Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Poetry Stretch - Just the Right Word

Since I'm not quite clever enough to write a decent reverso, I've been using this poem of Marilyn Singer's as a model for form.
What Water Can Be
(from How to Cross a Pond: poems about water)

A furrow that's filling
       Water, collective
Your face in the puddle
       Water, reflective
A network of rivers
       Water, connective
Your boat drifting downstream
       Water, directive
A storm in the city
       Water, objective
One drop on your eyelash,
       Water, selective
Poem ©Marilyn Singer. All rights reserved.

Writing poems in this way is all about finding just the right words (adjectives) to describe the subject. It's hard, but I'm enjoying it immensely. Won't you join in trying a poem of this form? Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.


  1. Love this--especially the network and water connecting. And of course poems about water--whee! How funny that this poem is almost exactly the title of my book that comes out next week!

    Here's a similarly structured poem I wrote a few years ago!

    Golden Possibilities

    Labeled Au

    Gold, assigned

    Drilled out of rock

    Gold, mined

    Made clean and pure

    Gold, refined

    Mixed to make alloys

    Gold, combined

    Shaped into rings

    Gold, designed

    Buried with pharaohs

    Gold, enshrined

    Sunlight in metal

    Gold, undefined

    –Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

    1. This is terrific! And I can't wait for your new book! I just used A LEAF CAN BE at my Project Learning Tree workshop this weekend and the teachers just loved it.

    2. That was great, Laura! I'd also never seen this book or the trilogy of such books... thus showing that there's so much more great stuff for me left to discover!

  2. P.S. How have I never seen this book of Marilyn's? I just ordered it. Thanks, Tricia!

    1. The other two books in this series are FOOTPRINTS ON THE ROOF: POEMS ABOUT THE EARTH and CENTRAL HEATING: POEMS ABOUT FIRE AND WARMTH. I use all three in my science class!

    2. Seriously! I can't believe I don't have these! Though I think I've read CENTRAL HEATING--maybe. Sigh. Thanks, Tricia. Greg, glad to know I'm not the only one.

    3. I have these books and I love them!

  3. I got all self reflexive and wrote What a Poem Can Be

    Interesting form (unnamed?). Definitely not easy, and I don't think I was as "pure" as Marilyn's... but I enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Going to try this one, Tricia. Love this community.

  5. Very fun! Windjam is actually a traditional circus term for the brass players going at it.


    Ringmaster turns in his long-tailed tux
    Circus, charismatic

    Twins ride a bike on a high tightrope
    Circus, acrobatic

    Trumpets windjam double time
    Circus, operatic

    Clowns giddy round with trips and slips
    Circus, fanatic

    Green feathers, blue silk, bright red hats
    Circus, chromatic

    Elephants march and sway their way
    Circus, emphatic

    Popcorn and cotton candy blossom through the crowd
    Circus, aromatic

    Riders fly by on dance-prance steeds
    Circus, dramatic

    Magician makes a tiger disappear
    Circus, enigmatic

    Three rings swirl and twirl and whirl
    Circus, ecstatic

    —Kate Coombs, 2014
    all rights reserved

  6. What a fun, hard working exercise. Marilyn, Greg, Laura and Kate ... Wow. Love the poems!

    Here's my contribution.

    Matching footprints
    Dirt, designed
    Blessing of earth
    Dirt, divined
    Drilling on land
    Dirt, maligned
    Processing clay
    Dirt, refined
    Mountain journey
    Dirt, inclined
    Filthy substance
    Dirt, defined.

    (c) Charles Waters 2014 all rights reserved.

    1. Nice, Charles! I especially like the last two lines as a wrap-up.

    2. Thanks Kate. Everyone's bringing their A game for this exercise!

  7. All of these are crackling, folks! Will have to try this when I have more time.

  8. These are fun! Mine ended up being an adverb poem, but I enjoyed the results anyway.

    Spring (Truly)

    Hatchlings peep newly.
    Sky stretches bluely.
    Trees waken throughly.
    Grass glistens dew’ly.
    Days warm Woohoo!-ly.

    © 2014 Stephanie Parsley

  9. Hi, Here's mine:

    Late Spring

    Late spring deluge begins
    Rain, pelting
    Cloudburst whipping rain and wind
    Rain falling
    Puddles form on vacant land
    Rain, shoaling
    Small animals seek shelter
    Rain, drenching
    Rainbows expand across farms
    Rain, mellowing
    Roots swelling from moisture
    Rain, healing

    © 2014 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved