Monday, August 02, 2010

Monday Poetry Stretch - How to Listen

There's something about spending nights at the beach, windows open with the sound of the waves rushing endlessly in and out. I could have done without the constant roar of fighter planes overhead, but there were quiet and peaceful moments. Some days I think we forget how to listen and just be in the stillness or cacophony of the world. It's not just the sound of the world I love, but the sound of poetry in all it's rhythms, rhymes, meters, assonance, consonance, and well, the list is endless. 

While we often write about what we see, my experience at the beach reminds me that sometimes we need to write what we hear. So, your challenge is to write about what you hear in your world. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. open window...
    cat's meow in counterpoint
    to robins' songs

  2. Goodbye to the Gulls

    For two weeks, down the flue,
    from their nest on the chimney pots,
    the black-backed gulls cackled and called,
    spitting out bird words—food, flight, danger.
    When the baby slipped down the slant
    of the canted roof and landed in the patio,
    Aal fluff and legs, screaming for food,
    his beak wide open for hours at a time,
    I thought I’d go mad with the noise.
    Yet for three long weeks I fed him,
    named him George or possibly Georgette,
    with baby gulls it’s hard to tell.
    I ducked when Mama Gull dived down at me,
    crying out danger, food, flight, all of the above.
    For three long weeks I watched over George
    feeding him crackers., cooked chicken, bread.
    He always demanded more, in that insistent
    creak of a voice., and well-trained, I supplied it.
    Four days ago, fully fledged, he flew
    over the garden hedge, into the town
    where gulls scream all day and all night long,
    and the residents complain, their voices
    louder, trilling their Scottish r’s
    like kettles on the boil.
    As for me, strangely, I miss the gulls
    who all flew off after George,
    carrying their cacophony with them.
    The silence is worse than the cries.

    © 2010 Jane Yolen All right reserved

  3. Clocked

    Minutes click by like the song
    of a metronome. Not from the four
    digital clocks with their thin
    white proclamations. Those hum
    to themselves so quietly
    I cannot hear them. I mean
    the one who still has a voice,
    determined accountant, exacting
    my minutes, strung like the unit clones
    beading a number line, extending
    to infinity as if it were as simple
    as reaching out an arm. Measuring
    the vastness of forever with nothing
    more than a school ruler, my small
    box of a bedroom clock, its face
    incongruously encased in flowers.

    —Kate Coombs, 2010, all rights reserved

  4. "determined accountant" WOW! Great line.


  5. The plop of butter slides around
    the frying pan. Minutes tick
    until the sizzles begin.
    Fork scrapes porcelain bowl
    while beating two eggs once
    whole. Broken shells cracked
    scrunch down with the trash.
    Whipped eggs sizzle and fry
    in the bubbly butter. Omelet
    gives way to quiet chewing
    then peach drips juice and
    slurps set in. Giant gulps
    of milk, but only five.
    Stomach happy for an hour.
    Grumbles and growls gnaw my
    insides. Nine chimes on the clock
    make me shudder to think how
    long I have to wait for the
    next meal of this diet.

  6. Daisy

    Her collar
    made a jangling sound.
    Her nails
    clicked on our floor.
    Her tail
    thumped on my bed.
    We giggled
    at her snore.
    She splash-lapped
    in the toilet.
    She scratched
    at our back door.

    The house is quiet now.
    But I liked it before.

    © Amy Ludwig VanDerwater