Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 5

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 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.

On Thursday, February 2, I found myself on the third floor of Logue Library at Chestnut Hill College, for another session of the Installment Plan Poetry Marathon.

I have had to make an effort to get through this week. I have gotten overtired, I think, and the day before this session I made an emergency trip to the dentist for a broken tooth. Turned out I needed a crown; the prep work was done that afternoon, and so today I have a very sore jaw and face.

I had scheduled poetry writing today but I had to work to persuade myself to keep this appointment with myself. I did not have much patience or calm or even any thoughts of what I would do this morning! But, I got myself to the library and I count that a victory, whether anything I write is any good or not.

I set things up in the same carrel I used last week. I like this location – it’s light and airy, with the windows on two sides of me. And this section of the floor is a bit off the beaten path and it’s blessedly quiet.


My book companions included these volumes.

Partway along the floor is a caged-in section for student works – various theses and papers. I felt happy that they were considered valuable enough (and fragile, too, I think) to be kept in a special section, but I would have liked to thumb through some of them. Maybe sometime I’ll find out how to take a look inside the protected area.


OK. I looked over last week’s poems, in what is becoming my usual warmup method, and I took about an hour to get them to a finished shape. It is worth noting that a week’s rest from the poems really helps in giving me enough distance to see where their flaws are and to have the courage to take the XXXXXXX’s to them.

I ate my lunch as I did this work. I was the only person in the section and so no one could tell me not to, though I don’t think there is a prohibition against eating in the library. I tell you what, I won’t ask, and I’ll clean up after myself. Then I won’t be breaking any rules that I know of while also being responsible, and keeping my energy up for my work, too.

After lunch, I worked on just writing – I did all kinds of different things – haiku, Tanka, the 10-10-10-10-10 form I’ve been playing with, and just regular poems. My mind was still scattered and I can’t say today was one of my best sessions, but – I am here. Writing. That’s enough.


Here are two poems. The first one is the 10-10-10-10-10 form I have mentioned before. I like the mental challenge of the rhyme and the syllable scheme. But I’m not a natural rhymer, and it’s hard for me to get a rhythm I like and have a rhyme scheme, too.

My solution is – to write it out in the correct form, and then break the lines as I like them. That way, there is still the repetition of the rhyme and yet it seems more – me. See what you think.


Marching in the culinary parade
across my breakfast table
Its destination:
Wheat toast. Mine.
Knife blade
turned out
I struck
but in a quick evade
Jam hopped left. Hit the floor.
Ran. Escape made.


And here is a haiku. I was “inspired” by all the dusting I do at home in the winter, because the forced hot air system blows everything around…the noise of the heating system here at the library brought this topic to mind.


A slow fall of silent drops
A baked-dry rainstorm
Dust accumulates.


6 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 5

  1. Thank you. I think I have always thought objects and so on were alive in some kind of way since I was a child. I think now I’m just describing the world as it occurs to me. Sounds nuts but I really do have this outlook- the world is alive. !!!

  2. Thank you. I agree, sometimes it’s a matter of just showing up, otherwise, you never start and then… it’s over before you begin. I try to remind myself of this when I feel like I can’t get going…

  3. I applaud you to keep the date with yourself where everybody else would cancel. And I love the solution to 10-10-10-10-10: by breaking the lines it looks much less forced and indeed more you.

  4. Thank you. I know from experience that when I set myself a challenge to keep up, day after day or week or whatever, there is always that time when I hate the idea. Like going to the gym, sometimes, I am tired. But, if I get myself there, I feel better. I try to remember this. Also, I really need the discipline of a schedule now because otherwise all these other things get in the way. I really enjoy these sessions and it’s a little quiet island for me. So, I row my boat over the water to get there…!!!

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