Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 10

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 9, I arrived at Chestnut Hill College with the idea of working in the library. As I drove in, I thought the place looked a bit underpopulated, even for how early it was, eight AM. The library doors were locked. I looked at the sign posted: 9 AM. Hmmm, I thought – usually it’s eight. Then I realized – it must be spring break.

With an hour to spend, I went over to the labyrinth and did a circuit.

On my way back I noticed this door in a tower, part of the chapel. It’s curved, to fit the tower’s curve. Now I think that is just great, how the designer of the building made sure to have all the details fit into each other.

The morning was mild and I sat down on the terrace of Fournier Hall, next to the library. I got out my sketchbook and did a picture of my view of the library.

By the time I finished, the library was open. In I went. Sure enough, it was spring break, the librarian told me. I was almost gleeful at the idea of having the place to myself. Such beautiful quiet!

I went up to my 3rd floor spot and set things up.

Today I changed my routine a bit. I’m still immersed in my fascination with Jane Dougherty’s 10-10-10-10-10/5 lines poems and I decided to work on a couple of them first. Then I reviewed my work from last week. That took me up to lunchtime and my peanut butter sandwich.

Refueled, I worked on some intuitive poem-writing. I did a couple, and then I decided to work on an idea I’d had. Before I left home this morning I snapped a couple of photos of small 6”x6” paintings I have been working on recently.

I thought I’d see if they gave me any ideas – for either haiku or tanka. Peering at my tiny images on my phone, I was pleasantly surprised – either they were truly inspirational or I was in a haiku/tanka mood.

Here are a couple of items from today. First, one of the “regular” poems.

The storm knocked the branch off the tree
leaving it lopsided and
with a big jagged piece torn out of its trunk
split right down through its heart
and yet the tree stands there
Leafing out.

Here is one of the 10-10-10-10-10 poems. Remember, I write them in the format and then revise the line breaks to suit myself. Kind of a hybrid form, I guess; my personal version.

Find a party dress. Slap on some lipstick
and teetery high heels. It’s terrific –
The high spirits, the grab-at-the-magic
of a night out. Quick
Drink it in.
So often things turn slapstick.

And here are some of the haiku/tanka inspired by the paintings. I’ll show you a-d; the paintings were referred to in the order of top row, then bottom row.

The day has turned hot
ketchup and mustard colors
shimmer in the air
I need a drink of water
to get through the afternoon

Feet set in the earth
our small group knows all its thoughts
and what to ask for.

We sleep and we wake
always before us the view
we have loved so long.

Fill the empty bowl
with the day-in-day-out sight
of protecting trees.

As I worked today, the sun was shining but the wind was rising. We are in for a spell of wintery weather, a last bit of it, I hope, before spring sets in for good. Thank you for reading.


16 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 10

  1. They were closed a couple of days, but then the rest of the week they are there, with shorter hours. It was really wonderful to be almost alone in the building, I will say that!

  2. I am glad you had such a gloriously sunshiney, warm day for finding yourself locked out of the library. Can you believe the temperature is going to drop so far after a day like today? Maybe you can having lived in this area longer than I have. The fluctuations still surprise me. I am glad you had such a productive session. My favourites are the first poem about the endurance of the tree and the one of the bowl being filled with the view of trees.

  3. OMG, I had no idea. These are great! And thanks for what you said about the marathon. I’m enjoying doing things this way. I’m starting to get into a routine and now it’s part of my schedule that I depend on being there for, no matter what else happens.

  4. What you do is inspiring. A reminder of the commitment it takes! The fairy doors are great hey? I’m going to make one for where I live. There’s a spot in the garden, next to a wooden fence that I’m developing with the hope fairies will move in. They’d love their own door I’m sure!

  5. Thank you. I’m glad to have set a schedule for myself. It keeps me doing it, even when I don’t really feel like it. And once I start, things get better. As for the fairy door, I was thinking the same thing, where could I put one here at my house?

  6. Thank you. I was really kind of aimless in my thinking the day of this installment and when I saw these little paintings sitting on my table drying out, the arrangement struck me as something to be put into words. It turned out to be a lot of fun, I’m glad I did it.

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