Monday, April 29, 2019

Progressive Poem Final Line is Here

The entire Progressive Poem is here today! (if you are here for Z - go HERE)
These are the poets that contributed a line each to Irene Latham's brainchild, the Progressive Poem.  This year's poem was begun by Matt Forrest Esenwine, with a great idea: using found lyrics from songs.  Each day a new poet added a new "found" line from a song...right up until today.  Today is the last day, and it is my turn to supply a line.  
I have written a rather lengthy explanation of what went on in my head and on paper.  You can, of course, read it, or skip down to the ending...well, not the ENDING... save that.  Go to the middle where the poem is, to read the last line.  Then go to the END if you are in the mood for - um - a laugh?  more music? something different?
April 2019 Progressive Poem Contributors and their lines:

  2 Kat @KathrynApel

  3 Kimberly @KimberlyHutmacherWrites

  4 Jone @DeoWriter

  5 Linda @TeacherDance

  6 Tara @Going to Walden

  8 Mary Lee @AYear of Reading

  9 Rebecca @RebeccaHerzog

10 Janet F. @LiveYour Poem

13 Doraine @DoriReads

17 Amy @ThePoem Farm

18 Linda @AWord Edgewise

20 Buffy @Buffy'sBlog

21 Michelle @MichelleKogan

22 Catherine @Readingto the Core

25 Jan @Bookseestudio

26 Linda @WriteTime

27 Sheila @Sheila Renfro

29 Irene @Live Your Poem

30 Donna @Mainely Write

Here is a list of each line's source:

L1 The Who, ‘I Can See for Miles’/The Beach Boys, ‘Endless Summer’
L2 The Beach Boys, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’/Dean Martin, ‘When You’re Smiling’
L3 The Jamies, ‘Summertime, Summertime’
L4 The Doors, Summer’s Almost Gone’/Led Zeppelin ‘Good Times, Bad Times’
L5 Ray Bradbury, “Dandelion Wine”
L6 Joni Mitchell, “Chelsea Morning”
L7 Paul Simon, “Kodachrome,” “Dazzling Blue”
L8 Dan Fogelberg, “Run for the Roses”
L9 Spice Girls, “Wannabe”/Will Smith, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”
L10 The Beatles, “Good Day Sunshine”
L11 The Carpenters, “Top of the World”
L12 Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Underneath the Lovely London Sky” from Mary Poppins Returns
L13 Carole King, “Hi-de-ho (That Old Sweet Roll)”
L14 Steve Miller, “Fly Like An Eagle”
L15 Don Felder, “Wild Life”
L16 Nowleen Leeroy, “Song of the Sea” (lullaby)
L17 Sara Bareilles, “She Used to Be Mine” from WAITRESS
L18 Stevie Wonder, “Isn’t She Lovely”
L19 R.E.M., “Find the River”
L20 Carole King, “Way Over Yonder”
L21 Mint Juleps, “Groovin” by the Young Rascals
L22 Jack Johnson, “Upside Down”
L23 Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson) “Rainbow Connection” from the Muppet Movie
L24 The Foo Fighters, “Learning to Fly”
L25 Tina Turner, “The Best”
L26 The Partridge Family, “Summer Days”
L27 The Pointer Sister’s, “We Are Family”
L28 Indigo Girls, “Power of Two”
L29 David Bowie, "Let's Dance"
L30 ?

And here's the link to the playlist that was created with the songs from which the lyrics came.

First, let me say, this has been a long month, what with the AtoZ Challenge (if you are here for Z - go HERE) and National Poetry Month with a poem a day and all!  And then following along with the Progressive Poem. I've watched and read with trepidation, wondering what line I could "find" in music to wrap up this poem into a conclusion that matched its summery, "dare to be" song medley.  I was coming up with nothing for the first week.  But that is expected.  You have no idea where it will go.  The best I could hope for was a happy coincidence that one of the lines or songs I was thinking of would actually work by the time the 29th writer had finished.  So I waited.  At first I didn't read it every day.  I waited for two or three days, so I wouldn't be tempted to get ahead of myself in planning.

BUT THEN...OH, MY WORD (did I say that already??)

