Formal Farewell To Big Tent Poetry

 

Big Tent Poetry is closing down the site to further weekly prompts. Big Tent is where I began my journey on the poetry prompt circuit. It is hard to see them go, but they need to be free to move on according to their own needs and leanings. This final prompt was to cull our most recent poems and choose one or two lines and deposit them on the BTP site. Then choose one or two lines from that deposit and use them to write a poem. The poem you are about to read is made up of all the lines that were deposited until 10:00 pm, last evening. There were 27 contributors at that time. Some left one line, while others left two. And one poet left an entire poem of lines to choose from. I couldn’t choose, so used all, choosing two from the above mentioned poem. Big Tent has allowed me to find the very much alive poet within me. So, I gathered all those words and tried to make something coherent for our lovely and fearless leaders. Hats off to you ladies, you have brought a great deal of light and life to many of us. Thank you.

The Difficulty of Squeezing an Elephant Through The Eye of a Needle

There’s a clover patch outside infinity. Sequined
thoughts no longer shine from unclear memory.
My dreams are the color of turquoise, as you spread
a quilt over the leaves and pull me down beside you.

The only word left is compassion, so make a picture
of our passion, as if I’m a medical illustrator. We feel
compelled to talk about it, like birds on a wire. Dishonest,
against our better judgment, until roots burst forth,
contained no longer by a shell, not so silently.

Every boy is small with so much inside. Bound in these
imperfect forms, we downed them just to be polite. Bracing
him. Bracing me. Walked him step by step in shoes without
laces when he said, “Fold me up and leave me to collect dust,”
then crawled through a hole and disappeared.

Little respite, poured enough courage in my cup to get
me through. An image as broken as the mirror, I can’t recall
the contents of those days. From the valley, a blue updraft
of dust and seeds and wings. Living is not herding sheep,
and I am clay, malleable by happenstance.

This morning the sun said yes to the fog, small miracles
of light bathed fields in gold, reflecting temperamental silk
soaring scarves of clouds moving over field’s of red
and yellow flowers and a windmill twirling, as we marveled
at the miracle of the ordinary. Even so, midnight catches
us by surprise, when I tell you:

“The warehouse of your anxiety should be torn down. Rejection
carries through veins like blood, and I won’t tell you that I want
you, no more waiting for you to want me. No longer, when you
call my name, will I come to the sound of my own soul singing.”

Every corner’s been scrubbed, the laundry is done. I glide out
the door, my energy’s high, as I secretly promise from my heart,
to pray that God is watching you read this poem.

Elizabeth Crawford  5/13/11

Notes: The title of the poem is one of the lines from those deposited. When I finished the poem, I realized that it was essentially about the invisible elephant we often find in our living space and spend a lot of time and energy bending ourselves around to avoid. Some of those elephants are not bad or dark things. For several years I bent myself around my desire to write poetry, avoiding the fact that it is was an essential part of my life force. Big Tent, and all of the wonderful poets and writers, I have met there, reawakened that reality for me and I can’t thank any of you enough.

I attempted my best to keep the lines as they were written, but did have to tweak a bit to keep some sense of tense and meaning. Very few of my own words are here, other than the two lines I had contributed. Again, my thanks to all of you. You can find that deposit of lines here: http://bigtentpoetry.org/2011/05/monday-prompt-may-9/

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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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22 Responses to Formal Farewell To Big Tent Poetry

  1. vivinfrance says:

    A tour de force: a story line is evident throughout, and – like the ‘borrowed’ lines shows coherence and romanticism, but with a strong personality shining through.

    Thank you Viv, that’s wonderful and I’m glad you found that much in the poem. But, that credit needs to be shared with all the wonderful poets who take part in the circus.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  2. nan says:

    Nicely done! That was no easy task to use all those lines and give them flow, and as Viv said above, coherence.

    Actually Nan, I thought I was nuts when I started, but the lines seemed to find one another of their own accord. Good lines, good results, yes?

