April 12, 2016

Friday, February 20, 2015

2015 Sound Poem Project Day 20: Reptiles

It’s Day 20 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 19 as they come in. Thanks to everyone who has sent in poems so far.

Thanks for playing along today, everyone. I know this prompt had a little bit of an ick factor for many of us. Our instructions were to go to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's online Macauley Library and ...

Our Day 20 prompt is: pick your reptile sound.

He's a noisy fellow: Tokay Gecko

I had to laugh when Margaret Simon sent this note with her poem: “Reptiles are not my favorite, so I just chose the first one.”

Stretched tight rubber band
sling shots guttural alarm
Gecko gets gumption

Let’s get Patricia VanAmburg’s poem in here, because you’ll see the connection to the photograph Margaret shared. This poem is a lovely little ode to our gecko.

Tokay Gecko
By Patricia VanAmburg

Raspberries to you O
red spotted dragon—
the yoga breath
of wind breaker pose—
gobbler of small birds—
connoisseur of crickets

I love the comical little couplet at the end of Mike Ratcliffe’s gecko poem. Mike captures part of what makes geckos such fascinating little creatures.

Gekko gecko on my wall-- croak-croak,
your name an echo of your call.
Fifteen minutes, I watch you crawl.
I must learn why you never fall.

Hmm… Another gecko poem. No rattlers? No giant monitor poems in the crowd? Here is Linda Baie’s gecko poem.

Dreaming Distress (Tokay Gecko)

Kittens mew
Puppies whimper
Bears moan
Ponies nicker
And geckos,
geckos? Yes,
a sad tone,
squeaking screams,
in their dreams.

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

Typical of me. I had to, albeit unknowingly, be different. I wondered what the quiet juvenile cobra in the video clips must think of all those noisy scientists.

The Cobra Yawns
By Laura Shovan

I yawn. The humans
are too busy talking
to hear the quiet crick
as my jaw stretches wide.
I slide. Their chit chat
hides the silky brush
of scales on wood.
Muscles stretch.
Stripes glide. I flick
my tongue at the air.
Do they care?
They yammer on.
No wonder humans think
my coils are wound
without a sound.

Donna Smith ofMainely Write has a poem for team snake. She chose a snake that is common to her home state of Maine. What a shapely poem.

Common Garter Snake -- Thamnophis sirtalis
by Donna Smith

S s
     ss            i i 
         s s    i i       l         l   
             i i            e    t     y

I crawl to be 
        over rocks 
             and under tree
                  and then I stop
    and all you heard
        was the 
           crinkly word
                  of a leaf 
                       I crossed or a 
               crossing bee.
        you won’t

One more for Team Snake! Thanks to Robyn Hood Black for sending in this rattler poem -- what a great metaphor.

Call My Bluff
by Robyn Hood Black


playing card
in the spokes of 
my purple bicycle’s back wheel
speeding up/slowing down
back forth back
must be a 


Wow -- the snake poems are making a late rally. Here is one from Charles Waters.


 Multi-designed garden hoses
Of serpentine movement;
Forked tongue flicker,
Fang baring, venom sharing muncher,
Buzzing like a radiator on the fritz,
A lawnmower sputtering to
An empty gas tank
Or a bike chain scratching
Concrete after falling off
Its frame.

(c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

And a true close encounters of the snake-kind story from Buffy Silverman:

"Yours truly was the nature center teacher with a bunch of fifth graders throwing hula hoops that landed around a rattlesnake."

Massasauga Morning
by Buffy Silverman
Away from the forest trail
they tromp through damp fields,
mud oozing under each sneakered foot.
They circle around as
the teacher explains their task:
toss the hula hoop,
identify and count every plant in the hoop,
record what they find,
then toss again.
The fifth graders jostle one another,
uncertain of how to begin,
their chatter a low hum of confusion.
Finally a girl steps forward, grabs the hoop and tosses;
the others sprint to where it lands
clipboards banging against eager legs.
They edge forward then
as leaves crinkle
grasses bend
under the slithering body
that stops
raises a rattle
its ratcheting sound
raising hairs on the backs of every neck.
The teacher hurries them away
to a safe distance
where they listen in awe
and watch the Massasauga.

Here are all of the sound prompts for the third week of February. I will post our final seven sound prompts on Saturday, 2/21.

Sunday, February 15

Video of Santa Fe's Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi by my Albuquerque friend, Jennifer Lewis.

Monday, February 16
Quaking aspen. Read more about this sound here.

Laughing child

The sounds of space
Museum stairwell

Friday, February 20
Follow the link to choose your reptile.
You'll need to turn the volume high to hear this one.

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 2 poems. You can find links to the week 1 poems on all of these posts:

Sound of Waves Poems by Patricia VanAmburg, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Laura Shovan, Margaret Simon, and Charles Waters.

Bubbling Cauldron Poems by Diane Mayr, Charles Waters, Laura Shovan, and Buffy Silverman.

Fireworks Poems by Charles Waters, Diane Mayr, and Laura Shovan.

Classic Typewriter Sound Poems by Patricia VanAmburg, Diane Mayr, Charles Waters, Mike Ratcliffe, and Laura Shovan.

Mockingbird Poems by Linda Baie, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Charles Waters, and Margaret Simon.

Cape Eagle Owl Call Poems by Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, and Diane Mayr.

Male Woodcock Mating Call Poems by Diane Mayr, Patricia VanAmburg, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, and Charles Waters.


Anonymous said...

I had to write about the gecko noise Laura--it was so (f)artful. Sorry. BTW, I admire your rhyme of sound/wound--can hear the slither.
Good ol' anonymous

Linda B said...

I like the 'wound' and 'sound' too. When I listened to my 'tokay gecko' there was no picture, & the sound was rather screechy. Could there be more than one sound? I actually wondered what it would be like to be a recorder of reptile sounds. Sometimes I discover occupations that have never occurred to me, & how does one find them? Interesting poems all. I like the arrangement, Donna. I think I need to learn some more about reptiles!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Okay, I'm finally in. Confession - Wrote this during the time it took to play the recording, so it might need some polish? But I'm going to leave it here anyway or I fear I won't get back today! (Formatting not working here; if text is centered, the lines should give the desired effect!)

Call My Bluff

playing card
in the spokes of
my purple bicycle’s back wheel
speeding up/slowing down
back forth back
must be a

Anonymous said...

Linda: my gecko sound was like sticking your tongue out and blowing.

Linda B said...

And my sound was rather screechy, sounded fearful. Hm-m, now I know why they research the sounds, and perhaps observe the body movements at the same time? Thanks, Patricia.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to try to find your screechy sound Linda. P.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Thanks for posting my poem, Laura! I wish I could get indenting to work; if the lines are all centered it makes a diamond. :0)

Robyn Hood Black said...

Hi, Laura -
Can I leave one here for the Saturday (21st) sound?


on a whiff of jasmine tea, and

(You talk of flight.)

bow in balance on the string
I listen. Sip.

(You balance words.)

Look – someone has left open
the wire door
of the cage.

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.