Two Conversations

For Monday Big Tent Poetry Prompt  June 28 – conversation
http://bigtentpoetry.org/category/ring-1/

This first piece was my original response to this week’s prompt. The second follows it.

Taken Aback

When you asked me
I said one thing
but now, would say
another.

When you asked me
I was much younger,
still floating bright-colored
balloons, tied with long
white string to my
then scrawny wrist.

When you asked me
I had yet to walk
through all of those
deepening shadows.

Had yet to learn
that moonlight rippling
across water, needs
that depth of darkness
to hold it in place,
allow it to dance.

When you asked me,
I gave you a truth
that is no longer
true,

and you were still with me,
holding my hand,
encircling my wrist,
still willing to listen.

Elizabeth Crawford  7/2/10

This second piece needs a bit of explanation. It is the result of a mnemonic devise I often used when I was in college. It helped me, while taking numerous courses in Literature and Writing, to remember which author wrote what piece, and many of the other things I needed to learn. It later turned into a challenge and a game I used in my classroom, as well as in private.

After finishing the piece above, I thought I was finished with the prompt and could go about my business. But, there was something I truly wanted to say to all of the poets who responded to last week’s prompt. I read each response and responded to each. However, the puter grumblies seemed to have  lost a few of those comments. And one site simply wouldn’t allow me entrance.

My intention is to gratefully thank each and every one of you for rekindling a fire that I was beginning to fear was banked into dying embers. Be aware that there is a belief that giving an individual back his/her own words is a high form of flattery, and even a compliment. The underlined and capitalized words and phrases are the separate and individual titles of each of the response poems from last week’s prompt. And one last note: the sentiments expressed are the result of the placement of the words and not those of this author or any other. That holds true throughout the piece except for the final and last verse.

Well Entitled Conversation

Please Don’t Be Angry, but I Don’t Want to Write A Poem
about the Disaster In The Gulf, that Spill of Black Rainbows
In The Water
, that made Front Page News. Nor do I want
to write about how Black Death Revisits in the form
of supposed leaders, Liars, Stewards to Lunacy, Dispersants
of Extinction’s Shadow. And not about Crowds, Throwing Out The Pits
In Toronto, Days Before The G20 Summit.

Instead, Slippery Words Spew, and I Can’t Stop the Flow, only find
strung out circle of language with a disjointed Curvature. So, I Struggle,
and after seeming Eternity, although I have Seen The Missing,
I Always remember being Sixteen and terribly Shallow. Still wondering
why Kevin Rudd Gets Shafted, or why Houseplants never flourish
in the Arctic, Never. And why the Stars Do Not Respond, even to
Cochon de Lait? Or worse, why, although It Didn’t Create History,
that Poem in Four Photos still begs The Form of the Question:
Will Some Poet Out There Write About Bhopal?

Being somewhat Introspective, if I got The Call, hired a Tutor, suffered
his Tender Mercies #12 through 47, I might just write about everything
from Oil Spills to Watermelon Seeds, never finding an ending. And What If…,
My Creation  were to be built upon anything but solid Values?

If I Could Write, I would Want To Write about how each of these poets
is like a firefly: flashing bright while fencing with a dark and unknown night;
a prophet, proclaiming her truths; and a hermit, at home , owning his aloneness.

Elizabeth Crawford, et al, 7/2/10

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About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ https://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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41 Responses to Two Conversations

  1. derrick2 says:

    Hello Elizabeth,

    I enjoyed your first piece, the sound and feel of those not-quite-explanations of the place where the speaker finds him/herself now, how life unfolds for us perhaps. But your second piece I think is marvellous. To get such coherence from a series of titles! I didn’t contribute last week but I recognised several that I had read. And your last lines finished it off beautifully.

