Thursday, April 23, 2015

PAD Day 23: A Very Trivial Poem

I was disappointed that for the second year in a row I couldn't attend the launch party for US 1 Worksheets, that great, long-running journal out of Princeton NJ.  However, I did get my contributor's copy in the mail yesterday, which includes my poem "Señor Morning" (written during last year's PAD challenge). Thanks as always to Nancy Scott and all the fine folks as US1.

Today's prompts from Poetic Asides and NaPoWriMo:
(1) Write a "history" poem, and
(2) Take a deck of cards - any kind of cards - shuffle it, and pick a card at random. Use that card as a starting point for five minutes of free-writing and make a poem out of it.

Since I had to write about something historical, I thought using the History question on a Trivial Pursuit card would be a good idea. I took it a step further, though, and tried to incorporate elements of the other five questions on the card into the poem. As I was working on this, my son pointed out that Dorianne Laux has written a poem about London Bridge in Arizona. I read hers after writing mine, and I think mine is quite different, so "not to worry".

My Fair Lady

When I was sixteen, London Bridge was literally
falling down. So they sold it to an American oil man,
took it apart, stone by stone, and shipped it to the States.
It boggled the mind. U.S. customs classified it as a “large antique.”  
(“Anything to declare?”  “Just this 930-foot bridge.”)
I wonder what kind of appraisal it would fetch on Antiques Roadshow.
Mr. McCulloch bought it for $2.4 million, more than Dumbo’s ears
or an original Calder mobile. He re-assembled it in Arizona
like a big Lego project, sunk it in the sand, then cut a channel
across the peninsula which he filled with the waters of Lake Havasu,
as blue as a painted bunting’s head. Now it’s the only thoroughfare
to that man-made island. But why Arizona? Why not North Carolina,
“First in Freedom”, or even New Hampshire,”The Granite State”?
It still looks a bit incongruous, a bridge built in 1830, plunked into
a planned community more than a hundred years younger
that’s irrigated against the natural order of things. 
It would be like hanging the Mona Lisa in an Apple store,
or taping the Declaration of Independence like a concert poster
to that big glass pyramid at the Louvre.

[Source facts from the Trivial Pursuit card that I used as material for the poem:
1. North Carolina puts "First in Freedom" on their license plates.
2. Dumbo's ears were insured for $1 million (in the movie).
3. U.S. Customs classified London Bridge as a "large antique" when it was shipped here.
4. Artist Alexander Calder invented the mobile.
5. The painted bunting (bird) has a blue head.
6. A Boggle game has 16 letter cubes.]

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