Poems for your Consideration

An interesting thing happened on the way to May, 2010 … I ran across a blog by poet Robert Lee Brewer called ‘Poetic Asides‘. The interesting thing about the site that caught my attention was the challenge: a ‘Poem a Day’ challenge for the month of April. Now, the idea of writing certainly does not scare me, but I wondered if it would be feasible to commit to something so structured … of course, I’m not being graded, so it’s not like somebody is going to rap my knuckles with a ruler if I don’t hand my assignments in on time … right? Hello? Anyone? Seriously, it has turned out to be a lot of fun, very challenging, and artistically quite satisfying. On a few occasions I’ve completed the ‘assignments’ on the next day, but I have managed to finish each of the daily ‘prompts’, which brings me to how this whole thing works.

Every morning Robert Lee Brewer posts a new ‘prompt’, and we – the participating poets – take that prompt and use it to write our poem for the day. A prompt can be anything from a suggestion for a topic to a title, such as ‘The Last (blank)’ – fill in the blank and use that as the title of your poem (prompt from April 11).

So, what I wanted to do was post some of the poems here. On a few days I wrote some ‘off prompt’ poems as well, but when the poem is based on the prompt that will be provided above the title. I hope you enjoy these offerings. Thank you for reading.

From April 2

Gently Weeps

Watching as they coax the sounds
from six strings and pieces of wood
slapped together with some care
these troubadours pour fourth their souls
emptying the contents of their hearts
accompanied by a driving beat
or a simple snare
it all comes down to what the song needs
nothing more, nothing less
as the chords ring through the night
echoing off the bodies in the darkness
I decide to pick up my guitar and
join in the celebration of sound.

______________________________

April 3

Prompt: “Partly [blank]” as title

Partly Conscious

My eyes were open,
at least, I thought they were …
it’s hard to tell when in a dream
if one is really where they might imagine
or if you are merely floating,
freely falling through a universe
created by your own mind
the fruit of your own inner creativity
turned in unto itself
reflecting your deepest,
darkest desires,
spoken or not
they are there
waiting to be captured in the night.

______________________________

April 6

Prompt: exphrastic poem based on ‘Flight of the Witches’ by Francisco de Goya

Prompt for 'Coven' by Peter Amsel

Flight of the Witches by Francisco de Goya

Coven

I avert my gaze
cowering under my veil
not wanting to see
the terrible things
taking place
within reach of my hand …
the Lord alone
is my refuge
from the evil spirits
arrayed against me
from these witches
conjuring up their spells
as they take control
of the elements around them
even the air obeys them
lifting them off the ground
like perverse dervishes
locked in the midst of their
hypnotic whirls
having no need of spinning wildly
to take flight

I can hear them dangling above me
as they continue their chanting and
droning, carrying their hapless victim
away from prying eyes.

______________________________

April 7

Prompt: ‘Until ____’ – fill in the blank and use as the title of the poem (Until the end of time, until the world stops, etcetera ad nauseum).

Until the End of the World

Yesterday’s visions come to the quick realization
that tomorrow will not be as bad as the prognostications
or the delusional ravings
shouted from every soapbox and rooftop that would
bear their weight
in hopes they would get out their message
before you pass them by
but it was all in vain
nobody wanted to listen
nobody wanted to hear that their way of life was
coming to an end
(failure is not an option
but it happens
with some regularity)
their signs go unread
their leaflets tossed aside as
unwanted detritus
filling the gutters with
hysterical warnings that would make
Chicken Little blush
wild claims that make the children cry
as harried mothers hurry them past
trying to ignore the shrill cries of these
sidewalk evangelists
desperately seeking to catch your eye
“do you know the Lord”
they ask as you pass
“I do”
my reply is calm and measured
the opposite of their current state
the look in their eye tells me
they don’t really believe me
but he says “Amen” and
turns away
looking for another soul to save
he has obviously left me to face
the end of the world
on my own
______________________________

April 10

This one was a real challenge: the prompt was to write a horror poem. Robert made a comment, most likely offhanded, that – perhaps – that we might just have the ‘next Raven’ out of the batch. Well, the problem began when I went and revisited Poe’s epic masterpiece and was, in a word, underwhelmed. I’m sorry – this probably makes me some sort of poetic heretic … but … ‘quoth the Raven nevermore’ does absolutely nothing for me. Of course, I’ve read many things that others have raved about that I found to be tediously wrought works of self-indulgent … well, never mind. Let’s just say I’ve never had aspirations of becoming a literary critic.

