last stanza. Thoughts?)


There is a posture for
receiving, and they have mastered it – or
it has mastered them, stepped
on their patient fingers, made them slaves.
It has damned them to turn
the millstone, but not
a profit.

Grind the stone; grind.
Grind the stone.

Oh, that the sky would rain
manna upon gargoyles, warped by want,
and their twisted, glacial maws!

There is a technique for seeing without
perceiving; we are professionals.
Want is an impatient hackney-carriage driver
that never arrives –

only drives, only

Oh, that the sky would rain re-
straint upon gargoyles, warped by want,
and our twisted, glacial hearts; that some
one would hear the
everlasting plea &
the dwindling
cry for

17th century imitation and reply (Respond to a poem from the 16th-18th centuries using the same form - number of lines, rhyme scheme, syllables and accents in each line.... This is from Milton's "To the Nightingale.")

To the Wingless Sloth
(the lover and poet, Milton)

O poet! seeking meaning in the fray
of counterclockwise seasons void of thrill,
thou wielder of the mighty, sharpened quill,
thou seekest me when lacking words of prey?
O lover! cause thy hand, bereft, to stay
on my account? Thou hearest not the trills
of evening’s warbling songstress and wait until
a new crescendo swells the faded day?
O squanderer of time, create thy fate!
Dost wish to write? Then take thy pen and try.
Dost wish to love? Then turn thy heart from hate
and fault me not (thou wingless sloth!) who flies;
I nest closer to the earth than thee in wait.
Thy “Muse” and “Love” are smothered by my sky.

Sacred Poem (anything goes as long as it's about something sacred.)

Abraham Revisited

in the sprawling shade of tamarisk,
at the fount of shifting sands and stars,
his promise was fulfilled:
A desert rose
spiraled up from the badlands, and I
could only gaze in wonder, laughing –
laughing along
with Sarah and my desert rose.

The sands slipped by,
and after a time God said, “Son,
bring your desert rose to me.”
And I brought him.
He said, “Father, where is the lamb?”
And I, who could not bear to
prune his laughter, eased his mind.

But at the peak we found only our
selves; and the boy saw he
was the lamb, and I saw that
I could not but
stay my hand – and so a
promise was cut
off. God said to
slay my desert rose,
but I could not.


And Andrew Did not Wept. said...

I like your poetry! :D
(hey, check my blog. there is an update you should prolly see...)

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