    Elizabeth

    Like

  3. Yes, it is one of my favorites, as Big Tent was one of my favorites. You should be very proud!!!! I am thinking of Amy Cutler’s drawings.

    Looked up some of her drawings. I am honored. Thank you Annell,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  4. Mr. Walker says:

    Elizabeth, this was so much fun to read. A fitting tribute to Big Tent Poetry. I like how you managed to take lines from different poets and poems and blend them, finding some commonalities: thoughts and dreams, compassion and passion, sun and light. Nicely done.

    Richard

    Richard, I think that line I stole from you might become a signature stroke, lol. Glad you enjoyed it, it was actually fun to do as well.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  5. Lindsey says:

    This poem has a very interesting rhythm, like slam poetry in a way. Love it.

    Lindsey, I was surprised at how much the lines fell together and I noticed a rhythm as well. That’s surprising, given that there are 27 different voices represented here. There is a certain energy on the prompt circuit that I find nowhere else. I can’t quite define it, but assume it has to do with the creative impulse and staying close to it. It was very apparent to me as I put this together. Glad you made note of it,

    Elizabeth

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  6. WOW! ELIZABETH! This is simply SPECTACULAR. I was in awe, as I was reading. What an amazing compilation of incredibly deep thoughts and philosophy. Too many wonderful images to list…..but the fields bathed in gold and you gliding out the door is absolutely beautiful. You will miss the site from which you began your poetic journey – but look at all the poems you have packed in your trunk now!!!! Simply amazing writing – over the top wonderful.

    Ah shucks Sherry, what am I supposed to say to that? These wonderful words were a gift to find and to work with, and yes, you are correct, I do have a trunk full of poems and they just keep coming,

    Elizabeth

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  7. margo roby says:

    Indeed, as viv says, a tour de force. I am so glad you were able to accomplish this, as it is the perfect farewell to Big Tent and the ladies.

    Margo, that was my hope and intention. The poets themselves made it far easier than I thought it would be. They are an incredible choir of voices, yes?

    Elizabeth

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  8. pamelasayers says:

    Elizabeth, a magnificent farewell to the big tent. I love the fact, that you used all of the lines.

    Pamela

    Believe it or not Pamela, I did something I’ve never done before. I actually started with the title and the rest seemed to fall together rather smoothly. Perhaps because the title was sort of how I felt about trying to do this, lol? Thanks for those gorgeous opening lines,

    Elizabeth

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  9. Brenda says:

    Elizabeth, Thank you. You made my day brighter, again. Your generous spirit shines through all of your work, and now you include all of our words. Bless you.
    ~Brenda

    Secret Brenda? Using these lines made the job fair less difficult than coming up with my own words and lines and meanings. It was sort of like putting a jigsaw puzzle together and simply hoping that the big picture would be discernable. And thanks to you, I’ve been haveing a bit more practice at that lately, lol.

    Elizabeth

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  10. As everyone else has said: a fantastic tribute to a fantastic group of poets. Thanks for this!

    And thank you Joseph for being a part of this experience,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  11. Mary says:

    This is an amazing poem, Elizabeth. I can’t believe all the lines you used. You continue to surprise me. A fitting send-off to Big Tent, one of my favorite sites!

    As it definitely is one of mine, Mary. I will definitely miss the site, but will also look forward to new adventures as well. Here’s to all of us,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  12. Linda says:

    Bravo-what a task you set for yourself and accomplished with such a deft pen.

    Had to laugh a bit at your comment Linda. Don’t think I would have tried this without the copy, cut, and paste on my word processor program. I would have been lost, otherwise. The real task was to remember to check off each line as it found its place in the scheme of things. Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed it,

    Elizabeth

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  13. Excellent job. Did you use all of the lines. Very creative. And then to tie it all in together. Impressive. Hope to see you around. Thanks for the comment.

    Yes, Henry, all of them. And thanks for taking the time to read and comment,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  14. Kim Nelson says:

    Elizabeth~

    You’ve outdone us all! Amazing work.

