Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Poetry Stretch - Anaphora

I couldn't stomach Valentine's poems last week, and in deciding what to write about this week, I thought we should go back to form. Anaphora is "the repetition of the same word or phrase in several successive clauses." Whitman uses anaphora in the poem Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking. Here is an excerpt.
Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
Out of the mocking-bird's throat, the musical shuttle,
Out of the Ninth-month midnight,
Over the sterile sands and the fields beyond, where the child
leaving his bed wander'd alone, bareheaded, barefoot,
Down from the shower'd halo,
Up from the mystic play of shadows twining and twisting as
if they were alive,
Out from the patches of briers and blackberries,
From the memories of the bird that chanted to me,
From your memories sad brother, from the fitful risings and
fallings I heard,
From under that yellow half-moon late-risen and swollen as
if with tears,
From those beginning notes of yearning and love there in
the mist,
From the thousand responses of my heart never to cease,
From the myriad thence-arous'd words,
From the word stronger and more delicious than any,
From such as now they start the scene revisiting,
As a flock, twittering, rising, or overhead passing,
Borne hither, ere all eludes me, hurriedly,
A man, yet by these tears a little boy again,
Throwing myself on the sand, confronting the waves,
I, chanter of pains and joys, uniter of here and hereafter,
Taking all hints to use them, but swiftly leaping beyond them,
A reminiscence sing.
You can learn more about anaphora at

So, your challenge is to write a poem that uses anaphora. Leave me a comment about your work and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. I wrote this poem on Feb 1 of this year but it seems to fit the bill:

    Month’s Turning

    This is the turn of the month,
    Cornerstone of the year.
    Forty some days towards the light.
    I am still here, still here.

    This is the hurtling snow,
    Trees groaning heavy with white,
    When the writing comes hard and comes slow,
    And it’s still night, still night.

    This is the furnace’s laughter.
    This is the plow’s early call.
    The driveway holds ice that is hidden,
    And I have to watch for a fall, a fall.

    This is the turn of the winter.
    This is the inning of fear.
    This is the month of my birthday.
    And I am still here, still here.

    ©2011 by Jane Yolen all rights reserved

  2. Jane, this gives me the shivers--the melancholy, poignant, "oh, what a great line" kind!

  3. I am so glad you are still here, dear Jane!


    As snow recedes
    sun stretches out
    across sky-blue days.

    As snow recedes
    walls crawl back to
    where they belong.

    As snow recedes
    carbs lose custody
    of daily diets.

    As snow recedes
    bikes awaken from

    As snow recedes
    irascible moods
    return to smiles.

    As snow recedes
    underground bulbs
    begin to squeal.

    As snow recedes
    hope impatiently
    raps upon doors.

    As snow recedes
    longings for spring
    sprout fluttering wings.

    © Carol Weis, all rights reserved

  4. Return

    I had forgotten the dump trucks
    and their hundred foot warning
    until I rounded the familiar bend

    Forgotten the glass-shattering
    quartz, dug from the neighborhood quarry,
    shot from tires into the windshield

    I had forgotten how long,
    how steep, was the drive
    my two-year-old climbed alone

    Forgotten the fear
    lodged at my back of my throat
    when I found her gone

    I had forgotten the thistles in the yard,
    forgotten the fallen pines
    forgotten the broken oaks
    forgotten the long walk
    the frantic search
    the four of us calling her name

    I had forgotten it all
    in the remembering
    remembering the sweet, safe embrace

  5. Rise

    Rising up like thunderclouds
    seeking world domination,

    rising up like a crowd standing
    for the national anthem,

    rising up like a wave about to strike,
    showing its shark-gray belly,

    rising up like children lifting
    their arms to dance,

    rising up like smoke spiraling
    from a volcano,

    rising up like the notes of a spiritual,
    staining the air with pain and faith,

    the flock sings with its wings.
    Rising up.

    --Kate Coombs, 2011, all rights reserved

    By Steven Withrow

    Hooray hurrah huzzah—for tap, sap, font, and source,
    For fingertips of gymnosperms planting gymnastic handstands,
    For bending straws of sycamores slurping the groundwater,
    For xylem and phloem fixed in daylong, nightwide flux,
    For germinating aspen groves, aerating mangroves,
    For upgrowing ivies that crack the faces of gravestones,
    For anchor point, radicle, rhizome, meristem, cambium—
    Yay for every deep, diffuse, inscrutable root!

    ©2011 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved