Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Poetry Stretch - Firsts

Today is the first day of the spring semester. As I prepare, I've started thinking a lot about firsts--first day of school, first kiss, first time on a plane, first time jumping out of one, etc. I've had a lot of firsts in my life, so this seems like a fine time to write about them. What first do you remember fondly? Or with great horror? Let's write about firsts.

Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. It is my plan to write a first poem this week. Great idea!

  2. How about first time participating in a poetry stretch? ;^)

  3. Names

    My first kiss was a revelation,
    not because it was deep, soulful,
    full of tongue,
    but rather hesitant
    or perhaps respectful,
    hard to know at the moment
    of such new, sweet heat
    or even years later, trying to recall.
    A quick peck on the lips,
    a butterfly not a wasp,
    and yet I was stung
    there under the Vermont trees.
    That boy, I think his name was Paul.
    The trees, I think they might have been birches.
    The place, by the main house at summer camp.
    I remember that name at least:
    or Indian Brook,
    now Farm & Wilderness,
    because Quakers are wary of misnomers.
    But names fall away fifty-five years later
    and only that first young kiss,
    Whether Paul or the birches do as well,
    well, it little matters
    when the matter is not reality
    but memory.

    ©2010 Jane Yolen All Rights Reserved

  4. I've adopted the fake it till you make it attitude for 2010 and that's why I'm participating in a few blogs. This is some industry humor as well as a nod to Jane.

    My First Poem this Week
    by Ken Slesarik

    Can you fix this poem?
    For Jane Yolen I am not.
    It’s not a sonnet or an ode
    with a complicated plot.
    It’s closer to a limerick,
    a basic, simple jaunt.
    The best parts of my poem
    are the paper and the font.
    The meter it is woeful.
    The cadence clearly weak.
    My grammar needs some work
    so go on and take a peek.
    Please do your best to fix this.
    I’m certain you won’t fail.
    And if you know a publisher
    this poem, it’s for sale.

    c2010 by K. Thomas Slesarik

  5. Not sure I have been in a poem since my college boyfriend wrote a poem for me and my husband before he died wrote me a love haiku and a birthday apology poem.

    Thanks TKS!


  6. Okay, I've tried to post this twice and the formatting got all screwed up. If it doesn't work right this time, so be it! Here goes...

    Come to think of it
    I'm now sixty and I
    have yet to roast a turkey,
    or even to cook a roast
    beef. I've got endless
    "firsts" possibilities--
    making the aforementioned
    roasts, knitting--anything,
    writing a sonnet, welcoming
    a grandchild, traveling
    west of Pennsylvania,
    getting a pedicure, taking
    tap dance lessons, going
    up in a hot air balloon,
    seeing a Broadway musical--
    on Broadway, winning a Newbury
    (actually any award would do),
    growing clematis, wearing
    high heels (nah, I'll never
    do that), running a mile,
    eating a hot fudge sundae
    with three scoops of ice
    cream, nuts, a cherry, and
    real whipped cream without
    feeling guilty. Hey, I'm
    sixty--that doesn't make
    me old--only I can do that.

  7. That's great, I left off the title:

    First Time Roasting a Turkey

    (You're not going to believe this, but the verification word required for me to post this is "sucko"--I kid you not.)

    for Lesley

    February night, stuck inside
    a stuffy, dim-lit dorm room,
    people talking nonsense.

    I say to no one, anyone,
    "I'm going for a walk,"
    hoping it won't draw a crowd.

    I've got your attention.
    You ask, "Can I come too?"
    We grab our warm coats

    slip out the door to the hall.
    Multiple musics surround us:
    Frankie Valli's "Oh, What a Night"

    mixes with Pearl Jam's "Black."
    The corridor reeks of popcorn.
    Outside, cold air blows

    swirls of snow on the road
    that goes from Cedar Hall
    up toward the frog pond

    by the auditorium.
    It's well below freezing --
    maybe fifteen degrees --

    but I don't notice.
    In fact, I'm flushed in the face.
    We're both eighteen.

    The heat between us
    is palpable,
    like a delicate shape

    of glass in soul-space.
    I start to speak, stop,
    awake to something new

    in your sidelong smile,
    a kiss of dark, dark eyes,
    an inner shift I cannot name

    and know how loved
    I am in love, how we'll never
    be separate, or the same.

