Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Poetry Stretch - Ideograms

On Poetry Friday I shared this poem by May Swenson.
Cardinal Ideograms
by May Swenson

0     A mouth.  Can blow or breathe,
       be a funnel, or Hello.

1     A grass blade or cut.

2     A question seated.  And a proud
       bird’s neck.

3     Shallow mitten for a two-fingered hand.

4     Three-cornered hut
       on one stilt.  Sometimes built
       so the roof gapes.

I love the notion of writing about the shape of things. What do you see in the number 6? Or the letter Y? What kind of ideogramatic poem can from the word L-O-V-E? (Ideogramatic? Yeah, I just made that up!)

Visit Joyce Sidman's site to see how she used the words in her name to write an ideogram poem. Now it's your turn to write an ideogram poem. Leave me a note about your work and I'll share the results here later this week.


  1. S Road that swerves and switchbacks.
    T Double-bladed pickaxe.
    E Three-pronged power plug.
    V Moth-winged flower bug.
    E Two-car private parking space.
    N Fog-enveloped fox's furtive face.

    Copyright Steven Withrow, all rights reserved.

  2. This looks difficult. All I could come up with is:

    Test Day Ideogram

    M My teacher's eyebrows at my answers.

    A My father's mouth at my last grades.

    T My shoulders as I enter test room.

    H Blood pressure as it slowly fades.

    ©2011 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

  3. The Chiding
    o what's in the middle, your empty brain?
    b the boot you deserve
    v the slick sided mousetrap you’ve fallen into
    i you've forgotten your umbrella, again.
    o to be the fool, the nothing - o, how tiresome!

    u sip your tea, the leaves will spell insipid
    s something slither near your ear, dear?
    l the wall you beat your head against,and finally:

    y the funnel at the bottom of my fun, obviously.

  4. Everyone's poem is so clever. It's wonderful how differently we look at things (letters). Here is my attempt:

    L – hooked on poetry
    I – line by line
    N – leaning to the left
    D – expressionless without words
    A - avoiding peaks, choosing roads in the middle

  5. #15 in MyPoPerDayMo (which is one long stretch)


    . fingertip pointing at
    shortlived finality

    , tiny lung inflating
    with anticipation

    ? nose turned up, sniffing;
    eye searching for clues

    “” wagging tongues
    passing on the gossip

    ! fist at the end of a long arm,
    thumping the table

    Heidi Mordhorst 2011
    all rights reserved

  6. SO clever. And especially, Heidi taking on punctuation. Hah!


  7. yes, I agree. What a joy to read! So imaginative. I love the quotation marks, especially.

  8. Hi Tricia ~ You're all so clever! Found this challenging...took me a week to do ;~)

    Happy Thanksgiving, Poets!


    C mouse ear lazing on its side
    A belted tipi, bottom wide
    R thermometer under emoticon tongue
    O byers caroler, yawning and young
    L elfin foot wants to trip someone

    © Carol Weis 2011, all rights reserved

  9. Oh, what fun! Here's my attempt at seeing images in numbers, though I have the feeling the format might not hold because of the length of some lines. Oh, well - if it doesn't hold, just imagine the list of numbers to the left, the lines of poetry to the right. Thanks for the challenge, Tricia.


    0 The wooden wheel leans against
    1 our stone wall, and at noon
    2 sends its shadow curving under
    3 hand-blown bottles – look, how beautiful
    4 the stack of them there, by the birdcage,
    5 where the Bougainvillea begins
    6 its lazy tumble. See how the blossoms - blood red! -
    7 outline the boy carrying firewood on his back,
    8 the pregnant Zapoteca woman in her apron,
    9 the proud husband, chest out, and their
    10 two children - the thin one, and the one who smiles.

  10. C 3 quarters around the track, already thinking about dessert.

    H A pole vaulting bar that's to long in the tooth.

    A Golden arch with a strong core.

    R Rollercoaster designed by sadist.

    L Side photo of a sharp nose.

    E A 3 way race where the middle runner is not doing as well as hoped.

    S Rattlesnack dance off.

    Charles Waters (c) 2011 all rights reserved.