Thursday, April 8, 2021

Day Eight ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2021


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “For today's prompt, write a metaphor poem. A simile is when something is like something else (example: I am like a tree); a metaphor is when something is something else (example: I am a tree). So take a moment to consider possible metaphors and then poem them out.”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo  prompt today suggests a “poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead” in the mode of “Edgar Lee Masters’ eminently creepy 1915 book Spoon River Anthology. . . . the monologue doesn’t have to be a recounting of the person’s whole life, but could be a fictional remembering of some important moment, or statement of purpose or philosophy.”


Alan followed both prompts today:

Pachydermata

My grandmother told me a story
about an elephant’s encounter with blind men
who had never even imagined an elephant
and groped around it, exclaiming,
“The elephant is like a snake!”
“The elephant is like a spear!”
“The elephant is like a wall!”
“The elephant is like a tree trunk!”
“The elephant is like a rope!”
So, when the empowered decided
they needed the right somebody
to bring about some vague good
they could scarcely envision,
they blindly selected me, some body
who looked the part of what
they imagined they saw, instead
of probing my meager achievements
and even lesser qualifications.
I am the elephant in reverse,
or, worse, the one greatest
beneficiary of an office
I cannot see to direct,
the elephant turned inside out.

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

Thanks, Alan. I have heard that story before in differing variants but had not envisioned this ending.


My poem today is inspired by ‘Oumuamua, a large cigar-shaped object from outer space between the stars that dipped into the solar system, passing relatively close to planets, including the earth, in 2017. It moved away very quickly before we could study it as in-depth as we might have liked, I believe. Below the poem is an artist's conception of what ‘Oumuamua may look like.

The poem is a triolet, my first where I have kept the repeating lines identical; often I alter them slightly for a difference in meaning. The poem certainly arises from the Thorson prompt. It may also be a metaphor poem as suggested by Brewer, but I had no specific metaphor in mind. I would love to hear from readers who find a metaphorical reading; please comment below.

Space Pilot
‘Oumuamua is the first known interstellar object detected
passing through the Solar System [in] 2017.
(Wikipedia)
Though I am, technically, already dead,
The ship wakes me when we are near something.
It electroshocks my body, reboots my head,
Though I am, technically, already dead.
The ship has repaired my body for nine hundred
Years with parts from machines meant for signaling.
Though I am, technically, already dead,
The ship wakes me when we are near something.

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

Image Credit: M. Kornmesser / Southern European Observatory


Friends, won’t you comment, please? Love to know what you’re thinking. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


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2 comments:

Bruce Niedt said...

I don't see an obvious metaphor, Vince, but no matter - it's effectively eerie, even haunting, a kind of cyborg "space ghost." The image is eerie too - reminds me of that interstellar probe looking for whales in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. This would be a good poem for Star*Line.
As for Alan's poem, I really liked that too. A GOP metaphor? If so, I'm not sure whom he is referencing who may be deceased, although I can think of someone who would fit the description who is still (unfortunately) alive.

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