    Like

  2. Mary says:

    Elizabath, your first poem is truly inspired. I really like the depthful voice in which you write and the way you write about life’s realities, even the hard ones. And, as for your second poem, my oh my, that must have taken a lot of work! I am so glad that your fire has been rekindled. May it long continue to burn intensely.

    http://inthecornerofmyeye.blogspot.com/2010/07/true-tale.html

    Like

  3. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Mary,

    although I take poetry seriously, I also have to have fun doing it, or why do it at all? The first poem came rather easily, but the second one was just plain fun. I love to challenge myself and I felt a bit like a kid at a candy store with all of it. Thanks for reading and commenting,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  4. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Derrick,

    I only realized after writing the first piece that it could be aimed at almost anyone I have known over the years. But, the second piece was a romp, I do so love making connections. So glad you liked it,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  5. twitches says:

    Love that first one – your line breaks, in particular, work really well here. And it ends beautifully.

    Like

  6. Both of these were very good, but I loved the message of the first one…oh how we change.

    Like

  7. 1sojournal says:

    twitches, and I really like your ID, lol. Thank you for reading and commenting,

    Elizabeth

    Hi Cynthia,

    Hope we never stop doing that, never stop evolving. Thank you for stopping,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  8. Robert Lloyd says:

    I enjoyed both poems very much. I will admit that I had to go back and read your first poem again because it escaped my short term memory after I was lost in the fun of your second. The second poem to me was simply wonderful. I enjoyed the craft and fun you put into it. I also liked the fact that you took time out of your day to in essence include many other poets and their works. The effort you made to take their poems and weave them to a story was brilliant. THank you for sharing both with us.

    Like

  9. mark says:

    Elizabeth, simply wonderful. I smiled at the 2nd poem, because it was a smiley fun poem. The first poem likewise made me smile, but it was a sad, knowing smile of the ‘been there, done that’ variety.

    Thank you for both reactions. The combination of wist and whimsy is a marvelous gift.

    Like

  10. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Robert,

    honestly? The pleasure was all mine. Yes, I had a few of those “what the hell am I going to do with this?” sort of moments. But, therein, lies the challenge and the fun. And am glad that you enjoyed it,

    Elizabeth

    Mark, the first time my mentor told me he loved the whimsy in one of my pieces, I had to go home and really think through his comment. I’m a North Wisconsin hillbilly, living in jeans and a tee shirt, more apt to go fishing than most anything else. How, where, could he find any whimsy in that? But, I thank you for your comment and, as far as I’m concerned, you keep very good company. My mentor was and still is a very special human being.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  11. mark says:

    North Wisconsin Hillbilly? Having lived in WI for a few years, I don’t recall ever hearing that expression before…but I could have missed a lot as I was quite busy with the liquid culture of the area and the attendant next morning drearies…

    Whimsy need only be hinted at to be effective in my view. For me, the sense of whimsy showed itself in the word choices, and in a couple of places an almost sing-song quality…again, that is just my view. I could be way off base here.

    Like

  12. brenda w says:

    Elizabeth, That first piece is stunning. My favorite stanza needs darkness to hold the moon in place. Beautiful regret.

    As for the tribute to last week’s poems and poets—what a remarkable feat! If you have a classroom plan written up, I’d love to see it. If not, I think I can work something up myself out of this. Great idea! I love the interaction of the prompts, too. I feel like we are a learning community as well as a group of interesting creative writers.
    ~Brenda

    Like

  13. 1sojournal says:

    Mark,

    I’ve lived in Wisconsin my entire life (64 years…ouch), and I swear there is an invisible line, boundary marker, just north of the Green Bay city limits. Once crossed you are in North Wisconsin Hillbilly territory. I have written a poem about that reality, in me, and you can read it here, on this site. Just go up to the category drop down list and click on “Down Beneath The Roots of Things.”

