The Work of Art (or the Art of Work?)

I put a great deal of thought into the prompts today. At NaPoWriMo, the suggestion was to write a visual or shape poem. I’ve tried those before and always struggled with formatting here on WordPress, so I almost ignored the idea. Meanwhile, the prompt at Writer’s Digest was to write a poem about work. As an art student, I’m learning just how much hard physical labor is involved in art-making. From wedging reclaimed clay in pottery to carving and shaving plaster, the amount of physical exertion is more intense than one might think. This realization led me to the poetic form of a diamante which, I suppose, might fit the shape poem prompt, after all!

Cubist Self-Portrait work-in-progress

Cubist Self-Portrait work-in-progress

Work

difficult, stressful

frustrating, exhausting, time-consuming

routine, necessary, creative, fun

inspiring, healing, liberating

expressive, dynamic

Art

Dare to Dream

Great prompts today from NaPoWriMo (write a palinode – take back something you said in a previous poem) and Writer’s Digest (write a dare poem) sent me delving into my own poetic archives on my blog. I went all the way back to the first poem I posted here in 2010 entitled “Suicide of a Dream“. When I started this blog, I was in a very dark place in my life. So much has happened since then, some bad, but much good. This was a great opportunity to revisit a dark place and shed some fresh light on it. 

Created in Life Book 2014 with Effy Wild

Created in Life Book 2014 with Effy Wild

Broken mirrors and shattered glass –

Evidence of broken dreams

Are left behind, I have surpassed

The days of tears and screams.

I dared set foot outside the box

That kept me bound and chained.

On purpose now, I mismatch socks.

I’m creatively unrestrained.

I bled and cried for love of dance.

I’d given it all my heart.

That is until I took a chance

And risked it all on art.

Now I sculpt and paint and draw

As I seek serenity.

I sometimes see my own work with awe –

Award-winning artist – my new identity.

The Price of Love

What? Another love poem? That’s what Writer’s Digest was asking for today. Then I hopped over to NaPoWriMo and the prompt was about money or the cost, price, or value of something. After several false starts, this rondel came into being. It’s not what I set out to write, but it’s what wanted to be written. Who am I to argue with the muse?

My brother and I years ago - he passed away when he was 22.

My brother and I years ago – he passed away when he was 22.

Love often comes at a high price,

It’s one I’d gladly pay.

If you’d come back for one more day,

It would more than suffice.

Many times, I need your advice

Things changed when you went away.

Love often comes at a high price,

It’s one I’d gladly pay.

To see you again would be so nice

I know I will someday.

For now, brother, I’ll just convey

My heart and it’ll suffice.

Love often comes at a high price.

Morning Oops or Has This Ever Happened to You?

I have learned something about myself as a poet these past few days. Perhaps I already knew it, but it crystallized for me today. My poetic muse only speaks to me after dark. I’ve been home all day today pondering the prompts from NaPoWriMo (a morning poem) and Writer’s Digest (things are not as they seem) and could think of nothing until the sun was setting this evening. So I’m an evening poet. Artist by day, poet by night? Perhaps! The form of this one is of my own creation. Happy reading!

By Zanimum on Wikimedia Commons

By Zanimum on Wikimedia Commons

Alarm rings

Bird sings

I drag myself from bed

Morning news

Coffee brews

Clear the fog from my head

Dressed to kill

Must pay the bills

It’s time to go to work

Start the car

Don’t get far

Before I go berserk

Traffic’s clear

No one’s here

I drive without delay

Evil twist

Now I’m pissed

Because it’s Saturday

Dickinson Redux

For the first time (so far) this month, the two prompts that I’ve been following refused to work nicely together. I ended up working solely with the prompt from the NaPoWriMo site where we were asked to rework an Emily Dickinson poem into something new. I’m not sure how different my poem is from her original, but it speaks my truth. The original poem is included below my own. 

Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

If I can help one voice start speaking,

My life will be worthwhile;

If I can show them what they’re seeking,

Or share one smile,

Or help one child

Feel safe once again,

My life will be worthwhile.

***Original Poem by Emily Dickinson***

 If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.

Shattered

The prompts didn’t want to work together today, but eventually I came up with something that I think works. It’s a senryu (similar to a haiku) that took the NaPoWriMo prompt asking for a different sort of love poem and the Writer’s Digest prompt requesting a departure poem and made something simple and clear. 

Image by DemonVash08 on deviantart.com

Image by DemonVash08 on deviantart.com

Your departure took

Far more from me than just the

Pieces of my heart.

Ballad of the Potter’s Wheel

Day 3 was quite a challenging combination! NaPoWriMo’s prompt was asking for a “Fourteener” (a poem with 14 syllable lines – I did a modified version with a ballad as each couplet has 14 syllables). Then I checked out the prompt at Writer’s Digest and they wanted a poem about a machine. As many of you know, I’ve been taking a few art classes lately and this semester took on the really unique challenge of Introduction to Pottery. At first, I loved the class. Then, about six weeks ago, I began my battle with the pottery wheel. We are not friends. We are not built to work well together. Let me tell you… for the beginner, throwing on the wheel is nothing at all like that scene with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in “Ghost”! I have recycled MANY failed attempts at bowls and cups and plates over these few weeks. Now, as our wheel-throwing time is coming to an end, I’ve suddenly started to get the hang of it! (Go figure, right?!) It seemed a natural pairing for me to use this opportunity to share some of the pottery process through poetry. 

Image Source: Pottery-on-the-Wheel.com

I.

A soft and formless lump of clay

Is spinning on the wheel.

An anxious lump forms in my throat.

My nerves must be like steel.

II.

I wet my hands, take a deep breath,

And set them to the job

Of making something beautiful

And useful from this blob.

Refrain

A lump of clay, a spinning disk,

Romantic ideas held.

I’ll try and try and try again

Until these notions meld.

III.

Early on, I meet resistance,

My nerves begin to fray.

Being centered is critical

For potter and for clay.

IV.

With center found, the time has come

To open up the mound

The clay, like me, is vulnerable.

The likeness is profound.

Refrain

A lump of clay, a spinning disk,

Romantic ideas held.

I’ll try and try and try again

Until these notions meld.

V.

The next step is to widen out

Establishing the base.

Stability is requisite

For any decent vase.

VI.

Compress the bottom, make it strong,

Then start to pull the wall.

Be careful with the pressure now

Please, God, don’t let them fall!

Refrain

A lump of clay, a spinning disk,

Romantic ideas held.

I’ll try and try and try again

Until these notions meld.

VII.

Compress the rim and pull some more

Until the height’s just right.

With gentle pressure, shape the wall –

Soft curve that will delight.

VIII.

Still approaching with lightest touch

Fingers wrap round the throat

Drawing in a lovely collar

Contrasting the wall’s bloat.

Refrain

A lump of clay, a spinning disk,

Romantic ideas held.

I’ll try and try and try again

Until these notions meld.

IX.

Compress the bottom and the rim,

Smooth any place that’s rough.

Be cautious in these final steps

Or else the vase will scuff.

X.

Patience now, the vase must dry to

Leather-hard for trimming.

Eventually the vase is glazed

And I feel like I’m winning.

Refrain

A lump of clay, a spinning disk,

Romantic ideas held.

I’ll try and try and try again

Until these notions meld.