–with thanks to Jennifer Guyor Jowett for the Open Write invitation on Ethical ELA today. Jennifer writes of discovering the contrary form and its antonymic translation. She invited poets to take a poem we’ve written, or another we found, and use antonyms for various words within the poem to change the meaning.
Some time ago I wrote a pantoum. Today I tried its antonymic translation.
Here’s the pair of them:
You Are the Better One
You are the better one you chose to stay I walked away so much for responsibility
you chose to stay you, the free spirit so much for responsibility I chose my life
you, the free spirit but I know freedom isn’t free I chose my life when I ran from that hall of mirrors
but I know freedom isn’t free after the shattering when I ran from that hall of mirrors leaving the brokenness behind
after the shattering I walked away leaving the brokenness behind. You are the better one.
Smoke and Mirrors
You are not the better one because you chose to stay. I didn’t walk away from responsibility.
Because you chose to stay —you, the free spirit from responsibility— it wasn’t a choice for me.
You, the free spirit, never learning freedom isn’t free. It wasn’t a choice for me when I ran from that hall of mirrors
never learning freedom isn’t free before the shattering. When I ran from that hall of mirrors I broke only the brokenness.
Before the shattering I didn’t walk away. I broke only the brokenness. You are not the better one.
Karen Eastlund beckons fellow SJT writers with the phrase “I bind unto myself today…”
It’s the beginning of manyprayers compiled by the Northumbria Community in Celtic Daily Prayers. The phrase is also attributed to the Hymn of St. Patrick (see Cantica Sacra).Thank you, Karen, for the inspiration and blessing.
What prayer might I make, what claim might I stake, on these five words?What do I need to bind unto myself today, any day, every day?What do I hold most dear?What holds me?
It comes to me via pieces of Scripture—John 1:1-4, 6:63; Hebrews 12:2.
I bind unto myself today love of words the Word, in the beginning the Creator of all things
Love of words I bind unto myself today the Creator of all things speaking life
I bind unto myself today the Word made flesh, who dwelt among us speaking life the Author and Finisher of my faith
The Word made flesh, who dwelt among us the Word, in the beginning the Author and Finisher of my faith I bind unto myself today
When you first laughed your family stood surrounding you oh how sweet the sound
Your family stood filled with awe oh how sweet the sound of happy forevers beginning
Filled with awe we are your cloud of witnesses of happy forevers beginning on the last day of your first winter
We are your cloud of witnesses surrounding you on the last day of your first winter when you first laughed
Micah, here are your first laughs, captured on video. Your mom, dad, big sister, Grandpa, and I were all there to see it. Notice that the word “Happy” is on your onesie. I hope you know, someday, how much happiness you’ve brought to all of us. This actually occurred on the last day of winter. Your first spring has begun.A whole lifetime of love, blossoming…
You are a joy, sweet Micah-roon.
Love you forever.
with thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the Slice of Life Story Challenge every day in the month of March
Nothing shakes the smiling heart not loss, not fear, not pain the heart-smile shines ever bright even in the rain
Not loss, not fear, not pain despite tales of gloom and doom even in the rain the smiling heart does not consume
Despite tales of gloom and doom it needs no teeth, for the smiling heart does not consume while beating its joyful tune
It needs no teeth, for the heart-smile shines ever bright while beating its joyful tune —nothing shakes the smiling heart.
with thanks to Ruth at SOS-Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog for the Kalwar quote along with the invitation to consider a smile and write about it.Note that in addition to the usual definitions of ingesting, buying, using, etc., “consume” can also mean “perish.”
Little seabird with only one foot Standing perfectly balanced at the shore You’re so calm, so still Despite wind-ruffled feathers
Standing perfectly balanced at the shore You’re a picture of grace Despite wind-ruffled feathers For you aren’t alone
You’re a picture of grace Safeguarded, transcending For you aren’t alone Flanked by faithful friends keeping watch
Safeguarded, transcending You’re so calm, so still Flanked by faithful friends keeping watch Little seabird, with only one foot.
As best I can determine, this is a laughing gull, already wearing winter plumage. I thought it was merely standing on one leg before realizing the other foot was gone. I have since learned that such sightings are common: many gulls lose feet and legs when they become entangled in fishing nets while hunting for food. What you cannot see in this close-up are two fellow gulls standing nearby, looking in different directions like bodyguards. I was struck by the poignant poise of this little shorebird and the proximity of the others. Gulls are symbols of adaptability, resourcefulness, community, survival, and strength. Maybe even uncommon grace.
with thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge
Yesterday on Ethical ELA, host Kim Johnson invited poets to write mirror poems: “Find a poet whose work inspires you and write a mirror poem of your own by taking a root from a poet’s work and allowing it to breathe life into your own inspired creation. This may be in the form of a borrowed line, a repeating line, a section or stanza, or an entire poem…”
There are a couple of breathtaking lines I love at the end of Billy Collins’ poem, “Tuesday, June 4th, 1991” – he is writing about dawn coming and “offering a handful of birdsong and a small cup of light.”
For Day Eight of National Poetry Month, here’s my mirror of those last five words, in the form of a pantoum:
To My Granddaughter, Age 5 (with love from Franna)
a small cup of light scooped from ocean waves my sparkling little love dancing through my days
scooped from ocean waves my giggling water sprite dancing though my days now such a sleepy sight
my giggling water sprite goodnight, goodnight now such a sleepy sight to me you are, you are
goodnight, goodnight my sparkling little love to me you are, you are a small cup of light