|Let's all wish a happy birthday to|
who is hosting Poetry Friday today
at My Juicy Little Universe.
And if you're not ready to the daily prompts to end.. GREAT NEWS! The birthday girl herself, Heidi Mordhorst, is doing a poem-a-day project for her birthday month, March. Check it out at My Juicy Little Universe.
Today is Day 26 of Author Amok's 2015 poem-a-day project. We are spending February writing in response to sounds.
For a full description of the project and how to participate, please read this post. I hope you'll join us. I'll continue posting poems from Day 26 as they come in. Thanks to everyone who has sent in poems so far.
Our Day 26 prompt is the sound of a train. This sound was suggested by Myra of Gathering Books.
A train's whistle, the departures and arrivals echoing through a station, even a subway's clatter is a nostalgic sound for many of us.
In Patricia VanAmburg's prose poem, past and present -- memory and history and family story -- overlap as we move from phrase to phrase, the way we might move between train cars.
Changing Trains with My Parents
by Patricia VanAmburg
Even before the war—my mother rode trains by herself or with her sister—
days and nights on the town—no trouble with navigation—finding the way
to fine hotels—after the war my father rode trains in France—some filled
with orphans begging for cigarettes and chocolate—some cars still holding
Nazi loot—others stacked with corpses—he found his way home— now this
clanging metro car freezes both in their tracks—they quiver like mice before
the raptor—unable to board—I am screeching above the clammor—get on—
GET ON—but they are stationary—I must push them through the closing door.
My train poem also connects to memory. When my son (who is about to graduate from high school) was small, he was obsessed with all vehicles. Trains were his favorite. Naturally, I became a reluctant enthusiast.
By Laura Shovan
Word learned from my three year old
who sat in his car seat naming
every vehicle we drove past.
From him I came to know
a backhoe from a bulldozer.
The long-necked excavator
resembled an Apatosaurus
drinking at a muddy pond.
The long-necked crane,
more like a giraffe
picking leaves off the trees
with its open jaws.
From him, my knowledge
of train cars, whether
they moved people
or some other freight. How easy
it was to spot a pantograph—
a word I did not know
before my son arrived—
its thin electric arms reaching up,
holding fast to the charged wire
as the train darted from station
to station in a city
we were learning to love.
Linda Baie from Teacher Dance sent in an old poem today. (Totally fine, Linda!). She says, "I wanted to share this memory that occurs every time I hear that train blow the whistle."
late for the train
across platforms and tracks.
bumbled and buzzed, and we stumbled
in and out of shadows.
The whistle shrilled,
the engine roared,
so loud I startled.
We watched the train pull forward.
Click, clack, click, clack!
Click, clack, click, clack!
We ran faster.
My new husband whistled.
The conductor looked out,
and pulled a lever.
I wondered at the whistle’s power,
yet even more,
I marveled at this skill,
unknown to me.
And then grabbed the arm
of the mysterious man
I called my husband.
Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved
It snowed in Maryland again this morning. Many of us along the East Coast will enjoy the promise that Mike Ratcliffe's train brings. Mike explains, "My poem isn't in response to any one in particular, but more generally to the sound of a train moving along the rails."
Good Sleeping Weather
by Mike Ratcliffe
Spring peepers singing out back,
and in the distance,
a freight train's steady rhythm.
We're almost at the finish line, poets!
Here are all of the sound prompts for the last week of February. Remember, there will be a prize for our most prolific poet.
Footsteps in snow
Smoke on the Water
Suggested by Jennifer Lewis.
Sunday, March 1: Project Wrap-up
If you'd like some poem-starters to wake up your muse, you'll find them at the bottom of this post. Drop in any time with a poem. I’ll continue to post your work throughout the month, no matter which sound you are writing in response to.
Would you like to read what we’ve written so far? Here are links to the week 3 poems. Each of these posts links to the week 1 and 2 poems.
Santa Fe Church Bells Poems by Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Diane Mayr, Laura Shovan, and Charles Waters.
Quaking Aspen Poems by Diane Mayr, Charles Waters, Laura Shovan, Patricia VanAmburg, Mike Ratcliffe, and Karin Fisher-Golton.
Tuesday, February 17 -- new poem!
Laughing Child Poems by Charles Waters, Diane Mayr, Laura Shovan, Michael Ratcliffe, Linda Baie, Margaret Simon, and Heidi Mordhorst.
Mysterious Space Sound Poems by Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, and Margaret Simon.
Museum Stairwell Poems by Linda Baie, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Charles Waters, Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Patricia VanAmburg, and Karin Fisher-Golton.
Friday, February 20 -- new poems!
Reptile Poems by Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Mike Ratcliffe, Donna Smith, Robyn Hood Black, Buffy Silverman, and Charles Waters.
Traditional Chinese Music Poems by Diane Mayr, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Robyn Hood Black, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Carol Varsalona, Charles Waters, and Margaret Simon.