BUT THEN... one day it occurred to me that I could maybe make a found poem with what was there.  And thus began my journey in earnest... and at last I could start doing more than just reading and waiting.  It was scary to do that and realize that suddenly I'd have to come up with a finale to contribute in 24 hours.

OH,, I won't say it again.  But I got this idea that made me so excited to get started, and I could start now... I would not go looking for a song, but do the ultimate in the "found" category, by using the "found" words in the created poem, to create a "found" last line!

I wrote the lines and took words in order, anxiously awaiting each day's offering.  To spread out the "found words" that had been supplied, I decided to try to write a line 8-12 words long, with at least 2 words in each section - dividing the poem up into 10 lines each (except 9 on the last, as mine would be the 10th of that section).

And then suddenly another inspiration hit somewhere around April 15.

What would it be like if I took the poem in reverse - total reverse, not just lines but first word last?  It would help me to be free of phrases in songs and see the individual words.  It might end up feeling more like a summing up or a back to the beginning of the poem at the end - a cyclical kind of thing?  Or maybe it would be just something altogether different?

At any rate, I decided to try it.

I took what I had and wrote each line backwards, adding them in reverse order - most recently written at the beginning.  I kind of liked the feeling of liberation.  So I continued writing each line in reverse order, starting with the first line, first word at the end.

I kept my division of the poem into thirds to divide up the lines to give me some "spread" over the whole poem. And from these words I selected the last line of the Progressive Poem.  It is a compilation of the song words.

The one thing that I found out about this process was that it became more and more exciting to see what words I would have available to use in the final line of the poem.  I watched and wrote backwards every day from that moment on, trying out different lines - or parts of lines.  I could not finish until the last line was offered!

Here are the lines backwards - and the underlined words are the selected last line:

*PUT LINES 20-29 HERE - pick 2-4 words
moonlight serious this moonlight the under sway let's two of power the by life multiply do you things the and you in faith have free be we’ll and hand my hold best the simply you’re life of sign a for looking stargazing us keeps that amazing so what’s curiosity stopping no there’s be to want we anyone be can we… runs honey the where land the to
"And free we’ll be -"

go to years light than now closer we’re old minute one than less know to easy not it’s deep the diving waves the waltzing me with come you won’t oh veins my in tiger a there’s and sea the to eagle an like fly wanna I sky the o’ piece a me get gonna today called it’s here tomorrow’s eyes my in sun the got sky the in cloud a not
"We’re diving in! Gonna"

down shining is sun the walk a take we’ll come go let’s set ready forever last it make lifetime a of chance the it’s blue dazzling greens Kodachrome today of portrait a on opens curtain the window your from lean rise to only had you day every and each sea laughin’ the swim we play to time just school for time no smiles world whole the and fun miles for see can I summer endless
"take a chance on summer!"

And now for the last line ...
Drum roll....
Um, and I've set it to music with a refrain.  Me and my!  I'm a beginner remember, so nothing fancy.  But I'll send you the lyric with chords if you like.  The music is at the end.

1 Endless summer; I can see for miles…
2 Fun, fun, fun – and the whole world smiles
3 No time for school- just time to play
4 we swim the laughin’ sea each and every day
5 You had only to rise, lean from your window,
6 the curtain opens on a portrait of today:
7 Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue
8 it's the chance of a lifetime
9 make it last forever–ready? Set? Let’s Go
10 Come, we’ll take a walk, the sun is shining down
11 Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
12 Tomorrow’s here. It’s called today. 
13 Gonna get me a piece o' the sky.
14 I wanna fly like an eagle, to the sea
15 and there's a tiger in my veins  
16 Oh, won't you come with me waltzing the waves, diving the deep?
17 It's not easy to know
18 less than one minute old
19 we’re closer now than light years to go
20 To the land where the honey runs
21 …we can be anyone we want to be
22 There’s no stopping curiosity
23 What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing?
24 Looking for a sign of life
25 You're simply the best
26 Hold my hand and we'll be free
27 Have faith in you and the things you do
28 Multiply life by the power of two.
29 Let's sway under the moonlight, this serious moonlight,
30 And free we'll be - we're diving in! Gonna take a chance on summer! 

I found this guy in Target at the Starbucks there wearing this hoodie on Sunday afternoon.  I had to ask him if I could take a picture of his back... not too strange a request, right?  So I put the poem on it.  It enlarges to be more readable.