Prompt: Write a horror poem.

With Darkness Falling

The blowing wind could not dispel
the discomfort of that cold dark night
even as the howling fiends
danced around the cooling embers
of the extinguished fires

those devilish ghouls
sang their songs to the accompaniment of the winds
crying dolefully through the night with
the groaning of the trees
bending to the pressure of their unseen mates

while these maniacal dancing spirits
staked their claim for your vulnerable souls
the cold began to permeate your flesh
biting into your bones as you stood your ground
fighting off their advances with every breath

but it was not enough
not enough to stop the darkness
not enough to stop the cold
not enough to stop the pain
as it reached across the pit of the night

as the cold permeates beyond the marrow of your bones
chilling you to the depths of your essence
you finally succumb to the encroaching misery
your life force ebbing away
as an orgy of death overtakes you
pulling you into its welcoming embrace.

______________________________

April 11

Prompt: “The Last ____” fill in the blank and make that the title of the poem.

The Last Crusade

the army was assembled
just outside the Holy City
with weapons in hand
their thirst for blood was
overpowering them
these ‘warriors of God’
raised their hands to the heavens
invoking the name of their Lord
to bless what they were about to do
‘hear our cry, oh Lord,’ they called,
‘help us deliver your enemies into Your hands,’
their lust could not be contained
as they surged forward towards their goal
oblivious to the sound as the ground before them opened
enveloping them in a twisting mass of arms and legs
as they were delivered into the hands
of the Lord.

______________________________

April 18

Prompt: take the phrase ‘to ____’, fill in the blank or make a phrase, and write the poem – the phrase, etc. becomes the title.

To be

It has become
more
than an existential
statement
of being
‘whether ‘tis nobler’
or some such other
phrases
cobbled together
in some magnificent
collection
of words
long forgotten
by miscreants
who can’t be bothered
to study
the classics

_____________________________

April 19

Prompt:

write a poem about somebody; be sure to include their name in the title of the poem.

Ratzinger BXVI

How much did he know
they ask
knowing any answer will only arouse
more questions
more debate
more anger
knowing that he knew things
long before anyone could have expected
these paragons of virtue
to have swept the ‘sins of the father’
so easily under the skirts
of the marbled statues
in the Vatican sanctuary

______________________________

April 21

Prompt: Take the phrase ‘According to ____’, replacing the blank with a word or phrase, and make that the title of the poem.

According to the Many

I’m often told there is
nothing that can be done
to change the madness
we call our world
but every so often
I look around and see
small reasons for optimism
emerging out of the seemingly
endless abyss of psychosis
spewing from the lips of the
talking heads that have
enslaved so many of those we know …
but every now and then
there is a glimmer of hope as the
shackles of the mesmerizing messengers
are shrugged off
(if only for a few moments)
allowing independent thought
to take place
once again

______________________________

Well, that’s all for now … as I said, I’m not posting everything from the PAD challenge, just a selection of what has been written. More will be posted over the next few days as the challenge continues. Comments are always welcome and encouraged. Thanks again for reading.

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7 Responses to “Poems for your Consideration”

  1. Amy Barlow Liberatore Says:

    Your poem on the Pope was excellent. You nailed it. Brings to mind the phrase, “sins of the father.” I hope you will continue to post on PA. Don’t mind telling you, I was part of the problem there, as I would answer poems filled with hate speech with my own works challenging the writers to embrace compassion. My husband is a pastor. I am a bipolar jazz singer. Now THERE’S a match made in heaven, eh? Keep up the good work, o crazycomposer (I join you in that title, tho’ my “crazy” may be a bit more literal according to some!).

  2. aufzuleiden Says:

    Thank you, Amy, for the lovely comment. Your ‘sins of the father’ phrase was, in fact, in mind when I wrote the poem so you had the exact idea that I was aiming at there. As for the ‘crazy’ part – well, you nailed that as well. I’ve been living with bipolar (type II) for the past twenty years – literal is more than a middle name when it comes to crazy. I began using ‘CrazyComposer’ as an Internet ID when I first came online in the first days of the Usenet … can’t believe it’s been that long. Anyway, it’s been that long. Aufzuleiden is part of a quotation by Rilke – ‘Wie viel ist Aufzuleiden’ – how much suffering there is to get through – which is why I used that for this site (http://crazycomposer.blogspot.com is a different blog of mine).

    Thanks again,
    Peter – Aufzuleiden – CrazyComposer

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