Breath

by Lyn Crain

A breath

A tree crashes shatters the window.

the ground shudders with its weight.

The storm rages… rips every fragile

fragment of nature to shreds.

A  life is born, fighting to live

in a desperate struggle for air.

An old life shudders  a frenzied surrender

death claims his last gasp.

A breath

What once was …

Motivation Monday

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts. It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”

I’ve been working on poetry forms again. The focus I find is helping me rethink my word usage in my book. Writers are guilty of using extra verbiage that doesn’t add to the story.

I decided to give a Fib aka Fibonacci for short a try because of its rigid structure.

Form: Fibonacci~ 8 Lines~ Syllabic Structure: 1/1/2/3/5/8/13/21

In mathematics, the Fibonacci numbers are the numbers in the following integer sequence, called the Fibonacci sequence, and characterized by the fact that every number after the first two is the sum of the two preceding. Fib is an experimental Western poetry form, bearing similarities to haiku, but based on the Fibonacci sequence. That is, the typical fib and one version of the contemporary Western haiku both follow a strict structure. The typical fib is a six line, 20 syllable poem with a syllable count by line of 1/1/2/3/5/8 – with as many syllables per line as the line’s corresponding place in the Fibonacci sequence; the specific form of contemporary Western haiku uses three (or fewer) lines of no more than 17 syllables in total. The only restriction on a Fib is that the syllable count follows the Fibonacci sequence.

 

Barriers Aside

I

need
freedom
to take steps.
A bold move beyond
the usual path love follows.
I want no boundaries, no rules to confine my heart.
I wonder if you are the one to join me on this elusive passion-filled journey.

 

 

 

Getting Myself Prepped for NaNoWriMo

There are so many things to establish in the background to assure continuity in a book that hadn’t crossed my mind until I began this undertaking. It made me appreciate all the authors I’ve read in my lifetime. Wow!

I feel reasonably comfortable with my conflicts and my protagonist. I have several minor antagonists and one major one who will definitely make his handsome presence known. Putting pictures on my character trait list did help. I found looking at them and imagining how they would handle different complications enjoyable. Yesterday, I worked on my antagonist, oh he’s  handsome and dangerous. I looked at a lot of pictures of men before deciding I really like how Patrick Dempsey looked in all black, I could easily see him as my Thanatos.Thanatos1

Now, I’m working on an outline I’ll be comfortable working with over the next month. Who knew there would be so many different types– Snowflake, 3-point,  5-point, 8-points, traditional bullet point, Vogler’s, Campbell’s, pure summary, skeletal outlining, flashlight outlining, free writing, visual mapping, contextual prepping and of course all the different software for outlining. Yikes, it’s confusing.

I’ve been reading Vogler’s Writer’s Journey and Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Some days I feel like I read more than I write because it’s all part of the process of fine tuning my craft. And naturally, everyone has a different take on successful writing techniques.

My setting was pretty easy I’ve created a fictional town in Maine called Bayhollow, the next town over is a college town called Stone Lake with a university called Kampden University. There’s an active military base about 10 miles away in a town called Deadzone. All of these locations are very near the Canadian border.

On WDC they have prep challenge which thus far has kept me to the task which I’m finding helpful because it’s all new to me. Also, there’s the lingering dread 50,000 words hovering too. I find comfort in seeing familiar names pledged to do NaNoWriMo. Misery does love company.

I was reading Theresa’s blog this morning and thinking about how I overcome writing challenges. My go to is my camera when nothing else works. There is something about looking through the portal of small space that makes my muse happy. My perspective is different and very targeted.

The other day while I was creating my setting I had been gathering all the logistics like population, restaurants, and businesses. (world building) I took a break and caught up on reading blogs. Yes, I’m guilty of reading and not always leaving comments. But in this instance, Theresa had drawn a fence on a white background with shading to give the impression of winter or even a sandy beach. I took it as winter in my mind and I saw my protagonist breaking down on a back road and trodding along this seemingly endless fence. The timing was perfect for my muse because it sparked another opportunity for frustration in what seems like mountains on her journey to better her life. Thank you Theresa.