And now the finale - just because I "could"...well, not because I could really, but because I wanted to try and SEE if I could do it....I got my ukulele this month and am teaching myself, so I can maybe teach the basics to my granddaughter.
I set the poem to music (of sorts).  So, here I am playing my ukulele - my debut performance, lol! - I wrote the lines in order in the song, but used the first two lines for the chorus, then figured out chords, practiced and FINALLY played and sang ... right here:

Voila!  Now, my thought for a title is...

How about a found one using just the TITLES of the songs?


  1. Donna, you're amazing! Putting the poem backwards, asking strange men to take photos of their back, writing a song -- you do it ALL! Next year, could you come up with the official Progressive Poem dessert ?

    1. Lol! I think it would have to be a very tall layer cake...or a 30 layer parfait! Yum!

    2. Or my husband's who has heard about your process just said an upside down cake! Janet Clare F.

  2. I've been away, checked the blog posts, and here it is in all its wonder, Donna. This is fabulous, so grand I listened twice & then read through your explanation again. The tune is great, your ending fine, and that serendipitously you found that man in the black hoodie & created the design, too. Bravo! Now I think we all need your autograph, right?

    1. I love when I can involve strangers in my endeavors! So far everyone I've ever talked to about license plates...or been so nice and helpful. I couldn't believe I was seeing that - how could I NOT try to get a picture??

  3. WOW WOW WOW! Donna, you're amazing and a gift to us all. THANK YOU. xo

    1. This helped me push through to learn more in a month on the ukulele than I would have otherwise. I'm glad you like it! I love that you organize this poem, Irene. It's a wonderful event!

  4. Wowza Wee! You are truly amazing! I love the song and how you put it all together. Just Wow!

    1. Thanks, Margaret! I liked how things just seemed to come together, almost of their own volition!

  5. What a great idea and it turned out so well! Thanks for sharing this! - Dragons & Spaceships

    1. You got to pop in on my "AtoZ aside-track" post. Lol! It isn't AtoZ, but another amazing fun event in April. Glad you stopped by!

  6. This is marvelous, Donna! I loved reading about your process and adored hearing you sing and play. A gift indeed! I stand in awe and gratitude!! xxxx

    1. Thanks, Amy. It was a fun ending to have come together. It all just felt right - all those wonderful lines needed a hug!

  7. YOWZERS!!!!! Wow. Next level. What a finale! Thank-you. Love your line and love the song, too.

    1. PS My initial title thoughts? Just popping into my head after hearing your song, was 'I Found You'. That's not found in the titles, though. One that is; 'Summer For Two'. So that's two quick thoughts from me. :)

    2. Let's see what Irene thinks! I'm liking "Summer" in there. I had thought of "Summer Song" as two words from the titles.

  8. Wow, Wow, Wow! Donna, since I have been struggling to archive #NYEDChat tonight with some #PoetryFriday poet pals, I needed a fun break and you gave it to me. I could not wait to hear your line and it was a very interesting way to get at it-your thoughts sounded so logical and mathematical but it surely all made sense. Then, you stunned me with your digital inspiration of a hooded man wearing what else but an Endless Summer hoodie. Just thinking that was another wow you blew me away with your song. Who knew that you played the ukulele-a perfect instrument for this song you created. Well done, my friend. Maybe you should take your show on the road when you ride your bike...

    1. I had said I wanted to carry my ukulele with me on the bike. Just wish it were to the beach this year. But I'm sure the river will be just fine! I want to get good enough so that if someone overhears me they won't wish they hadn'!

  9. Fantastic Donna, I love your song on the Ukulele, and how you came upon your line… fascinating, three cheers for you–Hip Hip Hooray!

    1. Thanks, Michelle! Loved trying to figure out how to do it, too!

  10. Donna, you are fabulous! Great work!

    1. Thanks, Ruth. I feel guilty that I had so much fun doing it. Wasn't like work at all!

  11. Donna! Dear!
    I wish you could see my moist eyes, after reading your generous post & listening to your ukulele accompanied song of the PP 2019. You are a Renaissance Artist, no doubt. Can you please be The Closer forever & ever on this PP party.
    Your spirit & moxie are energizing.
    Everything about your finale, the serendipity of asking the sweatshirt wearer to post, placing the poem on that Endless Summer image, the music, blending so many BeLoved Musical Artists lyrics into Our Lyrics, your chosen D.B. line - it's just so uplifting.

