Sunday, April 9, 2017

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


Day Nine. A novena of poems. Triple triple. Number nine . . . number nine . . . number nine . . . (You might need a little bit of age, some mileage, to get that last allusion.)

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “Because today is the ninth day of NaPoWriMo, I’d like to challenge you to write a nine-line poem.”

Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “Take the phrase ‘So (blank),’ replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles could include: ‘So Cool,’ ‘So Stupid,’ ‘So Not What I Would’ve Done,’ ‘So Sweet,’ or so many other possibilities.”

Today’s poem comes straight out of my morning playing bass at church. Well, church more than bass. Nine lines, yes, but I up the ante a bit . . . each line has nine syllables.

So It’s Palm Sunday Again

When I was a kid at Saint Agnes
in San Francisco, on Palm Sunday
we would weave crosses from our palm leaves,
just long dried sprigs, almost like flat sticks.
You were supposed to keep them a year
till next Palm Sunday, and then burn them.
Today in church, the kids got green leaves,
soft and pliable. I found I yearned
for stiff blades of palm. Sweet memories.

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

Looking online for a photo illustration, I learned something, or maybe re-learned it: the previous year’s Palm Sunday palms are burned to make the ash used on Ash Wednesday. I’m pretty certain I didn’t know that as a child, and thought you were supposed simply to burn the old palms. In other words, a ritual way to dispose of them, though frankly they probably just went in the trash. Turns out you’re actually supposed to bring them back to church at a given date early in the year, February something, so they can be burned for Ash Wednesday. I probably learned that as an adult but had forgotten it and so the poem is true to my memories, to my childhood.

Alan’s poem today is a Spenserian stanza, a nine-liner in English heroic meter (iambic pentameter) except for the last line in French heroic meter, an alexandrine (six feet or hexameter). The form’s rhyme scheme is ababbcbcc. Alan ups the ante too by having his c rhyme (-ing) occur three times in line 9. Actually, I notice that he also does it in line 6: imagining, finger, string. You rock, buddy!

So Far Away

To lie and listen to a radio
and not a phone, aware the sound would pass
into the hall where others heard, would know
and even overhear, to sit in class
and say the lyrics underneath my breath,
imagining each finger on a string,
and risk a ridicule that’s worse than death
for deskbound dreamers, I had what songs bring
as Carole King would sing, Mark Knopfler play and sing.

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

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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5 comments:

Bruce Niedt said...

Nice one, Vince. I used a "new" form from the list that Maureen linked on her blog, but I also have done the nine-line, nine-syllable form. I mention on the blog that I emulated Donald Hall with a long poem about my life as a baseball fan in the "nines" form. It's called "Nine Innings" (9 stanzas of 9 lines each, 9 syllables per line - it's one of the longest poems I've written). It's in my latest chapbook and was published in Spitball, the literary baseball magazine.

Bruce Niedt said...

P.S.: I liked Alan's sonnet a lot - he gets bonus points from me for name-checking Carole King and Mark Knopfler.

Vince Gotera said...

Thanks, Bruce. I think that Spenserian stanza Alan used might be harder than a sonnet. I think he'll like your comment. I'm coming over to your blog now to look at your nines!

Vince Gotera said...

Alan, if you happen to see this, meet my friend Bruce. And if you have a couple minutes, check out his poem today ... https://bniedt.blogspot.com/2017/04/pad-day-9.html.

Vince Gotera said...

Oops. Here's a link to Bruce's Orangepeel post today, Alan.

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