Friday, March 26, 2021

Poetry Sisters Write Dizains

This month's challenge was to write a "Dizzying" Dizain. This form consists of one 10-line stanza with 10 syllables per line. The rhyme scheme is a/b/a/b/b/c/c/d/c/d. You can read more about the form at Robert Lee Brewer's site at the Writer's Digest

I'm not sure what dizzying means, but I toyed with writing about vertigo and dizzying love. (Does love make one dizzy?) In the end, I settled on my favorite adrenaline-filled pastime, riding roller coasters. I do feel like I needed another line or two to really describe the ride, but this will have to do. I wrote nearly all of this during our Zoom time on Sunday, so I am pleased that I was able to pull these ideas together.

A Dizzying Ride
This topsy-turvy coaster calls my name
I take a seat, lock in, and close my eyes
you’d think that every ride would be the same
but with each trip I’m daunted by its size
yet thrilled by chains click-clacking as we rise
It dizzies me to look down at the ground
instead I watch the track where we are bound
we rise and fall, turn upside down, suspend
and for those moments, how my heart does pound
too soon we’re speeding breakneck to the end

I went back to writing later that day after spending some time wading through boxes of mementos. I find parting with things difficult to do. (Under different circumstances I might have become a hoarder!) Do I really need the high school graduation cards that have been in a box in the attic since I moved to Virginia nearly 27 years ago? Why is it so hard to part with them? As a mom, why have I saved every piece of artwork my son did? As well as concert programs, notes from teachers, and so much more! There is a part of me that says "SAVE EVERYTHING!" This is the teacher in me that uses my father's old photos, letters, and newspaper clippings to teach about primary sources. But there is another part of me that says "He's a boy, he won't care about these things." I found the internal tug-of-war over these tokens to be dizzying, and just like that, I had an idea for another poem. I broke the rules here because this one has two stanzas, and a dizain is only supposed to have one.

The Dizzying Stress of Tidying Up 
   (with apologies to Marie Kondo)

The moving van held boxes from my past
things my mother saved throughout the years
childhood was not designed to last
reminders of my youth that disappeared
sentimental treasures prompting tears
A mother now myself I’ve kept things too
our son’s first tooth, a lock of hair, a shoe
report cards, photos, ticket stubs and more
so many keepsakes, none of them on view
what good are they all locked up in a drawer?

Will my son even want these for his own?
Am I a lousy mom for wanting less?
Why keep a blanket tattered, worn, and sewn?
Old homework, letters, cards, notes from recess
certificates that celebrate success
I cannot seem to part with any thing
despite the good intentions that I bring
to the task of holding each in hand
Marie's my guide, as I clean house in spring
Does it bring joy? I hope you understand.

Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2021. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my Poetry Sisters at the links below. 
Would you like to try the next challenge? Next month we are writing in the style of Linda Hogan’s poem "Innocence.” Share your poem on April 30th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals. We look forward to reading your poems!

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living. Happy poetry Friday friends!


  1. Tricia, I am amazed at your propensity to write two dizzying dizains. I really enjoyed your poems but do like the second one so much since it addresses what I am facing during my life move to Gainesville, Virginia. As I unpack boxes, I wonder why did I bring this with me-Sentimental reasons, I am sure. I would like to join the Poetry Sisters in April so let me see what I can work on. I am glad that you mentioned M. Kondo: "Marie's my guide, as I clean house in spring."

  2. Maybe it's a new form of linked poetry? A double-dizain? (Imagine that word with a French accent over the e) I love what you've done with the idea of "childhood was not designed to last" both from your own childhood and your son's.

  3. I like the doubled-dizain - it's twice the angst!
    I grew up with a parent who ...well, he took things *he* figured we needed to be finished with, so I grew sort of a carapace over my heart in terms of things, and can give them up easily - except when I can't. I look at pictures of our house in the UK where I dragged for five years bits and pieces of what I felt made a home - so, so many boxes and to what end? So, I very much feel your dizziness going back and forth between keep and toss.

    Boys can be sometimes WORSE than girls in terms of nostalgia... Himself has a briefcase full of pictures and odds and ends from childhood... definitely ask your son if he has any opinion at all; he may surprise you.

  4. I love roller coasters, too, Tricia, wishing that our own Worlds of Fun would open again! As for the 'things', I kept a box for each child & when they had their first children, I passed it on. Whether they've kept them I am not sure, perhaps a few things, but that was done. My mother created so many games for me growing up & now I wish she had kept them but she did not. Other things are now given to grandchildren, if you could be patient. I love the way your wove through your angst about those boxes & it seems you needed two stanzas for it all!

  5. I haven't been on a roller coaster in a long time, but they once were my favorite ride. I relate whole-heartedly to the cleaning out poem. My children are all grown and starting families of their own. It's hard to let things go, but you just can't keep it all. I am glad for some of the children's books I saved because now grands are enjoying them. Thanks for tackling what feels to me a daunting form.

  6. Oh, how I can relate to your tidying-up poem. There are some things that DO spark joy in me, but the clutter they form does NOT!

  7. Impressive dizains. The roller coaster one is such fun. I can relate to the second one. THe battle in our house is between me (let's clear out the clutter) and my husband (we might need it someday). When my daughter was young and wanted to keep everything, we compromised by taking a photo (especially of school and 4H projects) and then disposing of the papers/posters.

  8. Oh, Tricia! Well, first-off, the rollercoaster poem BEGS to be read aloud. Have you seen Marla Frazee's picture book Roller Coaster??? You'd love it...
    And then, aaak, the tidying up poem? KILLS ME. I am both the mother and the child -- the one who wants less and the one with the tattered blanket and tooth and shoe. You captured it all just perfectly. Maybe what you need to save is just this poem???

  9. Wow! First, I love roller coasters, and that click-clacking, and the "suspend" just pausing there at the very end of a line--brilliant. And I felt you in the Tidying one. I am mostly about getting rid of stuff. Brutally. But...we do have several boxes of each of the girls' childhood things. They don't want them/don't have room for them right now. And I could toss them. But as someone who has NOTHING from her childhood before a scrapbook I made in 7th grade or so, I also think they might want them in the future. So we'll keep a few boxes for each if we're able. For an upcoming game night, I was asked for a baby picture. I don't have any picture of me before age 4 or so. That makes me a little sad.