Monday, February 21, 2022

FHE Poetry

I'm taking a poetry class right now, which is wonderful and stressful at the same time. Mostly wonderful, I think.

One of the books I read recently—The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo—had an exercise inside (p. 30) that gave the reader a list of 10 nouns, 10 verbs, and 10 adjectives, and challenged them to write a poem using 5 of each of the nouns, verbs, and adjectives to craft a poem that:
  1. is three stanzas long with six lines per stanza, four beats per line (with some wiggle room)
  2. includes at least two internal and one external slant rhyme per stanza
  3. has only two end stops per stanza
  4. makes grammatical sense
  5. but is, on the whole, meaningless
Part of the lesson here is that even when you try to write something meaningless, meaning will be there nonetheless, but it can help you approach poetry without a predetermined agenda, focusing more on the sound of things rather than a "message" you want to communicate. 
So I tried it the other night and came up with a rather silly poem about Jacob and Esau in a contemporary setting:

Said Jacob to Esau
I ruined the spoon
That curved sweetly
To kiss your mouth
As hot red stuff
Trickled down your
Throat like heavenly

Mud. Your birthright
Cut, cooked, served sweet,
Cool, like revenge.
I hugged your heels
Til they bruised blue,
Leap-frogged ahead

To say, “The spoon
Danced sharply in
The garburator!”
When I blamed you
Beck’s eyes went wild—
This spoon’ll bite twice.

I don't have much to say about it, other than the fact that as we were reading the story of Jacob and Esau we all felt a little sorry for Esau and all the trickery of Jacob and Rebekah. So it was nice to read Genesis 33 today and feel a little vindicated for Esau, who is doing just fine for himself. 

Anyway, for FHE we wrote some poetry based on our readings of the Old Testament and shared them with each other. Writing these poems caused us to ask questions (like, how many children did Esau have? and what was Lot's wife's name?) and ponder about things we might have otherwise never have bothered to ponder about. 

Alexander wrote a simple poem that said, "Rachel is a childsnatcher." 

We're not really sure what he means by that and his explanation was murky, but he more or less got all those letters down on the page, so we're proud of his efforts.

Zoë's poem is:

Esau + Jacob
"Give me some of that red, red stuff"
Said he. Said brother Jacob, "Sell your
Birthright first." Said Esau to 
Jacob, "You are the worst!"

Benjamin wrote the following:

Jacob and Esau
Jacob and Esau the non-perfect pair:
"Can I eat some of that red, red stuff, brother?"
"Sell your birthright," says Jacob the sly.
Esau, the victim, says, "Okay, brother."
Jacob with 13 children, Easau with nine.

Cain and Abel
Cain murders Abel!
The Lord says, "What happened, Cain?"

Lord of lies.

Miriam also wrote two poems; her second poem was a family favourite (though I think we all laughed the hardest when Zoë spat out her last line of "You are the worst," which was quite unexpected):

Looking back was not sinful
She was just afraid
She was afraid of what was to come
Turned into salt, the only one
She was not sinful, that's just how she was portrayed

Birthright for Soup
To the first one it was a joke
To the second a scheme
To the first it gave a yoke
To the second, a regime

Rachel wrote some impactful haiku and a couplet:

The woman looked back
Instead of looking forward
And stayed forever

"Get out of the city!" the angels said.
"No thanks," said the family
Who'd rather stay in bed.

"Where is he?" said God. "With you I see no other."
"Who knows?" responded Cain, "I don't keep my brother."

 I worked on a pantoum of sorts:

Lot's wife was lost
When she looked back
To see the lot of Sodom.

When she looked back
Lot's wife transformed
From woman into sodium.

Lot's wife transformed
In a monumental moment,
Still tall, despite her odium.

In a monumental moment
In the hills of Israel
Lot's wife was lost.

Andrew worked on an American cinquin about Jacob and Esau's reunion and a haiku and Rachel stealing Laban's idols:

Maybe angry?
Coming to visit me?
Parade my wealth to boast and calm.
We good?

Nicked the household gods—
Dad's coming. Quick! Sit on them!
"Can't stand up. Girl stuff."

All in all, it was a lovely way to spend an evening. I just love forcing/coercing/convincing people to write poetry with me!

No comments:

Post a Comment