Another way I open my mind to writing is cutting the newspaper into shreds, readable shreds. I grab random titles and move them around I create a poem or a line that fits perfectly in what I’m working on that may have never crossed my mind.

 

The first poem could easily be part of a conversation my protagonist has and the second could be a fearful moment added to the scene in the cemetery.  Muses work in interesting ways as Barber Adagio for Strings by the London Philharmonic Orchestra plays in the background.

I do enjoy having dark classical playing in the background. What can I say my muse is a bit twisted.

My compost bin enjoys all the snippets of paper when I’m done so everything has a purpose if you open yourself to the possibilities.

Spending time with Poe

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”

A Dream is one of the countless poems Poe has written, a poem that contains imagery, symbolism, and a profound theme that explains how a dream can cause hope as well as sorrow. My attraction to Poe has always been because of the dark topics he focused his work on. Last year I shared my very favorite Annabel Lee and also the Raven. Anyone that reads poetry is familiar with the Raven, it’s a classic. But if asked are they familiar with some of his other great poems probably not. I hope you enjoy reading some of his less known works as much as I do.

A Dream Within a Dream  by Edgar Allen Poe
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”~Poe

In the first stanza, “In visions of the dark knight, I have dreamed of joy departed- But a waking dream of life and light, Hath left me broken-hearted.” Poe relates his feelings about his desire and the sorrow felt. Poe’s intention was to show how a dream may be the only hope you have, but it is only a lie in reality. Another example is “Ah! what is not a dream by day, To him whose eyes are cast… Hath cheered me as a lovely beam. Poe is talking to himself about his confusions and emotions when having a dream in the middle of a horrible life he is living in. He wrote the poem in his perspective, and we know this by the figurative language he used to show intimacy. The poem discusses motivation, anxiety, and the false hope you get when dreaming, only to wake up knowing it was never true. It is still very relatable today.
He uses literary devices such as metaphor, simile, personification, symbolism, imagery, and others to show a deeper understanding of dreams and the dynamic but deceitful images that they show us. These devices are fundamental to the development and creation and allow Poe to expand his ideas to a greater extent.

To One in Paradise by Edgar Allen Poe

Thou wast that all to me, love,
For which my soul did pine–
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.
Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the Future cries,
“On! on!”–but o’er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast!

For, alas! alas! with me
The light of Life is o’er!
“No more–no more–no more”–
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,
Or the stricken eagle soar!

And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy dark eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams–
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams!

Alas! for that accursed time
They bore thee o’er the billow,
From love to titled age and crime,
And an unholy pillow!
From me, and from our misty clime,
Where weeps the silver willow!

“We loved with a love that was more than love.”~Poe

Poe’s sad poem, To One in Paradise, deals with the loss of a significant other something most of us are familiar with or will be.  The narrator says that love between he and the lady was all he ever wanted. He compares the object of his affection to various tangible elements in life. He feels that the love he and the woman shared was too good to last; now his one, true love affair is over, fallen victim to the grave. He is so distraught that he assures the reader that even nature will echo his pain. He was a dead man walking, miserable and alone. In this, we see how the universal love and death theme applies.

 

 

Quote About the Purpose of Poetry

Arc by Mike Green is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.W.S.Merwin says it the best,  “I think there’s a kind of desperate hope built into poetry now that one really wants, hopelessly, to save the world. One is trying to say everything that can be said for the things that one loves while there’s still time. I think that’s a social role, don’t you? …We keep expressing our anger and our love, and we hope, hopelessly perhaps, that it will have some effect.”

Inspiration Sunday

Poetry is:

huggingwordslyn

  • Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes. ― Joseph Roux
  •   Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. ― Leonard Cohen
  • Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful. – Rita Dove
  • Poetry is an act of peace. – Pablo Neruda
  • Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood. – T.S. Eliot
  • To be a poet is a condition, not a profession. – Robert Frost
  • Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. – Leonardo da Vinci
  • A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language. ― W.H. Auden
  • The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness. ― Christopher Morley

Inside a Poet’s Mind

 

back-porch-2What is beautiful is easily lost

among my rambled thoughts

as I sit on the porch,

sipping my hot coffee

 waiting and watching.

