RoadWriter

Heart, Soul, and Rough Edges — A Gypsy Journey of Words and Wonder

Archive for the tag “margaret fieland”

Holiday Poetry Prompt

snow1Here’s a holiday poetry prompt. My response to this is below. Yes, it really is possible to construct a poem from this nonsense.

 

Ten Characters:
1. Old Saint Nick
2. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
3. Frosty the Snowman
4. The Grynch
5. Good King Wencheslas
6. Little Red Riding Hood
7. The Big Bad Wolf
8. Sleeping Beauty
9. Glinda the Good Witch
10. The Wizard of Oz

Ten Locations:
1. The North Pole
2. An enchanted forest
3. A frozen lake
4. Antarctica
5. Rockefeller Center
6. Central Park
7. The Eiffel Tower
8. The Louvre
9. Tokyo
10. The New York Subway

Ten Objects:
1. A Candle
2. A Snow Shovel
3. An Ax
4. A red light bulb
5. Ice Melt
6. A sled
7. A wine glass
8. Needle and Thread
9. A dozen red roses
10. An Apple

Ten Incidents:
1. A Scream
2. An enchantment
3. A package delivery
4. A fire
5. A birthday party
6. A visit to a department store Santa
7. A visit to the post office
8. Raking leaves
9. Shoveling Snow
10. Loading Santa’s Sleigh

Ten first or last lines (or titles)
1. Thanks for all the Apples
2. Eat the whole thing
3. I’m allergic to fish
4. I’d rather be in Florida
5. I want a dog
6. I’d rather be ice skating
7. See you next year
8. A roll of stamps, please
9. This is impossible
10. You’ve got to try harder

Pick two characters and one from each of the other categories

 

Thanks for All the Apples

 

The cake has appeared

the candles are lit

the Tokyo skyline

is beautifully lit

 

The boy takes a breath

all ready to blow

all set with his wishes.

What? Soon we’ll all know.

 

With a whoosh and a swish

the candles are extinguished

then from down the chimney

who should we distinguish?

 

It’s Frosty the Snowman,

but oh, he is melting,

and behind him a Big Bad Wolf

is silently pelting

 

“My God, boy, my heavens,

oh, what were you thinking?

That wolf has a foul smell.

The whole room will be stinking.”

 

By this time poor Frosty

was reduced to a puddle

The wolf lapped him up.

Birthday boy’s in a muddle.

 

“Now look what you’ve done.

Frosty is gone for good.

And the wolf,” said his mom,

“is now loose in the Hood.”

 

What should you extract

from this terrible tale?

Better wish for some apples,

’cause the wolf’s sure to bail.

Facing Mortality

NOTE: This post previously appeared on my blog, http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/

sky

It happened many years ago. We had just learned  I was pregnant with our second son when I got a call from my mother, with the words no daughter wants to hear: It’s cancer. My mother had cancer of the colon.  She

had had a sigmoidoscopy instead of a colonoscopy. The lesion was fairly high up in the colon, and the procedure had missed it. Hthen-doctor, not the brilliant diagnostician his dead partner, my mother’s former doctor, had been, had been slow to put together the symptoms. By the time he did, the cancer had spread to the liver. It was October, and by June she was dead.

At about the same time, I was offered some freelance work that would have brought in a significant amount of money, money we could have used. But I had a full-time job, a small son, a pregnancy, and a sick mother. I turned the work down, instead passing on the name of a friend — he later joked that I’d payed for the addition on his house. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Instead of spending my weekends working, I spent them traveling back and forth from Boston to New York.

Here is a poem inspired by this experience:

 

Mother’s Day, Margaret Fieland

He died
the white-haired doctor
with smiling eyes,

leaving you
to the quick-voiced young one,
who called your cramps indigestion.

Your hair became
sparse as grass during a dry August,

your walk
creaky as the old pasture gate,

your frame as thin
and brittle as the bare branches
of the old oak.

until finally
you lay in bed, smelling
of old guts, too weak
to lift your head.

We named
the baby
after you

You cam find it and other poems in the collection Lifelines.

 

Another Step Down the Road

Yeah, I seem to be writing a story told in verse as a succession of poems about these two guys …

Another Step Down the Road  ColdSnow

 

One foot in front of the other,

under dark sky as I seek.

