Saturday, April 8, 2017

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


“Day Eight” . . . long-A (ā) assonance, right there. Ain’t prosody grand?

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “Write a poem that relies on repetition. It can be repetition of a phrase, or just a word. Need a couple of examples? Try ‘The Bells‘ by Edgar Allan Poe, or Joy Harjo’s ‘She Had Some Horses.’

Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “Write a panic poem. There are any number of things a person can panic about, including severe weather, military invasions, or what to wear to an event. And while some may be more life or death than others, that feeling of panic is just as real for a person who has to get up and speak in front of a crowd of smiling strangers as it is for a person hiding in the basement of their house as a tornado approaches.”

At the moment I'm writing this paragraph, it's a quarter to eight on Saturday morning. And I found out just now that Alan had already sent me his poem, in fact, an hour and a half ago. Bravo, Alan! Here is his set-up for us this morning:

“As Emily Dickinson writes, ‘After great pain, a formal feeling comes.‘ I am responding to the prompts, but rather than focus on the panic recommended by Brewer, I write about resolve in panic’s wake; taking Thorson’s prompt of repetition, I have incorporated anaphora.”

Inauguration Poem 2017

Today we put your name on everything.

Today we tweak a definition,
take a word that once meant
“get the better of” and see
its connotation embodied
by a person who in every way
was less than his opponent
take the title for an office
he cannot fulfill, convert
the ultimate public service
into continual tribute
as he laves largesse
on the wealthy, on the worldly ones
he thinks are worthy winners,
following a philosophy he cannot understand
expressed in books he has never read
to resurrect an idealized way of life
that has never existed.

Today we put your name on everything.

Today we put one name aside,
for now, and cannot call
ourselves “United States”
but have to say “America,”
a selfish name, a name
ignoring those who share
our hemisphere and borders,
all America, all America,
and never us alone except
in narrow fisheye vision,
cropped in scope
but magnifying one core spot
with unrelenting focus.

Today we put your name on everything.

On every magazine we’ll see your name.
On every telecast we’ll see your name.
In every conversation we’ll hear your name.
In every confrontation we’ll hear your name.
In every institution we’ll hear your name:
“The Trump White House,” “The Trump
Supreme Court,” “The Trump Doctrine,”
“The Trump Administration,”
“The Trump Offensive,” “The Trump Casualties,”
“The Trump Toxicity,” “The Trump Hearings,”
“The Trump Indictment,” “The Trump Recession,”
“The Trump Depression,” “The Trump Bankruptcy,”
“Trumpgate,” “The Trump/Russia Connection,”
“The Trump Scandal,” “The Trump Impeachment,”
“The Trump Legacy,” “The Post-Trump America.”
We remain anxious for “The Post-Trump America.”

Today we put your name on everything.

When we see a new distrust among our working relationships,
when we find we do not enjoy the company of some of our once-close friends,
when we come to realize that we did not understand some of our family at all,
when we see everyday failure of character,
when we challenge capacity for compassion,
when our empathy struggles to sustain itself as it once could,
you will be in our thoughts.

Today we put your name on everything.

When we hear the evangelicals refer to you as an agent of God,
when we hear our former fellow congregants assure us of your godliness,
when we hear our estranged elders say that you’ve repented and earned grace,
when we hear our laypeople explain they’ve “won,”
we will not understand.

Today we put your name on everything.

When you share with us on Thanksgiving your platitudes of gratitude,
when you offer us Christmas greetings,
when you select a media-immersive church for Easter service,
when you invite us to celebrate Independence Day,
when you call Columbus the first great American,
when you lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier,
we will not think of those days the same again.

Today we put your name on everything.

When families separate, we will name you,
when families are kept apart, we will name you,
when sick and hurt cannot get care, we will name you,
when innocents are brutalized, we will name you,
when we fight,
when we bleed,
when we lose,
when the world contracts and segregates,
we will name you.
When we speak up,
when we stand,
when we resist,
when we resist,
when we resist,
we will name you.

Today we put your name on everything.

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

Thank you, Alan. A strong, brave poem that I'm sure you wish you had not had to write. The different repetitions, various anaphoras, you employ are indeed powerful. Thank you.

Here’s my poem for the day. Not as powerful a poem as Alan’s; mine may not be a poem at all. The word “panic” occurs in the title but a different feeling came into the poem and I went with it rather than forcing the poem into a posture of panic. Like Alan, I also used anaphora as my repetition.

Keep Calm, Don’t Panic

Yesterday, Republican Senators
banged Thor’s hammer down,
the nuclear gavel that changed
how the Supreme Court will live on.

Yesterday, so-called President
Trump banged his hammer down
on a Syrian airbase in punishment
of Assad's chemical attacks.

Yesterday, 100-year-old —
or older — rules were ruined
and our nation likely became
an international scofflaw.

Yesterday, a progressive friend
told me “It had to be done”
and I wondered how much
the world and we have altered.

Yesterday, for many people,
was just another day, but
are we now on a slippery slope
to global fire and brimstone.

Yesterday may be, in some
not-too-distant time, called
the day that derelicted,
damaged, doomed tomorrow.
             

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

I’m tired today, friends. And I don’t mean physically. But we must resist, and I hope that poem contributes to the resistance. Certainly Alan’s poem does.


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:

rivrvlogr said...

I enjoyed both of these. It's a slippery slope that brought us to this point, and, unfortunately, there's more to come.

Vince Gotera said...

Thanks, rivrlogr. Hang on!

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