nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for November 2018

pantoum on morning

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A couple of months ago, a friend from my Fictional Friends writing group suggested the image below as a writing prompt. The image reminded me of my once-daily morning commute where I would often see the settling of the morning mists in the low valley of the Saint John River.

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poem one

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morning mist

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wake in morning, wool-headed

reluctant to start the day

fog settles as droplets of dew

webs woven over pasture

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reluctant to start the day

fleece teased over hollows of hill

webs woven over pasture

hesitation of a solitary ewe

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fleece teased over hollows of hill

disperse as sun stretches arms

hesitation of a solitary ewe

drowsy as dreams feather into deed

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disperse as sun stretches arms

push back pillows and duvet

drowsy as dreams feather into deed

woolen blanket of valley mist

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push back pillows and duvet

wake in morning wool-headed

woolen blanket of valley mist

fog settles as droplets of dew

~

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I have been thinking about prompts for writing: images, collage, words, phrases, sentences, and so on. Just google ‘writing prompts’ for a barrage of ideas. Writing prompts can be used to combat ‘writer’s block’, to suggest new pathways for writing or to find new metaphors.

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For a poet, I think another type of prompt is ‘form’. Form suggests new patterns of expressing an idea. For the poem ‘morning mist‘, I used a photo as a visual writing prompt and the pantoum form (with modifications) to explore new ways to pattern ideas about morning.

pantoum – a poetic form written in any number of quatrains with an abab rhyme scheme and repeating lines: the first and third lines of any stanza are the same as the second and fourth lines of the preceding stanza; the first and third lines of the opening stanza are used as the second or fourth lines of the last stanza. The last line of the poem may be the same as its first line.

I like the interweaving of ideas and emerging images as the pantoum proceeds. The repetition slows the poem and establishes echoes within.

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All my best,

Jane Tims

 

 

Written by jane tims

November 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

rural to urban

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In one of my recent posts, here, I wrote about a course I took using collage-making as a writing prompt. To help us visualize the method, the teacher (Lynn Davies) gave us examples of collages she had built and asked us to do some response writing. Here is a facsimile of Lynn’s collage and the poem I wrote in response.

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collage 2.jpg

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Relocating the Rhino

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We move,

rural to urban.

Exchange night song

for traffic noise.

Swap canopied trees

for storied buildings,

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night stars and Jupiter

for wall switches

and tic-tac-toe

of energy leak

from offices

in skyscrapers.

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Beneath our feet,

rocks become fluid,

magma, electric blue.

Footing uncertain

on rocks

that wobble.

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We armor ourselves,

chose tenement addresses.

Turn off lights

to save our silver,

wish for stars

in the night sky.

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See only

tired workers,

keeping

the lights on

way past

quitting time.

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Since I am a community planner and environmentalist, the interpretation of the collage comes as no surprise. The surprises (for me) are the rhino as metaphor for humans moving into the urban setting and the comparison of the twinkle of office buildings to the twinkle of rural stars.  Implied is the irony of rural workers, seeking a better life, working even longer hours when they migrate to an urban life.

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All my best,

Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 26, 2018 at 12:00 am

black ice

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DSCF4028 (2016_12_30 00_28_35 UTC).JPG

black ice – a transparent coating of ice on a road, usually asphalt

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Winter comes with its driving challenges. Heavy snow, slippery roads, poor visibility … a good driver is aware of them all. Black ice is particularly challenging … it’s hard to see, often unnoticeable until you are trying to navigate across it. It may look like bare pavement, smooth sailing all the way! Black ice can be a metaphor for any dangerous encounter in our lives.

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DSCF8294 (2016_12_30 00_28_35 UTC)

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charisma

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your eyes glitter

crystals of salt

I think you are

untrustworthy

your charm a veneer

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black ice only shows

in a stray beam

of moonlight

or when headlights are switched

to high

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DSCF4027_crop (2016_12_30 00_28_35 UTC).jpg

Drive with care in every incident of life!!!

Jane

 

Written by jane tims

November 21, 2018 at 7:00 am

out of place

with 5 comments

One of the advantages of belonging to a regional writing group — regular opportunities to refresh the writing mind and put new tools in the writer’s kit.

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This past month at WordsFall, an annual event of the New Brunswick Writers’ Federation, I took a course from well-known poet Lynn Davies (author of how the gods pour tea, 2013, Goose Lane Editions, The Bridge That Carries the Road, 1999, Brick Books, and others). Lynn’s course Paper Moon, Paper Shoe: Writing and Collage introduced me to an new idea, using paper collage to inspire and renew.

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In a couple of very enjoyable hours, Lynn showed us how to build a collage from magazine images and other paper scraps. She showed us examples of collages she had made and set us to work on our own collage. Her instructions were to select images that appealed to us at the moment and not overthink the choice of images. After the images were glued to a card, we took some time to write about the collage and the ideas it suggested.

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Here is the collage I produced and the resulting poem.

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Scan_20181120.jpg

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out of place

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An orange tree

in temperate soil,

among caraway

and dill.

One red tile

in a zigzag

of black and white.

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Shoes take me

for a walk

in barley grass

and caraway.

Melon rinds

on size five feet.

Too slippery, too wide.

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Garlic and dill

by lantern-light.

Ten after ten

on the hall clock.

Pickles and port

and a splash

of blackberry wine.

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Floor-plan,

when the lights go out,

makes no sense at all.

Dormer rooms

too tight

and me too tall.

Caraway among the dill.

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Salt on wounds.

Seeds in pickle jars.

Willow trees scratch

at window glass.

Garlic to banish

grinning skulls,

creep beneath tiles.

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Next time you struggle for inspiration, consider generating some new ideas with collage.

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All my best,

Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 20, 2018 at 12:38 pm

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