The cold is becoming my lover

and hunger an enemy to cheat.

 

I set out in search of adventure,

escape from the burden of land,

freedom from all expectations,

and work I could take in my hand.

 

Instead I’ve  been cold, wet and hungry.

I sleep under stars all  alone.

Yet still open road’s voice will call me

while her breath leaves me chilled to the bone.

Journey

Here’s a companion poem to the one I posted yesterday:

Journey

 

Wanderer, wanderer where do you go,

all alone on the road when the wild winds blow?

Where did you come from and why did you leave,

who are the loved ones you left home to grieve?

 

Hunched in your cloak with your pack on your back,

bent almost double by the weather’s attack,

you pass by my hovel. I stare out at you.  sky

When will I ever bid loved ones adieu?

 

Held to a life of hard labor and toil,

grubbing for greens as I turn over soil,

I dream of far shores and adventures galore,

yet never will I set a foot out my door.

The Hidden Key

The Hidden Key

SideOfTheRoad

Ash and pine and elm and oak,

under sky like blowing smoke,

up a hill and under ground,

winding through a maze, is found

 

keys to mysteries unfold,

tales still needing to be told.

Find the answers in the logs

hidden in the swampy bogs.

Muselings Poetry Challenge number 2:

this one is for the fantasy novel I’ve started working on

A Token for the Train

I love writing in rhyme, and I have a large number of poems lying around that rhyme. I’m especially fond of this one, which I’ve worked over a number of times.

 

 A Token for the Train813235889_2877218121_0

 

I clatter down dim staircase

to seek shelter from the rain,

duck beneath a turnstile

as I’m kind of short of change.

Platform’s crowded with commuters

who all mutter and complain.

 

Lights first dim and flicker,

fade to black as rumbles sound,

faint at first, volume increasing.

Bodies crowded all around

push me one way, then another.

Cries and caterwauls abound.

 

Folks scurry for an exit.

but I forget which way is out.

I bumble, blind, in darkness

while folks wander round about.

There’s a thunk from on the train track.

Guys beside me scream and shout.

I hear a high-pitched whistle

then the echoing refrain

from the screech and scream of metal

as it protests from its pain,

squeals and squeaks of brakes engaging

while they work to stop the train.

 

The slap of footsteps echo.

A man’s jumped down to the track.

Listen to his grunts and groaning

as he pulls the jumper back,

heaves him on the platform.

My head’s spinning; things go black.

Someone hauls me upright,

electricity flicks on,

train doors close; it leaves the station.

Now the crowds of folks are gone.

I scamper up the stairway

to the street where I belong.

What we write about

A recent discussion among us Muselings had us musing on subjects to write about. Sice I am reading Natalie Goldberg‘s Writing Down the Bones , in which she suggests mushroomsgenerating just such a list, I volunteered to post mine — mine and Natalie’s.  Here it is:

What to write about, the list so far

Write about a favorite poem. Wrie about a poem you learned in school. Write about a poem you hate. Write about memorizing poetry. Did you feel differently about the poem after you memorized it?

Write about flat feet. Write about aching feet. Write about orthotics. Write about shoes. Write about high heels. Write about fashion in shoes.

Write about art in your childhood home. Write about art in your present home. Write about art museums.

Write about school. Write about a particular year in schol. Write about a favorite teacher. Write about your least favorite teacher. Write about your favorite subject in school. Write about your least favorite subject in school.

Write about writing. Write about the physical act of writing. Do your fingers cramp? Do you like to write by hand?

Write about pens. Do you have a favorite? Do you like pencils? Do you do crossword puzzles, and if so do you do them in ink or pencil, and why?

Write about laundry. Write about laundromats. Write about laundry detergent. Write about bleach. Write about fabric softener.

Write about a favorite author. Here a few of mne:

Robert A. Heinlein. One of my favorite authors

Lewis Carroll. I am a big Lewis Carroll fan as well, both of the Alice books and of his poetry. I love the whimsey.

Write about a favorite book: Here are a couple of mine

Alice in Wonderland. I reread this every exam-time at College.Peter Pan by James M. Barrie. One of my favorite books as a kid. I also saw the play with Mary Martin as Peter. Pure magic.

