Saturday, April 08, 2017

Progressive Poem -- Line #8


Go ahead. Skip to the bottom of the post. Read my line. I know you want to. :-)
Short introduction for the uninitiated: Progressive poem, written one line at a time, one day at a time for the month of April. Tradition started by Irene Latham. Check the sidebar to follow along as the poem grows.

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Didn't Heidi get us started off with a line full of pure possibility? She introduced our character.

I’m fidget, friction, ragged edges—

Then Tabatha gave us some show-not-tell action to help us get to know our character better. We've got a storyteller here (or at least, a story sprouter...hmm...a magical plant?).

I sprout stories that frazzle-dazzle,

Along comes Dori, who takes the word stories and cracks it open just a bit for us.

stories of castles, of fires that crackle,

Michelle linked the words fire and stories in a surprising way. Is our character a dragon?

with dragonwords that smoke and sizzle.

Diane established stanzas of four lines and a bit of conflict...

But edges sometimes need sandpaper,

...and Kat elaborated. (No, Kat, we won't change your Aussie spelling of vapour!)

like swords need stone and clouds need vapour.

Yesterday, Irene got our character ready for action...but without armour (don't you love how she gave Kat that wink?!)

So I shimmy out of my spurs and armour

And now I'm left to decide the action our character might take. Or would take if this were my own poem and not this big, messy, fun, collaborative, surprising thing it is every year  (this is our SEVENTH!!).

Our character might be a girl. That happens a lot in stories. So our character might be a boy. A boy who does atypical things. A boy who is searching for his true identity, who is willing to lose the frazzle-dazzle storytelling and the costume he's wearing, in order to try living honestly in his own skin. Yeah. I like that. For right now, in this small moment of Line Eight, that's who this poem is about for me. So what gift can I give to this child, what gift for all children who are in that tricky spot of growing up, when they have to take off the princess dress or the super hero cape and find out who they really are? 

(There are a lot of F words early on, and a lot of S words in the past 5 lines. Did you notice that? And we don't seem to be keeping to any syllable count or regular rhyme scheme...Can you tell I'm writing this line in my head as I write this post?)

facing the day as my fickle, freckled self.

Yes! I love it! And yes, I did go read Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins before I chose my words because it occurred to me that this character could be part of what Hopkins was praising -- so I borrowed "fickle, freckled" from him. I don't think he'd mind! And lookie there -- I used F sounds and S sounds in my line!! (A peek at the final edits: The line was originally "ready to face the day as my fickle, freckled self." Our character was going to FACE the day, but I went to the thesaurus and decided on BRAVE as a synonym that packs just a bit more punch, even though I'd have to lose an F sound. Then I read through the whole poem, including my line, and the rhythm seemed off, plus, I really really loved that F sound. So I went back to FACE the day. Then I had to consider the necessity of the word and...keep? lose? keep? lose? We already have a but and a so in this stanza...I'm going for the verb, folks! Fidget, friction, fickle, freckled...say that five times fast!)

Go forth, brave character! Whether or not you turn out to be seeking your true identity, or if other amazing adventures await you in this poem, we've launched you out the door. Have fun, Linda! Give us hints as to what THE DAY will hold for our character, whoever he or she or he/she might be!



I’m fidget, friction, ragged edges—
I sprout stories that frazzle-dazzle,
stories of castles, of fires that crackle,
with dragonwords that smoke and sizzle.


But edges sometimes need sandpaper,
like swords need stone and clouds need vapour.
So I shimmy out of my spurs and armour
facing the day as my fickle, freckled self.




20 comments:

  1. How much do I love your line by line reactions?! And your process of selecting words for your line... and where you landed. LOVE! Thank you, Mary Lee! xo

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  2. I love the spirit you've given the character with your line, and yes, it was superfun to read your line by line reactions.

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  3. What wonderful insight into your thought process!

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  4. Love this voice, Mary Lee!!

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  5. We never know where these poems will lead, do we? Thanks for providing some insight into how you came up with your line - looking forward to seeing where we go from here!

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  6. The conversation and learning about the lines is perfect to help aspiring poets.

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  7. Such fun to see your thinking as you reflected on the previous lines and crafted your own. I can't wait to see where Linda's fun takes our character as he/she goes bravely forth into the day.

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  8. Such a fun filled line of f words that lead us forward on this poetic journey. Loved hearing the rambling of your mind as you made decisions.

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  9. Fickle, freckled, and funky--the poem's really starting to dance!

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  10. So, I probably should have had a cup of coffee before I read this, Mary Lee. I just got up on this Saturday morning feeling excited to read what you've given to me, and I am still excited, but oh my, I also have a lump in my throat from your line. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about each line and the added bonus of helping this child to face the world. Perhaps this is becoming a modern-day "fable"? I guess you know what my Saturday will bring!

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  11. Hooray! What a line! And what a joy to watch the double-metamorphosis take place in your thinking and in our character's personality. I'm growing quite fond of this kid. :)

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  12. Genius! Close reading at its best, with so much attention to both sound and meaning, and a trip back to master, mentor texts. And I like your crystallization of the journey in this poem. I do hope that if there is any "dreaming" or "dancing"(which we ProgPoets don't seem to be able to avoid), that it will be crackly and raggedy and fickle and sizzly--anything but soft and graceful! That's not the world we're facing right this moment, is it?

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  13. I think I love your examination of each line before you and the thought that went into your line almost as much as the glorious fickle, freckled self you've added. I have not been in the loop to follow every day, and so appreciate your reading of what has happened before you!

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  14. I loved this progressive and collaborative process of "poeming". It makes me wish I still had a class with which to begin this tomorrow!

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  15. Thanks for sharing your thoughtful journey to your amazing line! It gives your line more power to know your process.
    I'm excited to see where this character goes!

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  16. Echoing the delight at "sitting in" on your line by line impressions... and how fun for you to toss in "fickle, freckled"! You can't go wrong with Pied Beauty. Thanks for all the thought and playfulness in your contribution. :0)

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  17. Just for the record, I really was okay with 'vapour' changing, especially given that it is America's poetry month - but I love that the spelling is retained. And Irene's reasoning for 'armour' yesterday.

    And love the thought processes behind your line. This poem has bedded in so well! Solid foundations from which to launch our character into adventure.

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  18. I like that you decided to keep the f 's in there Mary Lee, and the character being him or herself, perhaps will find out this part . . .

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  19. Love! Love! Love! Your line and how you talked about the whole poem! xxx

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  20. I'm so glad I came back and read this. What a joy to read this analysis. Love it!

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We welcome your contribution to the conversation!