(1) Write a seasonal poem, and
(2) Write a "Sapphic" verse. Sappho was the Greek poet who invented this form, which I've never done before and is a bit tricky. I'll let Maureen Thorson describe it:
"These are quatrains whose first three lines have eleven syllables, and the fourth, just five. There is also a very strict meter that alternates trochees (a two-syllable foot, with the first syllable stressed, and the second unstressed) and dactyls (a three-syllable foot, with the first syllable stressed and the remainder unstressed). The first three lines consist of two trochees, a dactyl, and two more trochees. The fourth line is a dactyl, followed by a trochee."
Got all that? To put it another way, the stresses fall like this on lines 1-3:
DAH-dum DAH-dum DAH-dum-dum DAH-dum DAH-dum
and like this on line 4:
Anyway, here's my seasonal Sapphic. I can only imagine what it's like to survive a tornado, like so many of our fellow Americans in the South and Midwest this week, so forgive me any presumptions.
Spring has zeroed in on us - downdrafts cooking
up tornadoes, hammering little towns like
model train displays - in an instant, nothing
left to hold onto.
Yet we pick through remnants to reassemble
lives - our children's photographs, dishware, jackets,
chairs and spoons, a teddy bear. Are we crying?
Yes, but we're living.
Trees were budding yesterday - now the ones that
stand are stripped like skeletons, winter-bleak and
mourning what this holocaust killed last night in
As we salvage what we can find, we stumble
over signs of nature surviving - crocus
in a ransacked garden, a pair of robins
watching us forage.