Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Day 26 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2017


In an interesting coincidence, 26 is the atomic number of iron, which intersects with my poem for today. But first the prompts.

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: "Have you ever heard someone wonder what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us? Today, I’d like to challenge you to answer that question in poetic form, exploring a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist? The object or site of study could be anything from a 'World’s Best Grandpa' coffee mug to a Pizza Hut, from a Pokemon poster to a cellphone."

Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: "write a regret poem. Most people regret some action they’ve taken over the years, whether it’s saying the wrong thing, making the wrong choice, or putting off something for a tomorrow that never comes. Write about your own regrets, or the regrets of others (this is a great opportunity to write a persona poem)."


Once again, Alan is first up today, first done. Interesting take on the prompts.

Artifacts

Preparing
an old truck
for trade-in,
I found lodged
in cushions
a small toy
a fast food
restaurant
had used for
promotion.

My kids were
at their stage
of changing;
not one had
unwrapped it
from plastic.

If I was
unthinking
or wanting
to keep them
small children,
this wrapped toy
reminds me
how time moves
through people
who mark it
in all their
surroundings.

Forgive my
distraction,
uncertain
of how to
dispose of
an object
remaining
beyond us
providing
some meaning,
contrasting
all children
we once were
or have been.

—Draft by Thomas Alan Holmes    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

As usual, I'm merging both prompts, taking on Maureen's suggestion of an alien archaeologist — someone from the star we call TRAPPIST-1, to be precise, though that doesn't matter in the poem.

Astro-Archaeologist’s Log

We have deciphered the script of the planet’s
inhabitants and learned they called their world
“Earth.” Some huge catastrophe, a holocaust,
as yet unknown, had evidently swirled

across the entire planet, killing all fauna
and flora. The ruling species may be found
dead on the long paths that crisscross the land,
sometimes with one brain, other times with none,

sometimes with three or more brains, all sizes.
These Earth creatures are metal-based, ferrous,
like us. They move as we do on round disks.
What I can’t grasp is how they are unlike us:

their brains could exist outside their bodies,
traveling — implausibly — on two long pods!
I regret we found this planet too late. I would
love to wheel with these beings on their roads.

—Draft by Vince Gotera    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

For those of you who are interested in poetic form, this poem uses four different kinds of quatrains — alternating, envelope, couplet, and monorhyme — admittedly slant-rhymed in a couple of places. I didn't set out to do that on purpose. I had started off writing a Shakespearean sonnet (though I "cheated" on the 2nd and 3rd quatrains) but found that the topic outgrew the 14-line space, needing just a couple more lines to bring in the notion of regret. But that gave me a little more room to clinch the irony of the poem and the archaeologist's understanding.


Friends, won’t you comment, please? Love to know what you’re thinking. To comment, look for a red line below that starts Posted by, then click once on the word comments in that line. If you don’t find the word “comments” in that line, then look for a blue link below that says Post a comment and click it once. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


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2 comments:

Bruce Niedt said...

Love this one, Vince. It reminds me a little of "The Martian Sends a Postcard Home" by Greg Raine: http://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/poems/a-martian-sends-a-postcard-home/

Vince Gotera said...

Thanks, Bruce. That's one of my favorite poems. Along with "In the Kalahari Desert" also by Craig Raine. https://www.poemhunter.com/best-poems/craig-raine/in-the-kalahari-desert/

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