April 12, 2016

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

2015 Sound Poem Project Days 2 & 3: Angel Chimes and Sharp Knives

Welcome back, intrepid daily writers!

It's Day 3 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 poems from Day 2 and Day 3 as they come in.

Our Day 2 prompt was the sound of angel chimes.
Find these Swedish angel chimes
at Rakuten.
Our neighbors and good friends had angel chimes like these when I was growing up. I thought they were so cool, the way candle heat made the contraption spin and the spinning made music.

Diane Mayr sent a note with her poem: "inspired by the Änglaspel." Look for a full post about the poem on Diane's site, Random Noodling, this Friday 2/6/15.

After the Winter Storm
by Diane Mayr

Early morning sun's
apologetic smile gently
warms branches thickly-
battered. The ice delicately
crackles, then shatters.

As Sol's smile broadens
luminescence is flung
willy-nilly, tinkling to the
crusted snow below, fairly
setting the world aglow.

Margaret Simon used the Haiku Deck to create her poem. I'm posting two of the slides here, but I encourage you to visit Margaret's blog, Reflections on the Teche, to read a full post about this poem.

I had a couple of starts and stops with this poem. Something about the sound of the chimes reminded me of the rhythm of typing.

Angel Chimes
by Laura Shovan

If angels
wrote their poems
on old Corona typewriters,
this would be the sound
of their feathers
on the keys.

Isn't it fascinating that none of us wrote about the actual object, but focused on the sound and what it evoked for us? Linda Baie has another example how the chimes were reminiscent of another sound.

Old Things

In a tiny wooden cabinet
in my grandmother’s house
sat a tinkly drumming toy
rat-a-tatted by a mouse.

At its side I wound the key,
and pressed the tab for ‘go’.
The mouse’s arms moved up and down,
performing tin drum shows.

Time moved on; Grandmother died,
But I found the little toy
I played it with my memories,
of when I was a boy.

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

Patricia VanAmburg wrote about not hearing the sound of the chimes. Notice the layer that her title adds to this poem.

by Patricia VanAmburg

Even with aids
I do not hear
angels chiming—
I listen on air
and memory—
hearing only
voices of friends.

Charles Waters sent this lovely poem. Just gorgeous!

Miniature torches
Allow angels
To speak in their
Secret language.

(c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

Our Day 3 prompt was the sound of a knife being sharpened.

I know this one was challenging, even cringe-inducing. It gave me chills, just as chalkboard squeaks do for some people (or my most heebie-jeebie sound: tearing tinfoil). I haven't written my poem yet today, but I'm impressed with how all of you played with the sound and the idea of sharpness.

Diane Mayr writes: "Many, many (and a few more) years ago, in one of the helpful hints section of a magazine, I read a tip on what to do if you're caught without a nail file."

Sharp Advice for a Modern Woman

by Diane Mayr

If you're away from home and break a nail,
you don't need to worry the raggedy tip
of your finger until you're ready to scream.

Excuse yourself and head to the nearest
powder room. Look around for a bit of tiling.
Grout, also known as mortar, separates tiles.

Grout is a filling material made of fine
cement or plaster that when dry provides
a perfectly good emery board substitute.

Rub the broken edge of nail in a quick
one-directional motion. In almost no time,
your nail will be smooth enough to forget.

When you stop obsessing you'll start
paying attention to what's important.
A modern woman needs to be sharp!

You poets are full of surprises. Check out Linda Baie's clever take on sharpness.


He’d been sharpening
his voice all the day,
as actor after actor
No one made the cut.

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

Here's a cut of a different kind from Charles Waters.

Piercing platters of steel
Systematically sharpened
For animal autopsies.

(c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved. 

Like me, Margaret Simon found the knife-sharpening sound difficult to listen to. But there's poetry everywhere, right? I love the small portrait we get of this couple.

The grapefruit
heavy and ripe
holds firm to its rind
guards sour juice
making him reach 
for the knife sharpener
grating my nerves 
on a Monday morning. 

by Margaret Simon

My entry is late today. I'm looking at the act of sharpening a knife as a metaphor. For what? I'm not sure yet. Perhaps that will come in a future draft.

On Edge
by Laura Shovan

One long stroke
makes you thinner, sharper.
Each glide along the steel
smooths imperfections, nicks.
With each stroke, part of you
is filed away.

Can you tell from the poem that I was interested in the repetitive sound of the knife being sharpened? 

And because so many of us are dealing with winter weather, I saved Patricia Van Amburg's contribution for last.

by Patricia Van Amburg

Sharpened skate blades
On frozen face of pond
Cutting silver scars

I turned in my book today, everyone. I'm looking forward to having a restful weekend visiting Albuquerque, where my dear friend Jennifer Lewis lives. Writing in response to the sound prompts will be a great way for me to transition away from the middle grade novel-in-verse.

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. 

Just for fun:

Knock, knock.
Who's there?

Knife who?

Knife to meet you!


Margaret Simon said...

So many great words on the page. I'd like to steal a few. willy-nilly, rat-a-tat to name two. Uh, oh, if I'm not careful I'll start writing another poem. This can be addictive.

Linda B said...

Oh my, these are wonderful, Laura, Diane and Margaret. Love that "tinkling to the crusted snow" and the poem with the tip, Diane, "a modern woman needs to be sharp." And I saw that "two-step" earlier & laughed, Margaret, plus the morning image of the couple with the grapefruit-terrific & bitter, but fun, too. The Corona idea with angels typing with feathers-wouldn't it be a lovely picture drawn, Laura? Finally Patricia, those 'silver scars'. I've ice skated on lakes a lot through the years & this is a perfect image!
Great stuff!

Author Amok said...

Ha! And you all thought the sounds would be difficult. Look at the great work you are generating. It makes hosting this project so much fun for me.

Diane Mayr said...

Such good work, everyone. Have a great relaxing trip, Laura. You deserve it after completing your revision. One step closer to seeing it in print!