    As far as the word ‘whimsy” goes, I have learned that we hold unconscious associations to many words and I work hard at filtering them out and exploring not just their meanings, but what is really meant when they are used. To me, whimsy is a particularly wonderful compliment on so many levels. And I thank you for that,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  14. 1sojournal says:

    Brenda,

    I couldn’t agree with you more about this community. Truth be known, I felt like I had come home, last week, after a very long and arduous journey of many years. I’m more than willing to share my ideas and classroom plans with you. You can reach me at lilka1946@yahoo.com. I look forward to it. And, in a whispered aside: you picked my favorite line, from the first poem too.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  15. Tumblewords says:

    Incredibly fine work. I enjoyed the first piece – a walk through aging and change, the conversation explanatory and hopeful. The second piece is a superb wonder.

    Like

  16. 1sojournal says:

    Tumblewords,

    thank you for your generous praise. But, a superb wonder? It is my love of playing with words, and I doubt any writer, who is driven to write, doesn’t have a few tricks up his/her sleeve simply to employ that love and the sheer fun of it. My students sometimes groaned at the things I would ask them to try, to do, but we usually ended up laughing raucously and loudly. At one point, I refused to teach and told them they had to each take a turn doing it, and had a great time mimicing their groans and overly enthusiastic grumbling and mumbling.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  17. pamela says:

    Elizabeth these are both beautiful poems.
    I love the message in the first.
    Pamela

    Like

  18. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you, Pamela. I can’t begin to tell you how glad I am that I found the Tent.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  19. Elizabeth, your first poem is so accurate. Yes, the truth does change. I am so impressed with both these poems. The first one resonates with me, and the second is so cleverly done! Great job!

    Like

  20. systematicweasel says:

    Incredible work here! I found the tent not too long ago, and have loved doing the prompts so far. It really helps me going further with my writing. I try to write something everyday, but I do tend to miss a few days here and there. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

    -Weasel =)

    Like

  21. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Diane, I did have a particular person in mind when I started the first poem. But, by the end of it, I realized that it could apply to numerous others. Thank you for your comments and the compliments.

    Elizabeth

    Hello Weasel,

    I’m pretty new to the Tent, this is only my second week, but it feels like a home coming in many ways. And I love the prompts. I was ready for this and never even knew it. Writing every day, no matter the feelings, is difficult, but incredibly worth while. It’s what I taught and still believe in. Thanks for coming and for commenting,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  22. Mary says:

    Hi Eliabeth, I commented earlier but am returning again. I commented after you in Stan’s blog another time,

    Like

  23. Mary says:

    Hi Elizabeth, I had commented earlier but am returning again. I am another ‘cheesehead’ who had posted that in Stan Ski’s blog after you had mentioned GB last week. We’re about the same age too. I have forever lived in WI, a few years in your city. I looked for you on FB, but didn’t find you. It is nice to connect with another from my area.

    Like

  24. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Mary,

    I noticed that last week and then forgot to mention it, sorry. I was born in GB, but moved to South Eastern Wisconsin after marriage and lived there for almost forty years. Came back here about three years ago to help out with my Mother. GB has changed and at times almost feels like another planet, but I’m slowly making my way around. Good to know there are others around. Email me if you like.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  25. I can definitely relate to the first poem.

    Like

  26. nan says:

    I could feel so much in the first poem. Someone above said “beautiful regret.” Your second tribute was clever and spirited!! I like that device!

    Like

  27. 1sojournal says:

    Elizabeth,

    and I am definitely glad that you can. Thanks for reading and commenting,

    Elizabeth (sorry about the echo,lol)

    Like

  28. 1sojournal says:

    Nan,

    When I finished the first draft of the first poem, I also thought it was regret. But, as I worked through it, tweaking words and lines, and thought about a number of people it could be aimed at, I finally realized that it wasn’t so much regret, as acknowlegment of reality and change. Both mine and theirs. I found a sense of peace in that.

    And yes, I love the device and have used it many, many times and in all kinds of formats. I don’t particularly like doing jig saw puzzles, but I do love making connections where there were none except nebulous ones. It’s just plain fun filling in those blanks (except on forms).

