On Friday, for Poetry Friday, Margaret Simon explained how she used her students as "guinea pigs" (so to speak), offering them a writing technique/prompt she had seen done by their state poet laureate, Ava Leavell Haymon, at the Book Festival Wordshop.
Her explanation and results are on her page Reflections on the Teche here.
I decided to try the exercise, since I had a pen and the back of a large envelope right here handy beside me.
Here's the final, short 6 line poem that I came up with out of some of the words jotted down:
Oh, the luscious feeling
Of sweet love
So softly enveloped
In the arms of serenity
Blessed I am.
And this - with only a couple of very quick edits, is my "free writing" in 7 minutes. It was supposed to be free writing - not a poem (complete with rhyming), but this just came out. It is always a wonder-ing feeling when this happens. I can never explain why sometimes words are easy and others they are labored over.
Was it the exercise of the writing of the words, the disregarding of the internal negatives thoughts, was it knowing I was going to write something not planned out, that I'd spontaneously would put on paper - and that I didn't have to share it if I didn't care to - like if it was stupid and terrible as the voices had said it would be before I disregarded them?
7 minutes - With the rest of the exercise, it was probably 15 minutes total for prep and both pieces. I may try it again next week. It seemed to free up the brain.
Thanks for the exercise, Margaret and Ava!
Days are long in summers lost;
Evening comes at precious cost -
Quick the sun’s last rays are cast,
Now the time is going fast.
As the stars come out to play,
When the moon peeks out a ray,
I alone am left to wonder
At their glory, at God’s thunder.
All around me dark of night
Blankets me and holds me tight
Till my breath it will not come
And my heartbeat slows to dumb;
Then I hear the breath of night
Breathing songs into the white
Of stars and moon, oh, they too sing
And I have heard no grander thing
Than dark and light in chorus lift
Their voices smooth and soft and swift
Drifting to my ears on earth
Offering me a chance for birth
I can only hear them when
My hand is still, and God wields pen.
Donna JT Smith
Nov. 8, 2014