 

Bookshelves, and what’s on them.

Food poisoning. Have you had any notable encounters with bad food?

Toothpaste. Rolling up the tube. Squeezing out the paste.

TV Advertisements. Do you watch them? Do you watch TV?

The ASPCA. ASPCA ads. Dogs. Cats.  Birds.

I remember…  Pick a memory and write about it.

Choose a color and write about it. Choose a color word and write about the word.

Write about light. Write about darkness. Write about shadows.

People you have loved.

People who have influenced you.

City streets. Country Roads. Getting lost.

Grandparents.

Pick subject  you hate and write about it as though you love it, even if you don’t. How does this make you feel? Do the opposit: pick a subject you love and write about it as though you hate it. Do you feel the need for a disclaimer at the top of the article: This does not typify my personal opinion.?

Write about today. Write about yesterday. What was notable? What was different?

Write about ‘leaving’. This can mean anything you like.

Write about your first memory. How old are you? How detailed is the memory?

Open a poetry book, pick a line, and take it from there. See where you go.

What kind of animal are you? Are you an animal at all? Can you do this, or do you draw a blank?

Write about sex. Write about how you learned about sex. Write about your first sexual experience.

Write about the closest you’ve ever felt to God or nature.

Write about God, about your belief, or lack thereof.

Write about the stars. Write about the planetarium. Write about the Museum of Natural History.

Write about the movies. Write about your favorite movie. What movies have you watched more than once? Why?

The most frightened you’ve ever been.

Write about swimming. Write about learning to swim. Write about beaches. Write about sea shells.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Few Poems for the Holidays

Saint Nick’s Christmas Excess

 

 

One Christmas night,  fat old Saint NickSnow

ate so much roast goose he got  sick,

thus was forced to belay

that night’s ride in his sleigh,

rushed the gifts all to FedEx. How slick.

 

Next Christmas, when faced with a chimney,

hr muttered, “I will not be able to shimmy

down that narrow slot,

with a fire so hot.

I’ll go in the front door, by Jiminey.”

 

What Happens Christmas Night

 

Do you wonder how, in just one night,

783813785_2782529629_0

Saint Nick can make such a long flight?

He sends some gifts by mail,

and some others by rail,

which makes his sleigh load quite light.

I’ve noticed that Saint Nick’s a bit

too big around for him to fit

inside our chimney, Christmas night

the struggle must be quite a sight.

 

Perhaps he oils his nice red suit

all over so that he can shoot

right down the chimney. Then you’ll see

he‘ll cut his hand and sprain his knee.

 

I guess that all those aches and pains

will hurt so much that he’ll complain

that getting down was such a chore

he’s going to leave us by the door!

White Christmas

Winter wonderland of woe

all we have is snow and snow.

Piles and piles of slushy glop,

mushy, wet and nasty slop.

Wets my socks and wets my shoes

numbs my toes and shorts my fuse.

Watch it snow and wish for Spring,

no more snow and shoveling.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Using stanzas to enhance your poetry

 

A few months back, I took an online songwriting course  with Pat Pattison. The course was given  by http://www.coursera.org an organization that allows anyone to enroll in free, online, university-level courses given through a number of institutions of higher learning.

One of the most interesting things I took away from the course was the notion of stable versus unstable. He argues that the number of lines, the line length contribute to the verse feeling either resolved (stable) or not (unstable). Even numbers of lines feel stable, uneven lines unstable.

So here is an experiment with a poem of mine.  Here is the original:

Traveling Man’s Blues

 blueroad

It used to be that all you’d need to travel round the states

was a couple hundred bucks and nerve to tempt the fates

by sticking out your thumb. Then you could cruise to anyplace.

I was bitten by the traveling man’s blues.

 

I hitchhiked up to ski country and there I learned to ski.

I found a real nice place to stay, at least it seemed to be,

but after just a month or three they all got tired of me.

Now I’m caroling the traveling man’s blues.

 

I moved on to Connecticut to swim in Candlewood Lake.

I camped out in the summer. In the fall I tried to break

into a cozy cabin. Boy, was that a big mistake!