    I don’t know about that Kim, I’ve seen some pretty amazing poems as I roamed through the blogosphere today. I think we all wanted to put our best foot forward. And just so glad I have been able to participate in all of it. This is my way to thank the wonderful folks I have met at Big Tent. The energy here is inspiring to say the least,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  15. Cathy says:

    simple brilliant!!

    Thank you very much Cathy, glad you enjoyed,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  16. Deb Scott says:

    I’m breathless, Elizabeth, and teary (riding the bus!) To read such a beautiful mosaic. And to read what you thought of the tent.

    We are all a fine bunch of poets. And I am so glad to have made your aquaintance, to have been moved by your beautiful words & work. My very best wishes for your poetry-filled life.

    Deb, what a beautiful choice of words: mosaic. I used to do them in high school and loved it, but also know the precison it takes to create one. Thank you for that. And yes, you are definitely right about our being a fine bunch of poets. We will miss the circus, but look forward to that fine kettle of fish you are brewing. Thank you for all the wonderful prompts and your constant encouragement and support. You and your co-horts set a fine example and did well by each of us, and may your future be blessed,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  17. irene says:

    This is utterly impressive. I’m drawn to stanza 3. And there it is again, in the final line. We could write a series using that line. Thunderous applause to you for the collaborative final tribute to Big Tent Poetry. *wolf whistle*

    She bows (very carefully), then asks, “A series? I’m game. First question: How many ways can you say Pray?” And do you think Mr. Walker would be willing to do a three way? Oh my, did I just say that? LOL. Email me, this could be very, very interesting. Distance and logistics alone are mind-boggling. But, the line itself would make an incredible title, don’t you think?

    Okay, now for the serious stuff. Thank you for the thunderous applause, and I don’t believe I’ve gotten a wolf whistle since I was thirty-two and in McDonald’s with a friend and all of our children with us. That’s really a perk! Big Tent has been a place, space for so many of us. And just think about it. Each of us has a written down copy of that experience. Wonderful. Glad you like the tribute, and I’m not joking about the series, it’s a great idea,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  18. Mr. Walker says:

    I’m back again. Sometimes I’m really dense. I didn’t notice on my first read what you did with the last line. Then I saw your reply to my comment and Irene’s comment above. (smack self on forehead) By the way, I liked your poem so much I came back to read it again; so glad I did. Thanks!

    Richard

    So, Richard, what do you think of the series idea? Three way strictly meaning collaboration, of course. I’ve already set out the first question, maybe you and Irene could each come up with another one? And we can see where it goes from there. And thanks for coming back and reading. I’ve been back to read your original poem several times. It never fails to fascinate and intrigue me. There is so much there.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  19. Kelly says:

    Elizabeth, this is so wonderful. Bravo for weaving all those lines and your own together so beautifully. The last stanza especially moved me.

    Thank you Kelly, I really appreciate your words.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  20. Kelly says:

    Elizabeth, I want you to know that after reading this poem I started to regret that I missed the boat with this week’s prompt. (I was super busy at work in the early part of the week and didn’t even check BTP until Thursday, so I posted an older poem written to a different prompt.) So I decided to go back and look at the offered lines and see what might come to me. Your line “I come to the sound of my own soul singing” immediately stirred me, and the words began pouring out. I hope you enjoy it (Weeding and Listening). Thank you!

    It’s beautiful Kelly and thank you so much for allowing my words to be your inspiration. That’s music to the poet’s heart and soul.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  21. Ellen says:

    Elizabeth,
    What a wonderful gift and great way to end on such a happy note! The lines are beautifully blurred into a vision of insight. I love the way it flows and the way you tweaked and aligned it. It is truly beautiful and offers so much; I read it 3 times(it is noisy in my home) I see something different each time. You have mastered an orchestra of soulful promises and the hope of alluding the invisible elephants we all face~ Great Job~

    Thank you so much Ellen, must confess I’ve read it several times as well and keep being surprised each time. Truly think I was guided to this one. So glad you enjoyed and I really like your Mirrors piece,

    Elizabeth

    Like

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