April 12, 2016

Sunday, February 1, 2015

2015 Sound Poem Project Day 1: Water Wheel

UPDATED POST: Now featuring more poetry.

Welcome, writers!

It's Day 1 of our 2015 poem-a-day project. We will spend the next 28 days 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 Day 1 poems as they come in.

Today's prompt was the sound of a waterwheel. 

Water wheel design from
Alternative Energy Tutorials.

I took many notes for this prompt and heard from other poets that I wasn't alone. I loved the waltzing beat of the mill, ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three. I was intrigued with all of the verbs I could brainstorm after listening to the clip:


Watching the water wheel video that was paired with our sound clip, I kept thinking about Joni Mitchell's song, "The Circle Game." I learned the song in fourth or fifth grade, during summer camp. I have always remembered the lines about the seasons going round and round.

I'm still working on book revisions, so my poem response is short today: a haiku.

by Laura Shovan

rush, tumble, pound
what was inside a cloud
moves the wheel around

With "The Circle Game" as my current earworm, I hear the cycle of life in Margaret Simon's poem, "Waterwheel." Magaret blogs at Reflections on the Teche.

Water Wheel
by Margaret Simon

Sound ever present
ever flowing
Rushing wind

Crash of violent  waves
power driving
force to wheel

Slow creaking wood
turns wheat to grain
scooped by hand

For you
to make

The water wheel sound clip was a great fit for Diane Mayr. She writes, "I live not far from Lowell, MA and its mills, plus, I've been writing about child laborers, many who worked in water-powered mills, so this poem came from that knowledge." You can visit Diane's blog Random Noodling to check out some of the poems from this powerful series.  

The Sound of Falling Water
by Diane Mayr

Water ran the wheels
that ran the turbines
that turned the gears
that powered the pulleys
that started the looms to
weaving miles of cloth
that covered the bodies
of ladies for whom the
sound of falling water
was that of afternoon tea
poured into china cups.

Linda Baie of Teacher Dance also sent in a poem today. This one feels mysterious to me. I want to know what's going on, but the speaker seems afraid to tell me. What is his or her family hiding from, and why?

I used to love the rain

The rushing water
fills our ears,
hushes our voices.
We strain to hear
beyond the rain.
Blinded by the dark,
we choose this prison,
hoping it will keep us
from another.

There, there are voices,
steps squeaking the floorboards.
Mama hugs me tight,
Papa touches my shoulder.
Breaths stopped, we wait
and wait
and wait.

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

We have two new water wheel poems today.

I love all of the grrs and tics and esses in this small poem by Patricia Van Amburg.

O Water Wheel
by Patricia Van Amburg

Inside grinding ratchets
Outside static and foam
Juicy sluice memory

Making his first contribution to the annual Author Amok poetry project, it's children's poet Charles Waters! I'm so glad you're joining us this year, Charles. Welcome and thanks for this lovely little metaphor.

A vertical splashing,
Circular crashing,

(c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

Thanks, everyone. If you have a water wheel poem, post it in the comments or send it to me via email at mrs poems at gmail dot com.

Here are all of the sound prompts for the first week of February:

Thanks to Renee LaTulippe for the suggestion.

Matt Forrest Esenwine, I love this recommendation.

Saturday, February 7: Listener's Choice -- pick your endangered sound.

If you'd like some poem-starters to wake up your muse, you'll find them at the bottom of this post. I hope I hear from you tomorrow. (See what I did there?)

Let's end today with Joni Mitchell.


Diane Mayr said...

What a fabulous beginning! And Laura, you're right about Linda's poem. Linda, tell us more!

Linda B said...

So, when I listened, not only did I hear the water rushing (like rain), but those noises, then voices. For some reason I immediately thought of a dark, rainy night, & the Gestapo (or the Soviets later) coming to arrest a family, thus this is a memory of a young child in hiding with his parents. No one mentioned the voice. Did I listen too long? Love the other poems, too. This will be a good time, Laura, Diane & Margaret. Diane, I like the connection to your child laborers writing, and those 'circles' of yours & Margaret's, Laura.

Margaret Simon said...

I did hear the voice, Linda, but I didn't focus on it because it was in Swedish. Your poem captures the feeling of being trapped. I had a dark feeling in the beginning until the Swedish man handed me the pound of flour. I love reading all of our different responses.

Tabatha said...

Wonderful start to the project!! Love these. I am still hearing the sound of tea poured into china cups.

Author Amok said...

Thank you for the update, Linda. I'm thinking of your family surviving behind that damp, dark, noisy water wheel.

Anonymous said...

Still trying to post a comment :) Glad to be back in this company. Patricia