Now I’m studying the traveling man’s blues.

 

They threw me in the slammer for a year or two or three.

That was the end of traveling for quite some time for me,

but I’ll be out of here real soon. And then, to where? We’ll see.

I’m stilling mastering the traveling man’s blues.

 

and here is a version with three line stanzas

Traveling Man’s Blues

 

It used to be that all you’d need to travel round the states

was a couple hundred bucks and nerve to tempt the fates

by sticking out your thumb. Then you could cruise to anyplace.

 

I hitchhiked up to ski country and there I learned to ski.

I found a real nice place to stay, at least it seemed to be,

but after just a month or three they all got tired of me.

 

I moved on to Connecticut to swim in Candlewood Lake.

I camped out in the summer. In the fall I tried to break

into a cozy cabin. Boy, was that a big mistake!

 

They threw me in the slammer for a year or two or three.

That was the end of traveling for quite some time for me,

but I’ll be out of here real soon. And then, to where? We’ll see.

I’m stilling mastering the traveling man’s blues.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Using Music to set A Mood

WP_20130517_002A recent post  on MuseItUp Publishing’s blog on using music  to set a mood set me to considering the subject. Although I don’t usually listen to music when I write — I’m a serious amateur musician and often find myself listening to the music — I do make use of musical references in the poems I write.

I’ve written more than one poem containing references to popular songs. In Crack Up, the first poem below, I was listening to the radio when a Kenny Chesney song came on, and I started composing the poem below in my head. I ended up on Kenny’s website looking for the songs I needed to complete the poem as I envisioned it.

In the second poem, Green Peas, I was already very familiar with the songs involved, and hopefully y’all are, too.

Do you listen to music while you work? How do you use musical references in your own writing, and how do you react to them in the writing of others? Leave a comment and let me know.

Crack Up

Swish through car-lit darkness
Past squares of light,
street signs sparkling green and white.
Roll down your window,
feel the lemon air
ruffle what’s left of your hair.
Kenny Chesney blaring on the radio
loud enough to silence the thoughts in your head
waiting to be drowned in a cold beer.

Your wheels slide through ghosts of clouds,
past skeleton trees waving bare arms,
past lighted windows with families eating
roast chicken, green beans, potatoes
while the letter from your daughter
crinkles in your back pocket,
your seat belt chafing as
Kenny croons Who you’d Be Today.

The smell of leaf smoke drifts
through the window
as you drive at twenty-five miles per hour
past the cop in the turn-out on your left,
as the rain starts dripping down your windshield
and your windshield wipers quit.
You reach for a beer
as Kenny starts singing Keg in the Closet.

Your car drifts into the center of the road
as you drop the empty on the floor,
reach behind you for another,
one hand on the wheel.
The car skids on wet leaves
going around that curve in the road
you forgot was there
and Kenny sings Steamy Windows.

The sweat drips down your neck
as you wrestle with the steering wheel,
brake on the empties,
your seat belt unfastened.
Skid into the tree.
Glass arrows your cheek your eye.
You’re bleeding from your ear.
Somewhere Kenny’s singing How Forever Feels.

Green Peas, A poem-song

1. Mom: Tune: Greensleeves

Alas my son you know it’s wrong
to leave the table discourteously.
Don’t give me “pretty please,” come along.
Sit down and finish your green peas.

2: Son: Tune: Red River Valley

How can you serve these peas, knowing
I hate them; I’ve told you six times.
Don’t give me that stuff about growing.
You must think that I’m still a child!

3: Sister: Tune: Sixteen Tons

Sixteen year old, is this what I get?
If you want to chase me out, well, now you’re all set.
If Peter calls, just say I’m out, that’s all you know.
Can’t stay another minute, Mom, I’ve got to go.

4: Dad: Tune: Good King Wenceslas

What’s this fighting all about?
Please give me a reason.
Everyone can hear you shout
clear over at the Gleason’s.

Give him a break just for tonight,
you are being cruel.
All you do is scream and shout.
I think you’re a fool.

5: Mom: Tune: Greensleeves

Green peas were for the boy,
but green peas aren’t worth a fight.
Green peas have brought no joy.
Forget about eating those green peas.

Post Navigation