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I’ve been running low on inspiration lately.  It took me almost an hour to come up with the following very short poem.  Nevertheless, it did help give my mind a sort of lyrical kick — I was able to write 2 serious poems afterwards.

MagPoem 3

* * *

Dusk. 

The storm gone,
stillness floods the lake.
Leaves fall like watery shadows,
producing a purple moon.

– s.

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(Written on 1/19 but posted at around 1:30 am on 1/20).

MagPoem 2

* * *

“January.”

In winter, the forest’s bare fingers
whisper beneath the mist.
Their language is frantic with want:
ach[ing] for spring,
delirious for summer.

Comments:
Too bad magnetic poetry doesn’t come with punctuation [c.f. “forest s” instead of “forest’s”]. And it’s a bit awkward to make “ache” into “ache-ing” (I’ve seen that spelling before — but mainly in Shakespeare…). Also, I would have preferred to use the word “hungry” instead of “aching,” except either the set doesn’t have it, or I couldn’t find it this morning (I need to organize my words better; they’re a mess). I’ve a sneaking suspicion, however, that the set just doesn’t contain the word (How can it not contain the word “hungry”?? I suppose not everyone uses “hungry” on a regular basis; I just happen to be a fan of it. themes of want appear a lot in my poetry, and hungry is an aptly desperate-sounding word, without being overly melodramatic or “poetical.” as it is, I sort of wince at “delirious.”) Oh well, rules are rules. No breaking them for the sake of flaunting the exercise. If I ever want to expand and revise one of these MagPoems I can always do so away from the fridge.

– s.

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My friend’s gift of a magnetic poetry set has inspired me to begin a project that will force me to think imagistically with greater frequency. I’ll try to create a new poem or part of a poem every week, sometimes following rules that I’ve set for myself, sometimes letting whatever is at the front of my mind take the reins. This will be an exercise in control (the poems need to be short, and the “word bank” that I can use is limited by the extent of the set) and in writing “coldly” (I’ve discovered that many of the words in the set are rather “poetical” and to use too many of them in combination would be a recipe for affectation or “preciousness”).

Here is MagPoem number 1:

MagPoem 1

“The Travelers”

Here we dream of water like bitter honey,
music shot with iron blue shadows,
a dress smeared with light like blood.

* * *

A bit “poetical” for my taste, but as subtle as I could get for the time being. The poem mainly began with the image of the dress; I’ve been studying the concept of melancholy in literature – the endless trap of pain that haunts war refugees, prisoners, families with histories of abuse – and imagined moving through a geographical or psychological place of suffering and being unable to escape it in one’s dreams. I imagined shades passing into the underworld, souls about to enter purgatory, former slaves and prisoners waking with nightmares.

In case you’re wondering, by the way, here’s what the poetry looks like set up on my fridge (I’ve since loosely grouped them by prepositions, pronouns, articles, simile/metaphor words, suffixes, negatives, conjunctions, helping verbs, so this picture doesn’t represent what it actually looks like now, but it gives a general idea):

MagPoetry Setup

Off to plan Tuesday’s workshop.

– s.

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