    This will carry me all through the summer, with many re-listenings, no doubt.

    And the PP as a dessert - a sky-high parfait (yoghurt) when we all get together some day, some day.

    Miles of Endless Summer smiles to inventive, creative, YOU!

  12. OH MY WORD...!!! It's like I popped over for a wee snack and found a banquet. So creative, Donna - all of this. I love the ukulele song! I can't even pick a favorite dish from your post. [Though I'm loving the mental pic of your asking a stranger if you could photograph his back in Target - I would so do that. Glad you did!] :0)

    1. So glad you were "well fed"!! Yes, I did a double take when I saw that hoodie! I was just leaving with my daughter, and had to quickly tell her..."be right back!" Nice guy, quite happy to let me take a picture of his back!

  13. Just reading/listening to this again... Donna, it's really amazing! I LOVE IT. Thank you. xo

    1. ;) YOU are SO welcome! My pleasure! My husband and I still talk about going to Gee's Bend someday.

  14. Love, love, love it set to music. This makes it even further relatable for kids! What a resource when teaching poetry in the classroom to show this collaboration!

    1. Wouldn't that be amazing to have a class put together poem then involve the music teacher and the class with basic instruments in the creation of music for it? THAT would be SO much fun!

  15. Stunning. I love this, I enjoyed reading the process you used. And to ask a stranger about the photo is brilliant.

    1. My children, when they were young, would ask me if I knew "that person" I was just talking to out of the blue. I'd have to go into the thing ab out how it's okay as an adult (or if you are with an adult) to talk to strangers - that strangers are just people you don't know yet. My license plate project has also helped me be able to just walk up to strangers and ask questions. It's gotten to be more and more fun, the older I get!

  16. So much fun--thanks for the song and wonderful finale!

  17. I have not had the chance to read the other comments. Will do so later, but WOW, Donna. This is amazing. I love everything you have done and written. You play like a pro and a songwriter? Have you done that before? Your voice is charming and honestly you have made this poem something I could not imagine it to be. Honestly, I love this. PS You have given me the idea to learn how to play so I can teach my granddaughter! She's only three, but I could use a headstart. I used to play guitar and piano so maybe there is hope for me. Are you learning online? Tips etc. appreciated. And again, thank you and CONGRATULATIONS on this brilliance. Such creativity. Janet Clare F.

    1. Thanks! Have not done this before. It was a grand experiment in perseverance and vulnerability!
      Can you PM me? I started to put everything here, but it was too much. I can give you links to what I've researched, bought and watched or read. I have pictures of my granddaughter's uke and mine on this page:
      You definitely SHOULD do this! My granddaughter was 4 1/2 when I got her a "First Act" ukulele. Turned 5 yesterday, and she has learned 3 chords by name and the positions - and now I'm thinking she's ready for a "better" model uke now. She's tried mine and the strumming and chording are more rewarding.

  18. OH MY WORD!!! You are a-mazing! So perfect to take our lyric lines and make a song!!! Only you! WOW WOW WOW!

    1. thanks, Mary Lee. I really enjoyed doing it!

  19. Wow, you really worked hard on this - and it shows! Great idea for your last line, which sews everything up neatly. And great job with the song!

    1. Didn't seem like work know how it is when you get an idea and things start to come together. The hardest part was trying to record anything with stuff going on around me and mess ups playing. Hardly the professional set up! Lol!

  20. Oh, Donna, what an incredible wrap-up! You say you're a beginner with the ukulele, but something tells me you aren't a beginner musician. I absolutely loved listening to the song. I'm in awe of your skill as a poet and a musician.
    Thanks for a wonderful finale.

    1. Thanks! Well, I do like to sing! Not sure about being a musician yet, but I finally have some time to pursue playing an instrument now that I'm retired!


Drop some breadcrumbs! Let me know you were here!


Poetry Friday... Go enjoy some great poetry by clicking links on Poetry Friday's host Matt Forrest Esenwine's page : My poem for Oct...