Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 9

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 March 2, 2017, I took myself and my poetry-writing materials to Logue Library, Chestnut Hill College. It was a blustery day, very windy, and I’ll tell you now, I don’t like these very windy days. I find them very unsettling and almost threatening. I felt a little on edge, consequently, even though the day was beautifully sunny and not too cold.

When I got to the library, I decided to start off in a different room – the main reading room. It was very quiet at nine o’clock in the morning. I set up at the back of the room – here is a view from that position:


And a couple of other angles. I do like the airiness of this space.

Before I got to work, I walked around a little. I got interested in the busts placed here and there on the bookcases. I don’t know who they represent, but I have always found them an encouraging presence and so, here are a few closer up.

I also stopped by the dictionary on its stand. I usually take a look to see what word is at the top of the list today. Here it is, make of it whatever you like…

All right. I started off meaning to work as I usually do, reviewing last week’s work. But the wind was making its presence felt even in this solid stone building. I started to jot down some thoughts and ended up moving into writing. And then I just kept going. Some poems focused on the weather and others were just – from the weather inside my head!

Around lunchtime, I moved upstairs to the 3rd floor, to my regular spot. Glad to see my desk right where I left it. I had brought a small lunch to eat and I took a little time to walk around.


Looking out the window, I saw this picnic table. Maybe a good spot for lunch later on this year when the weather is warmer?


I returned to work, polishing poems from last week and going over some other things I had written during the last few weeks and set aside. The wind never let up and the 3rd floor was drafty today, but I settled into my work.

I also spent some time thinking over how grateful I am for the generosity of Chestnut Hill College in sharing its library with me. I have no connection with the college and they have no reason to welcome me, but they do, as with all members of the public. Being able to come here on a regular basis is important to me; I like familiarity and belonging, and it takes time to get to that point, time I am grateful the school has extended to me.

OK. Here are a couple of things I did today.

First, another 10-10-10-10-10/50 syllables-5 lines poem, the form I discovered at Jane Dougherty’s site a while back. I write the poem in the form and then I break it up so that it flows in a way I like. The rhyme makes itself felt but the focus is a little different. This system works for me.

How that wind blows. Slapped me with a headache
something fierce.
Think volcano or earthquake
Brain-sized version. No painkiller
will brake this tectonic upheaval.
No handshake.
No truce flag.
Retreat. Look for a windbreak.

And now, one that I wrote in my free-association (or wind-inspired) section of the day:

The metal casement that
worked itself loose long ago
now conspires with any gusty wind
for a duet of crescendo shrieks
falling into sudden off-tempo
silences that break themselves
without warning
into a barrage of high-pitched
accompanied by the gasps of the audience
A very successful performance
repeated often as a partner can be found
without stage-fright
and good lungs

OK. See you all next week, I hope. Thanks for reading.


18 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 9

  1. Both are really evocative and convey the power and sounds of a windy day such as today. I particularly like the metaphor of the brain sized earthquake or volcano.

  2. Thank you. I had a very vivid picture in my mind as to what these events might look like; soon as I thought the words I saw it. This is why I like to write, hoping this kind of thing can happen. Connections inside my head, and with the minds of other people.

  3. Thank you. I really hate these very strong winds that we get at times when the weather is changing. I feel pressed in and pursued. Even in the big solid stone library today the wind was loud and banging at the windows. Ugh.

  4. Yes, it is better to force yourself to focus on it, and you just can’t keep your attention on it, and next thing you know, you are elsewhere, mentally, and feeling better.

  5. If there was money to be made in controlling the elements, stopping flood tides, high winds and rainstorms, no doubt somebody would find a way of doing it.

  6. Most excellent. I can feel the wind and smirk at the “cash basis” and wonder how it will be sitting by that lovely outdoor table with you. Maybe one day I’ll write something while you are as well. 🙂

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