    Elizabeth

    Like

  29. Jeeves says:

    Lovely post.enjoyed the first poem

    Like

  30. Erin says:

    Elizabeth, the first poem is beautiful and rings so, so true to me. The fourth stanza is especially exquisite. The second poem–what a wonderful gesture of thanks and gratitude to other poets! Thank you for both of these.

    Like

  31. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you, Jeeves, glad you liked it.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  32. 1sojournal says:

    Erin,

    and thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Something in me has come alive after driving around on autopilot for way too long. And it feels too good, too wonderful, not to be grateful for that.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  33. Deb says:

    Hi Elizabeth!

    I had (wanted) to reread the first poem again (as did another commenter) … it is a wonderful piece, starting with the title, which sets me to anticipate what’s to come. There is so much tenderness in the poem, without it being sentimental. And my favorite image is the moon (although I love the scrawny wrist, too, and how it is circled back to).

    The second is such a gift to the community! Wow. Thank you from and for all the circus-goers! (The ringleaders are happy as can be that you found us and are inspired to write, too.) Yippee!

    Like

  34. 1sojournal says:

    Deb,

    first of all, thank you. But, second (and far more important), I have a secret, and if you promise not to tell, I will share it. The story of how I got into writing poetry is on the About page of this blog site. It was a drive inside of me, right from the beginning and eventually led to an anchor poem for an anthology which was later turned into a set of tape cassettes, the poetry being read by actors and actresses. My piece was read by Ed Asner and was the anchor piece for the cassettes, as well. And the cassettes were nominated for a Grammy award in the “Spoken Word”, category. That lead to two things. I became a Free Lance writing Instructor at the University from which I graduated, and also the Moderator of the longest established poetry group in South Eastern Wisconsin. It was a critiquing group.

    And those two things meant I read a lot of poetry, much of it questionable as to its definition. When I was retired on disability, I stopped reading other people’s poetry. I had begun to see things creeping into my own poetry that I didn’t want to see, or incorporate there. Self-preservation is the strongest and strangest drive, and although I apologize for doing such a thing, I can’t go back and undo it. When I, weeks ago, responded to the prompt on Writer’s Island, I noticed that many of the respondents were poets, quite good, even excellent poets, and also found your logo on many of their sites. I decided it was time to put away my fears and take the plunge, only to find a new home, I have been missing mightily. How could I not thank all of you for this opportunity? Truth be told, I found myself taking notes on those wonderful poems, finding a plethora of inspiration that not only rekindled my own passion, but promises to be a cornerstone of a lot more poetry.

    That’s my secret. My confession, if you will. Good Lord, it feels good to get that off my chest,lol. So, thank you again, a thousand times over,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  35. Your first poem was really good; & your 2nd. knocked me out,especially those lines where you described a poet.

    Like

  36. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you Marion.

    I certainly enjoyed doing them and now responding to all of the comments. The description of the poet is a direct reflex from my poem The Call. It is the way I see that individual in myself and in others.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  37. I really enjoyed “Taken Aback,” especially the moonlight stanza, which is such a powerful image. I also love how you put together the second piece. Poetry (and all art) should be a conversation. I’m glad you took inspiration from BTP, and you’re work will also inspire the rest of us.

    Like

  38. Elizabeth your first poem has a haunting quality. And your second poem is amazing, thanks for remembering my poem.

    Like

  39. 1sojournal says:

    Francis, thank you for reading and commenting. And I particularly like the moonlight stanza myself. I definitely found even more inspiration these week as I read through the response and can only be delighted if someone finds inspiration in mine.

    Elizabeth

    Uma, thank you for your kind and generous words. And you are very weldome indeed.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  40. tillybud says:

    Two excellent pieces of work. I really enjoyed them.

    http://thelaughinghousewife.wordpress.com

    Like

  41. 1sojournal says:

    Glad you enjoyed and thanks for reading and commenting. I think I enjoy the comments as much as the poetry itself. They can be almost as inspiring in many ways, creating new paths to be explored and definitely new words to play with.

    Elizabeth

    Like

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