  I study all the made up faces

from a bad dream glooming salon

 all futile reminders of the chasms

on the pages, I know exist but lie

on an altar dignifying the God of chance

as if it were some kind of wonder

in this poet’s mind.

I attempted a cento which is using lines from different poets work to create a poem of my own. Cento is a latin word that means patchwork. Homer and Virgil were famous for this style of poetry.

I studied all the made up faces ~ Toast by Leonard Nathan

What is beautiful is easily lost ~  The Altar  by Charles Simic

An altar dignifying the God of chance~  The Altar  by Charles Simic

from a bad dream glooming salon ~  The Altar  by Charles Simic

as if it were some kind of wonder ~  A Spiral Notebook by Ted Koser

Author Connection 4

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” ~Carl Sandburg

What is free verse poetry?  The Poet’s Cookbook says free verse does not use consistent meter patterns, rhyme, or any other musical pattern.[i] In fact, most slam or spoken word poetry from the past thirty or more years is free verse. Many poems composed in free verse tend to follow the rhythm of natural speech. Although free verse requires no meter, rhyme, or other traditional poetic techniques, a poet can still use them to create some sense of structure. A poet knows when to use certain phrases and comma to create rhythm and structure. The exact definition is written by the poet although T. S. Eliot wrote, “No verse is free for the man who wants to do a good job”

Free verse poetry has become the favored form for new and experienced poets alike. Free verse may be written as very beautiful prose; prose may be written as very beautiful free verse. If you consider the Bible, there are passages written that flow naturally with a poetic cadence and no visible sign of structure which indicates to me that free verse has existed longer than we’ve realized.

I feel free verse provides me a sense of freedom to create without the confines found in traditional poetry. I frequently write free verse although my goal this year is to master sonnets and villanelles because every artist needs to continually improve their skill set. Robert Frost remarked that writing free verse was like “playing tennis without a net.” The thrill of no net appeals to most free spirits. Whereas William Carlos Williams states “poetry is art form, and therefore verse cannot be free in the sense of having no limitations or guiding principles” I think poets like Charles Bukowski, Walt Whitman, and Ezra Pound, who were masters at free verse poetry and would disagree with Mr. Williams. Many poets today still disagree on the value of having structure versus having no structure. Although we can all agree with Maya Angelou statement “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes a human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”

I’ve chosen four selections of free verse that I enjoy and one of my own so you can see how the different poets approached free verse.

Finish and Cause and Effect are written by Charles Bukowski [ii]

Finish

We are like roses that have never bothered to

bloom when we should have bloomed and

it is as if

the sun has become disgusted with

waiting

Cause And Effect

the best often die by their own hand

just to get away,

and those left behind

can never quite understand

why anybody

would ever want to

get away

from

them

O Captain My Captain by Walt Whitman [iii]

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.

O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up- for you the flag is flung- for

you the bugle trills,

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths- for you the shores

a-crowding,

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here Captain! dear father!

This arm beneath your head!

It is some dream that on the deck,

You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,

The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

Exult O shores, and ring O bells!

But I with mournful tread,

Walk the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

Tame Cat by Ezra Pound [iv]

It rests me to be among beautiful women

Why should one always lie about such matters?

I repeat:

It rests me to converse with beautiful women

Even though we talk nothing but nonsense,

The purring of the invisible antennaeIs

both stimulating and delightful.

