Thursday, April 2, 2015

PAD Challenge Day 2: Secrets and Constellations

From time to time this month I'll give a shout-out to poets I know and admire.  My friend Kelly Ramsdell Fineman has sung my praises several times on her blog, Writing and Ruminating, for which I'm eternally grateful. It's time I returned the favor and plugged her very first poetry chapbook, The Universe Comes Knocking, published by Maverick Duck Press.  It's a really fine collection - check it out.

Today's dual prompts from Poetic Asides and NaPoWriMo: (1) write a "secret" poem, and (2) write a poem about the stars, or more specifically, the constellations. The first prompt reminds me a little of Peter Murphy, the poet and retired teacher who founded the annual Winter Prose and Poetry Getaway held each January in southern NJ.  Peter always offers challenging and often devilish prompts throughout the weekend, and one of his favorite addenda to those prompts is "Tell a secret, tell a lie, but don't tell which is which." You can find some of Peter's fiendishly entertaining prompts and some of the poems inspired by them in the book Challenges for the Delusional from Jane Street Press. This poem was inspired by a recent conversation with a favorite young lady, but most of it is fictionalized.

The Stars Obliterated

She looks up at the night sky, amazed
to see it so clearly. In my city, she says,
the sky is only gray –
all the city light washes out the stars.

She doesn't know the constellations,
so I point out Orion, sighting his belt,
the row of three bright stars, blue giants
from hundreds of light years away.

She doesn't know the mythology either,
so I describe his stature and heroism,
his hunting prowess, and how as Poseidon’s son
he could walk on the ocean floor
with his head above the waves.

But he was a pig to women, I tell her.
He assaulted Merope after too much wine
and he pursued the Pleiades so relentlessly
that Zeus scooped them up for protection
and deposited them in the sky.

That reminds me of something, she says,
but she will not share it,
and she is quiet for the rest of the night.

1 comment:

Kelly Fineman said...

Thanks for your support Bruce! It's much appreciated!!