Half Way Through the Progressive Poem

April 15 and it is my turn to supply a line for Irene Latham's challenge to group-write an epic Progressive Poem each April!

But first...

I wrote these pre-poem thoughts, before I even read the first line. I thought I'd jot down what I thought I might/could/should do with the line no matter what the topic or event since it would be in the MIDDLE of the poem: 
  • Wouldn’t it be fun to find a single word you could repeat in the line like an interruption?
  • Maybe do a rat-a-tat-tat sound, or introduce an unusual sound?  
  • Maybe introduce an interesting color word?  
  • A texture/feeling?  
  • A taste?  
  • A smell?

Then I read Line 1 by Liz Steinglass:  "Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched."

My thoughts about where the poem might go:
  • I’m picturing the life of a plant, that grows old and returns to the earth, while her seeds grow where she stood, and in other places they were carried...by birds, animal fur, children...atop a mountain stuck to a climbers sock, in the woods where an animal dropped it...what adversities does each encounter?
  • I could imagine being able to add almost any of the pre-poem ideas to this line as it stands.  But who knows where it will be by the time I read this again!

Some ongoing thoughts:
  • Hey, there's a bird carrying it! That was in my thoughts.  Maybe it will go that way...
  • This is crazy.
  • What?  How...
  • Oh, I see.  Yes.
  • Try reading it out loud.  Yes, much better.
  • Let's look at some interesting words in it: cozy, blooming, honeyed, feasting, whoosh, pulse, stardrops, moonbeams, embrace, sliding, dancing... so many!
And now, today - the poem.  This is what I was thinking as I read the poem today, preparing myself for the challenge of adding something worthy of this collaborative gem:
  • Remember to read your thoughts about this poem BEFORE you write.  Maybe they will help you.
  • Is the poem anything like what I'd imagined it would become?  Not really. 
  • Loosen up.  Scramble your brain some, unscramble your brain some.  
    • Have some coffee, sit for a bit.
    • Read it again
    • Joke about it with my husband, "I think I'll just write that Jasmine slipped out of the owl's talons and fell to the ground and the owl ate her, The End... 
  • Get serious.
Did I  use a pre-poem idea?  In a way, I did.  I knew that I wanted it to be unusual, and an interruption for the half-way point if at all possible. It wasn't a taste or smell or texture that needed to come out - it was MOVEMENT! 

I think I did what I thought the middle of a poem should/could/would do.  See what you think.  Here's the poem today with my part added - its half-way point:

Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched.
Oh, what wonderful dreams she had!
Blooming in midnight moonlight, dancing with
the pulse of a thousand stars, sweet Jasmine
invented a game.

"Moon?" she called across warm honeyed air.
"I'm sad you're alone, come join Owl and me.  
We're feasting on stardrops, we'll share them with you." 
"Come find me, Moon called," hiding behind a cloud.

Secure in talons' embrace, Jasmine rose
and set. She split, twining up Owl's toes, pale 
moonbeams sliding in between, Whoosh, Jasmine goes.
Owl flew Jasmine between clouds and moon to Lee's party!

Moon, that wily bright balloon, was NOT alone.
                                                       Jas grinned,
                                                                          a new,
                                                   around          tender


Take it away, Sarah!!  It is your turn!
See the sidebar navigation to keep track of this poem's progression.                    



  1. I loved reading about your thoughts as the poem progressed and love the movement and shape you've introduced to the poem. Can't wait to see what comes next!

  2. Jas! She has a nickname. And she is very busy...but around what? So playful and a fun line to hand off and receive!

  3. A shape line! Fun! (Glad you didn't decide to have her get eaten :-))

    1. As my husband pointed out, owls don’t eat seeds. So she was safe!

  4. Ha, thank you Donna for your thought process is wonderful! And great advice to scramble and unscramble... glad things aren't over for Jas quite yet... and yay for movement! Are we missing a noun? I feel a little dizzy...

    1. What could be there that she is reaching for? I have no clue! But it must be fun!

  5. OK. Now she's headed back in the direction I had originally thought. I'm on pins and needles this weekend getting ready to continue her journey in line 18. Yikes! -- Christie @ https://wonderingandwondering.wordpress.com/

  6. Fascinating line, Donna. Leaves me wondering, especially about "a new,/ around tender/ rootlet". Has the comma after "new" become the noun of that part, so that Jas (love the nickname) wrapped a comma around a tender rootlet? Or is she reaching with a new rootlet that is also "around tender"? I love the sense of excitement your short phrases and arching form create.

    1. Around is the last word. She “wrapped a new, tender rootlet around” ....

    2. Phew! I'm so glad you asked that question, Brenda! Your answer, Donna, clears things up for me. Phew! -- Christie @ https://wonderingandwondering.wordpress.com/

  7. It is fun to read about your thoughts before, during, and finally, the line, taking a journey on the page, too! This makes interesting reading, and I also like that there's a nickname, Jas. She's getting perkier!

    1. “Jas” just came out. It was her- she’s getting older and like you said “perkier”!

  8. Around.....?!?! Who else was hiding behind the clouds with Moon, waiting to jump out and surprise the birthday boy? Love reached - wrapped - rootlet!

  9. So glad that I read all comments to see that around is going to lead us to WHAT? Jas is certainly a creative action-filled heroine on this madcap adventure Donna. Leave it to you to think of arching your line.

  10. Wheeeeeeee! Off the poem flies. Jas is a hot ticket! ❤️💕

  11. I love that you put a rootlet in there Donna, I was thinking about roots also–they are definitely tender when wrapped around a young seed! Ah, we'll see what fun will unfold until Thursday when I add a line…

  12. Donna, I love that your line is adding a shape poem element! And, I love the springboard you've given me. Thank you!

  13. We have a nickname! And our first (only) shape line. I love the curve of this, Donna. Appreciations for even more surprise about our Jas.
    And it is groovy to read about with your notes/ process thoughts.

  14. I, too, loved the "scramble/unscramble" part of your (our!) process. Thanks, Donna!

  15. What a bold line/shape, Donna! Love it!


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