Friday, April 06, 2018

Poetry Sisters Write to a Bishop Line

The challenge this month was to take one line from the poem One Art by Elizabeth Bishop and use it as a line in a new poem.

Since I have a 10K coming up in a week, running has been on my mind. In an effort to lift my spirits when I go out for longer runs, I've been wearing pigtails. Can you imagine it? A 50-something in pigtails? It makes me giggle a little when I see my shadow and seems to make the miles just a bit more fun. If you've been on Facebook you've seen the pictures. Since one of our group is not on Facebook (ahem!), I've posted it here for her viewing pleasure.
Here's the poem I wrote to the line "Then practice losing farther, losing faster." This poem couldn't decide if it wanted to be angsty or funny, so it has a bit of a split personality, but it was a good place to start my writing and thinking.

I Am A Runner
Running is my morning prayer.
A meditation on the moment,
in the silence of waking dawn,
the beauty of the world unfolds
while I sweat, ache, and complain.
I do it, but often (usually) hate it.

I don’t run to win.
There won’t be a race I’ll finish
anywhere near the front.
Hills, water stops, a stray wisp of hair,
the need to constantly adjust my shorts,
slow me down.

I suppose this practice
(losing farther, losing faster),
only serves to push me forward,
keeps me putting one expensive shoe
in front of the other.

Running is about faith -
Faith in my feet
Faith in the uneven road
Faith that I’ll get out of bed
Faith that I’ll start
because once I'm in the race,
there's nothing to do but

After I got this one under my belt, I felt like I needed something more "serious." I ended up with a list poem that kept changing. Since these exercises are all about getting poems out in the world, I'm finally setting this one free, even though it doesn't actually feel finished. It actually needs some sort of lamentation at the end, but I'm just not sure what that is yet. Here's what I've written so far using the line "of lost door keys, the hour badly spent." You'll notice that in this poem and the one above, I didn't exactly stick to the selected line.

Lamentation for Things Lost

lost jobs, beloved colleagues
books lent and not returned

lost pets, time to myself
the pleasure of quiet spaces

lost door keys, hours badly spent
real money in loose change

lost oaks and pines, the Monopoly dog,
the sound of my father's voice

lost innocence, idealism
a favorite president

lost hope (every now and then)
the ability not to care

Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2018. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written written by my poetry sisters at the links below. 
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Amy at The Poem Farm. Happy poetry Friday friends.


  1. The Monopoly dog!! You over-achiever, Tricia -- a 10K and not one but two poems. I love these both, truly. Thank you ....

  2. I think these are both serious poems, Tricia, though the first is a bit lighter. Lovely, both of them. The second is a beautiful chant in my head, but the first gives me you, so I love it more. Especially the realness of it, like "the need to constantly adjust my shorts." Yes! And the wonderful ending that draws meaning from the experience you shared.

  3. Aw, thank you for including me in the pigtail photography admiration! And no one believes you're fiftysomething, btw. Give yourself another ten years...

    I LIKE the runner poem - that one is perfect with its split personality; honestly, exercise always makes one feel that way -- the big, "Noooooo, let me stay in bed!!!!" vs. the way you feel afterward, plus that virtuous glow when you go to the doctor!

    "Real money in loose change" is the realest of the real, isn't it?! My Dad tossed change in a dish from pockets at the end of the day, and I robbed him blind throughout childhood, and he never seemed to care, because it was "just" a nickel or a quarter or a dime. I am VERY careful about change, whereas he never has been. (Hahaha, maybe that means I'll always have more money. Not.)

    Now I feel like I should have at least attempted two poems...

  4. Why is it always the Monopoly dog that gets lost?? (Does it run off for greener yards?) Anyway, I'm truly grateful for your running poem. I've loved exercise over the years, BUT---I've never been a runner. The joy of it eludes me, although I've done it for thrift (no gym fees!) and convenience (you can do it anywhere.) But...your poem helps me understand the allure (addiction??) that runners live by. And goodness---that second poem----do NOT ever lose the ability not to care. That's as much a part of you as your pigtails.

  5. I enjoyed both poems, but your Lamentations really spoke to me. I could relate to the circumstances/feelings portrayed in each stanza. Thanks for sharing.

  6. This:
    "keeps me putting one expensive shoe
    in front of the other."

    and this:
    "the sound of my father's voice"

    The first made me chuckle, and the second made tears spring to my eyes. Especially the way you tucked it in right after the Monopoly dog.

    Beautiful poems, both of them. Keep rocking the pigtails!!

  7. I love the first poem (and the second one, too) but I can relate to the first one. I used to do sprint triathlons, and my goal was always to finish and not be dead last (with emphasis on the not dead part). I never had aspirations of being at the front of the pack, but I enjoyed the races anyway.

  8. Oh wow. Both are fabulous. That phrase - "the Monopoly dog" - somehow makes this universal. Thank you. Happy 10k! You continually inspire. x

  9. Kind of like writing a poem...once you start, there's nothing to do but finish (the trick is to make yourself start, which you poetry sisters seem to have mastered!)

  10. Love this line: A meditation on the moment,
    in the silence of waking dawn,
    the beauty of the world unfolds.
    Congrats on two poems and a 10K.