Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 4

You may be familiar with my Poetry Marathons – I’ve done them since winter, 2015. I take a week, several times a year, and devote it to poetry – writing, editing, all poetry-related activities. This year, in addition to scheduling some of the regular long versions, I have decided to do one segment of a Marathon each week. Two to three hours set aside for poetry, outside my regular life. It’s called the Installment Plan Poetry Marathon.
For more background information, look here. And if you want to read previous posts in this series, search this blog under the term Installment Plan Poetry Marathon 2017.

Here we are already in Week 4. My husband’s leg injury is healing well, and so I was able to return to my original plan of working at Chestnut Hill College’s Logue Library. I went over to the school on Tuesday morning, January 24, and very happy I was to be able to do so – both for me, and for the fact that my husband is getting better.

After parking the car, I took a detour – I went over to the labyrinth, located behind the chapel.

I first visited this labyrinth a couple of years ago, during my Sunshine Project. Since then, I try to come here when I’m on campus. Today I thought that walking it might settle my spirit a bit, transition from home to the outside world, and help me get ready to concentrate. I stopped to read the explanation of the labyrinth’s purpose.


I was reminded that it is not a puzzle, as is a maze, but a circular event: the way in is the way out, the information said. Very reassuring, I thought – you know where you have been and so you can anticipate what lies ahead. You are not trapped by your experience.

OK. Back over to the library. I decided to set myself up on the third floor, in the stacks.


Gardening and medical ethics books were my companions.

I couldn’t get settled. So I walked around the floor a little. I examined these interesting-looking old books; turned out they were bound pamphlets from the past. The very much past – the pamphlets were from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I looked through one book, marveling at the feel of the soft old paper and running my finger over the lines of type, impressed in the page by a press rather than sprayed on as they are in today’s processes.

You may be wondering if I ever got to work, and the answer is, yes, I did. First I looked over the poems I had written from last session, made a few changes, and called them finished.

Next, I set myself to writing – in the intuitive manner I have used in each session of each Marathon. Sometimes I make notes of ideas and bring them to the Marathon, and some days I just – write. Today was one of the latter kind of days – I fell into a focused and calm mood, and for that I was very grateful.

After a while, I went on to my craze for a form I learned about from Jane Dougherty – five lines, 10 syllables each, rhyme at end of each line, all five together. Why this form appeals so much, I don’t know, but I’ll just ride this wave until it hits the beach, I have the feeling!

I’ll give you one poem from each part – first, from the intuitive writing section.


The men shout to each other
in the misty rain
as they unload the truck
the conversation
as good as a raincoat.

And here is the 10-10-10-10-10 poem:

Sidle up to the window. Lift a slat
-eye-level – in the blinds. You’d never chat
with your neighbors but you’re right up to bat
with spying. Curious as that killed cat.
Look, who’s that standing on next-door’s door mat?


9 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 4

  1. Your second poem took me right back to my childhood. When I started learning to write at length in school, aged about 5, I was encouraged to keep a journal for writing practice. I couldn’t be bothered making jottings about my day, however, so I turned it into a spy journal and kept tabs on neighbours and recorded my observations and my interpretation of what they were up to. If only I had them now!

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