Our Eyes Meet by Lyn Crain [i]
The warm, afternoon sun trickles through the tree branches.
As I amble along the worn trodden path
our eyes meet, when I look her way.
I ask if I may join her, she nods yes.
Taken off guard as a rush of heat rises to my face
by this beautiful, enchanting woman before me.
Her short shiny blonde hair against her golden skin-
sparkling blue eyes with an irresistible smile.
Her curvaceous body dressed provocatively-
a blithe smile slowly widens as we converse.
I am curious what made her cheeks suddenly flush,
and her azure eyes darken and smolder.
The minx suggestively teases me as
her tongue slowly slips across her pink lips.
I sense there is a passionate woman hiding within.
Her beautiful blue eyes twinkle with mischief reveal
a more intimate side in her nature.
Her mysterious aura enthralls and seduces me
breaking down every barrier, melting my soul.
Her lascivious laughter lifts my troubled spirit and
captivates my heart with her bubbly carefree nature.
I smile as I gaze once more into her sparkling eyes.
My breath suddenly ragged with desire.
Her gentle touch setting my blood aflame.
As we stroll along the now dew covered path
fingers intertwined, not a word spoken.
The sensual magic of a new love unfolding
as our eyes lock once more…

[i] The Poet’s Cookbook by Dan Gilbert

[ii] https://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poems/short/charles_bukowski

[iii] https://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poem/o_captain_my_captain_198

[iv] https://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poem/tame_cat_14985

[v]  Our Eyes Meet was written for Victor Crain, my best friend, my husband.

T.S.Eliot

I love his poetry. I’m particularly fond of Macavity, The Mysterious Cat. We named our youngest tabby cat Macavity because like Eliot’s cat in the poem whenever things happen he is nowhere to be seen.This beauty with the golden eyes is our baby.img_2115-2

https://allpoetry.com/Macavity:-The-Mystery-Cat

I adore Eliot’s writing. His grasp of poetry and it’s purpose in society is sheer brilliance. I’ve chosen a few quotes that define poetry’s role for a poet like me.

“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.”

“Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.”
My own poetry frequently is an escape from the person I am inside. Years and years of being one person to survive and another that loves creative expression and the musical flow of language but had to keep it secret writing gave me to a way to put all the jumbled emotions into perspective.

Author Connection Series 2

How can we keep poetry alive?

W.S. Merwin says,” Poetry reconnects us to the world.”

Poets are not published by the big publishing houses like they once were. It is harder than ever to break into the publishing arena.

We really are a small community and the more we support each other in our art the more we can promote poetry.

“Separate we come, and separate we go, and this be it known, is all that we know.”
~ Conrad Aiken.

I disagree because I believe together we can find a common ground. Reading one’s poetry helps writers fine tune their skills.  It also helps writers working in other genres develop their narrative and imagery.

It can be hard to step outside our little box of words but collaborating with other writers sparks new ideas. The rewards of working together go far beyond reaching new audiences because it challenges the author to approach their medium differently.

“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.”
~ Charles Bukowski

However, the search for genius can involve a group effort.  Think of the Algonquin Table or Hemingway’s drinking with his buddies.  These discussions weren’t accidents but provided value to those who participated.  That’s why they kept happening.

Look at a poem for a minute and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is it free verse?
  2. Is it structured in a specific form?
  3. Is there a specific pattern?
  4. Rhyme or non-rhyming?
  5. Is there a music of repeating sounds?
  6. Do the stanza breaks feel natural? Can you sense the energy of the poem?
  7. Is there a natural cadence when you read?
  8. When do the subject matter and the narrative arc?
  9. What part of the poem appealed to you most?
  10. What discoveries did you make in the text?
  11. Did the author rely on strong nouns and verbs or did they use adjectives and adverbs to create imagery?
  12. Did the title and the verse connect for you?
  13. Consider the different pauses when you read it out loud? Is it the same if someone else reads the same work out loud? Is there a crescendos, accents, or flexibility in the pauses?
  14. Is there an emotional tone of the poem? A shiver affect?
  15. What kind of insights or information could be revealed if a different speaker? Would it serve the poem better?
  16. Are there cliques? Words that jump out at you from other poems?
  17. How does this poem contribute to the overall conversation in the poetry world?

As writers, we need to develop our art to reach its full potential in this ever-changing world.

 

“For when ideas flutter in haze, we collaborate without notice and collect them as butterflies only to set them free into the world.”
Shawn Lukas

[i] https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/w-s-merwin

[ii] http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/conrad_aiken/quotes

[iii]http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/charles_bukowski/quotes

[iv]https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/collaboration?page=2