  9. A modified tanka:

    Creek gurgles, out there.
    Trout sizzles, in here.
    My first time to crunch down whole,
    Head-first, a bony small fry,
    While outside, fish rise to feed.

  10. The End

    First Child
    How I waited
    Prayed and yearned
    For you
    To be
    To see
    The you
    Of you
    Alone – with a small part of me
    And he – the one I love the most
    (He waited
    Wanted too)
    But you
    Of all we thought should be
    Will never be
    No part of him
    No part of me
    No dream
    No hope
    No faith not dark
    No first born
    Beloved one…

  11. A First

    Hands shake.
    Knees quake.
    Smile too wide.
    Tongue? Tied.
    Teeth brushed.
    Breathe rushed.
    Mirror glance.
    First dance.

    (Greg Pincus, 2010)

  12. First Sentence

    It was a dark and—
    no. She ran, shrieking—
    no. The breath of dawn,
    the pink breath of dawn?
    No. No. I couldn't believe—
    If an octopus would only—
    maybe. Tilly had flown
    just once. Not bad. But if—
    okay. His fangs dripped—
    no. Absolutely NO vampires!
    The hydrocephalic earwig—
    yuck. Or maybe...
    I wanted to tell a story.
    But nothing worked.

    That works.

    --Kate Coombs, 2010

  13. I wonder if anyone had a first love like mine?

    it was his lack of
    respect for
    that I fell for
    his (parentheses)
    out of nowhere
    his words
    swaggering down
    the lines
    luring me in
    with mouth
    my blossoming body
    could only dream of
    ee(first love)

    © Carol Weis


    a month or more
    in chysalis,
    limbs sore
    and stiff at this
    moment of awakening.

    surging wings
    antennae strings
    pop, unflex.
    A butterfly’s first breath.

    --Barbara Turner

  15. These first love, first kiss poems are wonderful! --Kate

  16. Oh boy, these are all lovely. This prompt certainly inspired a lot of emotion this week.

  17. Here's mine.


    Not my first kiss
    not my first boyfriend
    but a first kiss from
    that friend
    who knew me better than anyone
    that friend
    who happened to be a boy
    that friend
    who rode his bike
    miles and miles
    to my grandmother's house
    to stand like a shy soldier
    on the yellow front porch,
    the dirty screen door the only thing
    that separated us,
    until he finally asked me
    to come outside.

    I let the screen door slam behind me
    but for once
    Nana didn't yell
    or issue warnings
    of what we should or shouldn't do
    (that would come later.)

    He didn't speak
    that boy
    that friend
    so I tucked my words beneath my tongue
    and followed him
    while he leaned against Nana's blue Oldsmobile
    until the door handle jabbed him in the back
    and he didn't move,
    he just watched me,
    watching him

    His hair,
    red like strawberries,
    tempted me
    and I wanted to touch it
    to feel its heat
    to connect the dots of freckles on his face
    to hear his voice
    that voice I talked to on the phone
    every day
    every night
    say something
    but the silence continued to simmer
    and melted my anticipation
    until I felt lost
    like we were playing musical chairs
    and the music had stopped
    and I had nowhere to go.

    I moved to the shade of the orange tree
    inhaled the citrus perfume
    let the sturdy trunk support me
    and waited.

    Overhead bees buzzed
    dancing from flower to flower flower
    mission accomplished
    again and again.

    He spoke
    at long last
    that boy
    that friend
    about going home
    about his paper route
    about not being late
    headed for his bike
    to ride those miles and miles
    home again
    but before he left
    he joined me under the orange tree
    and kissed me

    for the very first time.

    ©2010 Susan Taylor Brown
    All Rights Reserved

  18. Taking the Years Away

    i gave you a piece of my mind
    and you took it away; kept it with
    my heart (which i gave you the day we met)
    in an old Liquorice Allsorts tin
    you bought at an antiques fair.
    i lost my mind when you left
    but you stayed in touch
    and over the years came to love me
    like a well-remembered aunt
    and you gave me back that first piece,
    dried and withered as it was.
    i remembered our youth
    and the old quarry where we fell in love
    over a fossilised snail shell.

  19. Here are mine:
    winter’s first snowflakes
    dance the twirl-a-whirl at dawn
    hummingbirds tremble

    seek refuge from cold
    hidden in branches


    first trembling kiss
    mountains and valleys the paths
    a twenty year journey