Tuesday, May 1, 2018

April PAD: A Recap

Well, that's it! We return to our regular life in progress. I wrote 35 poems in the month of April - not as many as I did back in November (40) or last April (54), but still not a bad level of production. I had a harder time this month getting time to sit down and write something earlier in the day due to my rather busy retired life, which is largely taken up with caring for my two lovely granddaughters while Mom and Dad work (and Mom-Mom too, part-time), so often I didn't write a poem till at least mid-evening. I wrote mostly free verse, like I usually do, but I did write a little in form: a haibun, a roundelay, four light verse poems in rhyming couplets and one in ABAB quatrains, a prose poem, and a "haiku sonnet". I didn't write as many "formal" poems as I usually do for PAD, and there were no "traditional" sonnets, my favorite form, but it is what it is. Looking at it another way, though, I wrote 704 lines of poetry in April. I don't know how that compares to previous months, but I know, for instance, that several of my 54 last April were pretty short, like haiku and limericks. My poems this April ranged from  3 to 39 lines. As for quality? Well, there's only one poem I can truly say I'm completely satisfied with at this point, but as fellow poet Peter Murphy says, sometimes you have to give yourself permission to write a "shitty" poem, and there's always room for revision.

As always, I have Robert at Poetic Asides and Maureen at NaPoWriMo to thank for spurring me on with their daily prompts. I'm a little disappointed that Robert has discontinued the "prize" incentive on his blog - at one point he was actually publishing anthologies of the best poems of the month from the blog. But I understand what a Herculean task that was, and when it comes down to it, the best reward is really having a couple of dozen new poems to add to your body of work, not to mention being able to read some fine poems from your "partners in crime".

As usual, I'm picking out what I consider some of my best poems of the month and recapping them here, so those of you who didn't follow me daily can see some of the fruits of my labor. So here are my "top five" and some honorable mentions (with the prompts that they responded to):

[Day 29: Write a "response" poem; write a poem that "engages" with one by Sylvia Plath. See this link to read my poem "Cedar".]

[Day 8: Write a "family" poem; write a poem were magical or mysterious things occur.]

Hazel in the Tree House

My granddaughter took the color of her eyes
and made it the name of her imaginary friend.
Hazel lived in a house in the cherry tree.
Hazel would invite her up to play
in the tree house with her pet baby elephant,
and they would all dance a kind of jitterbug.
When she would bring her fairy wings
and magic wand, Hazel turned into
a real fairy and made her one too.
They flitted around the windows
of the houses of the neighborhood
and peeked in. Hazel was the one who made
her tree blossom all pink-white in April.

But eventually imaginary friends move on,
usually to another town, with another name
to be friends with other girls and boys.
So it was after one more spring spectacular
that exploded the cherry tree with flowers,
when Hazel left, practically overnight.
The blossoms faded a few days later,
and the wind caught up the falling petals
into a swirling cascade that to most people
looked like snow, but to Isabel
they looked like tears.

[Day 17: Write a "love" and/or "anti-love" poem; write a poem about a family anecdote.]

Family Engagements

My wife’s grandmother had one date
with her future husband, back when movies
were silent and a nickel.  Its title is lost to the ages,
and they didn’t even hold hands.
Her little brother and sister sat between them.
They were married over fifty years
and had four children.

One evening my wife’s father came to visit
his friend, a fellow musician, and met his sister.
He wrote letters to her, and in one he said
that when he played his saxophone,
the music on his stand dissolved
and he would see her face.
They married six months before the war.

After a Christmas snowstorm, our son took his girlfriend
to see their favorite neighborhood lights display.
She turned around to brush some snow
off a lit plastic snowman, and when she turned back
he was on one knee.
He was married with his grandfather’s wedding ring.

And I, the romantic poet,
proposed to my beloved, my wife of forty-five years,
over the telephone.

[Day 24: Write a "roundelay"; write an elegy.]

Midnight Rider

Oh Gregg, you've left the worldly band,
and joined your brother's early lead.
With Southern Rock at your command,
your voice and keyboard sowed the seed.
With bluesy riffs you took a stand,
impassioned jams that filled our need.

With Southern Rock at your command,
your voice and keyboard sowed the seed.
Admittedly, the flames were fanned
with talent, and with booze and weed.
With bluesy riffs you took a stand,
Impassioned jams that filled our need.

Admittedly, the flames were fanned
with talent, and with booze and weed.
From "Whipping Post" to "Ramblin' Man",
"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,"
with bluesy riffs you took a stand,
impassioned jams that filled our need.

From "Whipping Post" to "Ramblin' Man",
"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed",
you Midnight Rider in that land
where Duane will welcome you indeed.
With bluesy riffs you took a stand,
impassioned jams that filled our need.

[Day 16: Write about something that is a "favorite"; write a poem about "play".]

Weigh with Words

I think a splendid game of Scrabble
sets one above the common rabble.
Strategic placement of those tiles
can bring sweet scores to lexophiles.
How great to get your foe in trouble
with “bingos” or a triple-double.
The winning Scrabble player girds
his loins with rare, exotic words,
Like QI and QAT and SYZYGY,
and ZAX and SUQ and QUIXOTRY.
Though words like MUZJIKS bring elation,
They’re hard to work in conversation.
Vocabulary won’t impress
when causing listeners distress.
So go enjoy your game of Scrabble;
but know some words just sound like babble.

Honorable Mentions:

Self-portrait as a Zombie (Day 2)
20 Possible Titles for My Next Poetry Collection (Day 3)
Case of Fatigue (Day 4)
Brussels Sprouts (Day 6)
Note to Future Highway Self (Day 11)
Defiant Ones (Day 12)
American Thread (Day 19)
Narcissus 2018 (Day 21)
Nectar (Day 26)
Long-distance Wave (Day 28)