Friday, January 4, 2013

#365poems A Poetry Challenge

Poetry was actually the first literary form I ever took a stab at and I have several notebooks full of varying levels of rhyming competence. When my husband, a musician, and I first married he was working as a Church choir director and I wrote a number of poetic reworking of Scripture for him. Eventually he moved on to other jobs, we got busy with kids and life and for the most part I got away from writing verse.

Lately my spouse has been asking more lyrics.I found it hard to think of poetry again. When I was younger everything seemed to occur to me as lyrics first, but not anymore. I needed inspiration. I needed prodding.

Then last fall my good friend Mod Mom Beyond Indiedom   brought me onboard OctPoWriMo a 31 poems in 31 days challenge. It also introduced me to the Writing Poetry Group on Face Book.  (Mod Mom by the way writes some hilariously wicked song parodies, and some great serious stuff too. Check it out) Although I didn't quite get 31 poems written, I did write quite a few. Many were free verse, however, which prompted my husband to respond: something I can put to music please? I wrote a few that rhyme and rewrote one of the free verse poems as lyrics.  But at the end of the challenge the well of inspiration ran dry again. Since the end of October I had only written a couple poems. So clearly needed more prodding. Put simply I write better with a purpose to write for, preferably one that doesn't allow me to indulge in my well known penchant for procrastinating.

Just in time, Mod Mom alerted me to another challenge...this one to write (if not publish) a poem a day all year. I know I will never reach this point, but its great to strive toads. And after I told my husband of this he handed me a whole sheet of couplets that went nowhere for him.

Just for starters, and because I am still working on new poems, here is an illustration of what happens when I try to go from one style of poetry to another.  This poem I wrote originally for OctPoWriMo:

You washed up on the shore
Of our hearth and hearts.
We threw you a lifeline and took you in.

It was neither your fault nor ours
That the tsunami engulfed you again
And at least for now
Pulled you beyond our reach.

But should the tide reverse for you
We are still here, the safe port.
We keep the signal light burning in the lighthouse
Never knowing when you might struggle to our shore again.

Great,right? Everyone loved it. Everyone including my husband who said, of course, "Can you redo this in a format that can be set to music?"  I have problems with this. Once I think of an idea in a particular way, I find it hard to alter.  But I gave it a try:

You washed up on shore
and we threw you a line.
We gave you a home
And kept you safe awhile.

When you're out in the storm
The lighthouse is standing
We'll keep the light shining
Till you make safe landing.
Through high waves wind and foam
Till you find your way home.

It was nothing you did
The storm crashed around you
Washed you away from us
And nothing we could do.

When you're out in the storm
The lighthouse is standing
We'll keep the light shining
Till you make safe landing.
Through high waves wind and foam
Till you find your way home.

This is still undergoing tweaking, but you get some idea of what I mean.  My husband has already worked up a lovely melody. I am dissatisfied with it because I had it fixed in my head as free verse.  But if I had originally written it as lyrics I would be dissatisfied with free verse. 

Anyway it is in hopes of further inspiration that I am taking the challenge.  I may not get a poem posted everyday, but I will be working on them.

#365poems at

1 comment:

  1. I like both versions. Good writing exercise to customize the verse for both formats. I think you did a great job! Glad you're doing the challenge and thanks for the shout out!