For the poetry class we have recently being doing exercises to consider the use of imagery, form and character. I don’t think that this has produced any great poetry by me but the exercises have been well worth the time and effort. I think my poetry will be improved considerably b y flexing muscles that are ususally neglected.

The Character Poem was first : The exercise was to choose a character (any character) and make it/her/him the speaker of the poem. This was not as easy as it may sound. Anyway here is my character poem:

Leader Says

My beautiful home, a jewel sparkling in the Indian Ocean,
Is under attack.
I will do my best to defend her and fly with the
Freedom Birds.
I will make my mamma proud and follow her
Eminent example.
Maybe one day I will also be a
Victorious Tiger.
I will avenge the deaths of my glorious comrades
Reverent rage.

Leader says,
Always we will maintain our
Magnificent Iranapali.
Never shall we submit to the oppressors
Wicked demands.
Always will we train tenaciously
Perfect performance.
Leader says.

Leader says,
Today we speed in stealth and skill to the
Traitors’ hole!
Informers hover and hide, squirming in their
Snake’s sanctuary!
We will wrest them righteously from their
Liars lair!
Leader says.

It is one full year since she took from me my
Timber toy,
And safe by my side sits my sure and steady
Warrior’s weapon,
Bouncing on my bruises and scraping my
Salmon scars;
My constant companion and keeper of my
Crying conscience.

Leader says,
Today is my name day; I am twelve years old:
Majestic muliebrity.
Today I will get a promotion for my valor:
Fearless fortitude.
Today my mission will be a towering triumph:
Bona fide bloodshed.
Today I will receive ice cream to celebrate:
Brilliant birthday.
Leader says.

Now I pray to the gods for freedom from
Foreboding Fear.
Now I hope to the heavens for blindness to
Cowering children.
Now I cry to the night to spare me from
Death filled Dreams.
Now I look to my lionhearted leader
Commanding courage.

Leader says,
Soon I take up my privileged place:
Steadfast soldier.
Now I dream hopelessly of simple gifts
Aromatic Acacia.

Leader says,
Now I listen attentively to ensure my
Comrades’ conquest.
Now I hear the words and obey what my
Leader says.

Next was imagery– we were to pick an object and write short imagery based exercises using it with the example of Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens

I chose to use an elementary school form of didactic cinquain for my exercises to keep them short because I tend to ramble….

Reflections on a Mirror

I
Mirror
Mysterious, judicious,
Telling, persuading, warning
The fairest still another?
Soothsayer.

II
Mirror
Merry, burlesque.
Warping, stretching, squashing,
Fairground joker sporting mockery.
Distorter.

III
Mirror
Candid, Courteous,
Gleaming, dreaming, praising.
Sweetest youthful fresh-faced maiden.
Flatterer

IV
Mirror
Loyal, bright
Winking, flashing, beckoning
Save soldier hiding: message.
Communicator.

V
Mirror
Steamed, clammy
Blurring, misting, dripping.
Shaving foam erupts volcano.
Imitator.

VI
Mirror
Capricious, hurtful,
scheming, gathering, puckering.
Furrowed forties fading fast.
Traitor.

We were told we could expand upon the exercises or completely change our subject for an imagery based poem; the idea was to use the five senses in the poem:

Basic Training

What made me do this? It’s bloody freezing!

Ugh! The smell of that damp musty earth
Is chilling me even closer to the bone.
My nose is so sore and this infernal dripping
Is hardening the muffler, scratching my chafed chin.

I can see the road from my ditch!
The flashing headlamps intermittent.
It’s wrecking my night vision. Bugger!
Now all I can see are blazing orbs of yellow.

This camo is so thin! It’s wet! I can feel
The Burning prickle of hives welting
On my thighs and on my belly. Feel That!
Slab cold, tingling, itching, screaming!

Here’s the next car coming now.
I bet its some lucky bugger going home!
He’ll snuggle with his lover by a roaring fire
and snort a huge plate of lovely chips and drink some wine.

That’s right torture yourself some more…

Oh! We’re moving. Hang on!
It’s so bloody dark! What was I thinking?
This is no place for a girl. I should be
Getting ready to go out,

Not stumbling across the Downs,
Blisters fretting, raw against the
Leather of these bloody clumsy boots —
Not clutching this damned rifle against my breast!

I know I’ll lose that spare magazine!!

Oh we’re stopping here! Another wood?
Take a knee private. By this ‘ere tree private.
“Yes Sgt!” — Jumped up cocky bastard.
Where the hell is everyone? I can’t see a thing!

God! It’s been hours. Are the others still there?
I should call out. I know that git will jump
All over me if I do, and he hears me!
No I’ll just wait a little bit longer…

That whipping wind is lashing me!
It’s s-so d-damned c-cold. N-numb.
Wh-Who’s there? Great! I’m seeing things!
I hope I didn’t fall asleep. I didn’t did I?

I should ch-check they’re all s-still there.
What’s that? Something moved.
I know it did. There’s nothing now though…
Just yawning, gaping darkness and the waving trees.

I w-ish I w-was back in that d-ditch
At least it was out of the w-wind.
H-how much longer? Private. Moving out.
Pick up the rear! Look lively lass! Gotta long way to go!


Then last week we were studying form and I had no idea that there are so many! I chose to do short forms and practice reigning myself in because I have trouble with brevity. Here are the forms I chose and the poems — not that impressed with them to be honest:

1) Haiku


The Gun

Point to hopeless thought.
Echoes ringing dispatch swift.
Fast held. Future ends.

2) Rhyme Royal

Christmas Eve

Snow falling simply, softly veils the day,
But crisply calls the step toward the door.
The jingle ring announces Santa’s sleigh,
And echoes o’er the valley and the moor;
The children hanging thrilled to the lore.
Youth will hang her sweet berries overhead
And drape her hopeful stocking from the bed.

3) Tanaga

Impossible Task

Time floats away without cares.
Burden my spirit ensnares.
Deadline unreachable glares.
Heavenward sending my prayers!

4) Ghazal

Eternity

Coming from end to beginning and back; eternity
Rolling out years beyond mortal track; eternity.

Time forced to wait in crude, sullen hallways calls
Instance and greed and we all patience lack; eternity

And when I lounge and passing time ignore, at last
Peace I gain and tranquility unpack; eternity.

So end my stabs at the short and sweet rhyme forms
I (name) to my former go back; eternity.

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