I missed last week, but I have a doctor's note for the teacher.
It turns out that the pain on my lower right side is not a wonky appendix, but an ovarian cyst. I felt so ridiculous being gurney-wheeled past the ER nurse's station that I had to give them my best QEII Royal Wave. The nurses thought I had been given too much morphine. "No," I said, "I'm just naturally funny."
|Little known fact: My middle name is Elizabeth, after the Queen.|
There has been a trend in Poetryville over the last few years. I call it "Don't Go There" Odes. The trend has its roots in Pablo Neruda's Odes to Common Things -- socks, a tomato for lunch, laziness.
Lately, poets are taking the simple things to mean "things we don't like to talk about." At the last few Dodge Poetry Festivals, I have heard odes to television (Robert Pinsky), pork (Kevin Young), and toilets (Sharon Olds with a nod, I think, to Ferlinghetti's poem "Underwear").
Like an overbooked radiology lab, the Internet would not give up any information about ovarian odes. Nothing about blisters growing on that little jellyfish-head looking thingy on your insides. (Side note: my doc drew a lovely picture of the uterus and ovaries for me. It resembled an elephant wearing ovary earrings.)
The next best thing to an ovarian ode is Sharon Olds' "Ode to a Tampon." I happened to be at the Dodge Festival for this reading. You'll see her toilet ode first. Be prepared for some toilet-appropriate four-letter words. Or you can skip ahead to about 3:02 for "Ode to a Tampon." I've got a prompt after the video, so stay put!
WRITING PROMPT (HS and up):
So, brave educators. Do you dare to go there with your high schoolers? Pablo Neruda used the ode form -- not to write about grand emotions like love, or monuments (isn't there an ode to limestone) or Grecian Urns -- but to draw our attention to everyday things.
The natural next step in the life of this form is to draw our attention to so-called unmentionables and show why they are worth mentioning, even celebrating. (Odes are a great place to practice hyperbole, BTW.)
In these poems, television is a channel (!) to the past and a window to memory, we can talk about where meat comes from and why we love it, toilets and tampons -- where would we be without them?
I challenge you to write a "Don't Go There" Ode today. Maybe my cysty ovary and I will join you.
Myra at Gathering Books is our host today. Do go there, to Gathering Books, for more Poetry Friday.