April 12, 2016

Friday, February 6, 2015

2015 Sound Poem Project Days 5 and 6: Ballet and Theremin

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone. All this month, I am inviting poets to join me in a daily writing workout.

This week's Poetry Friday
host is Elizabeth Steinglass.
Today is Day 6 of Author Amok's 2015 poem-a-day project.

We are spending February writing in response to sounds. I spent Thursday traveling to Albuquerque (the mountains -- wow!), so I'm posting the Day 5 and Day 6 responses today.

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 Days 5 and 6 as they come in.

Our Day 5 prompt was the sound of a ballet dancer, without music.

Diane Mayr of Random Noodling did a little research to write her poem today. "After listening to the clip, I wanted to see what the title was in English, so I used the translator and enkele sprongen van een danser came back as 'a few jumps a dancer,'" says Diane. I love how that grammatical construction helped form this poem.

enkele sprongen van een danser 
(A Few Jumps a Dancer) 
by Diane Mayr

A few whistles a bird.
A few licks a puppy.
Too many whistles a penalty.
Too many licks an assault.

A few jumps a dancer.
A few words a poem.
Too many jumps a diagnosis.
Too many words a rejection.  

A few flowers a nosegay.
A few tears a reunion.
Too many flowers a funeral bier. 
Too many tears a broken heart.

Margaret Simon (Reflections on the Teche) sends her ballet poem out to a friend who is going through a difficult time.

Ballet Practice
by Margaret Simon

Body of intense beauty
strength of muscles flexed
arabesque held still.

Life ends.
We know it must.

Beauty dissolves
into a limp plie’
held en pointe
by loving hands.

I was fascinated with how muscular the sounds of the dancer's feet are, something we do not hear when there is music accompanying the dance.

Without Music
by Laura Shovan

Leather sole
grinds against
wooden floor.
Dancer spins.
Slipper squeaks.
Muscles of leg
and foot push,
resist, lift
and fall. Nothing
is without effort.

Patricia VanAmburg was also interested in the action of dance. I like how she moved the ballet outdoors in this poem.

       Spring Me Into…

crocus and daffodil
unforced forsythia
tulip poplar
wren song
clouds like lambs
open windows
sidewalk chalk
children shouting
the smell of wet dirt
spring me…
(PV: This one is for Renee the Tulip)

Thanks to "Renee The Tulip" for suggesting a theater-related sound clip! Ballet was the closest thing I could find. And that's a good thing -- we had amazing responses to this prompt.

We have one more poem from Charles Waters -- an acrostic. What beautiful sounds reverberate through the last line here!


Bending your spirit,
Allowing whirlwinds of movement to take hold:
Leaping, spinning, swaying,
Letting muscle memory take the lead,
Enjoying each nanosecond of this moment,
Taking a bow as rose petals float from the rafters.

(c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

Our Day 6 prompt was the theremin. 

Thanks to Matt Forrest Esenwine for this suggestion. The theremin player in our clip is performing the Doctor Who opening theme. And you know I am a true, TARDIS blue Whovian.

Matt joins us with his take on this sound:


A violin without its strings;
yet still, it sings – 
oh, how it sings.

– © 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine 

Charles Waters also has a small theremin poem today.

A sword less sorcerer,
A wand less magician,
A skill less superhero,
A musical apparition.

(c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

Patricia VanAmburg said the music reminded her of a slow motion horse race. Extra points for the clever title.

Dr. Who—By a Nose
by Patricia VanAmburg

horses hooves
in slow motion
tail winds

In slow motion
stretching corners
tail winds
quicken the pace

stretching corners
using the whip
quicken the pace
sliding in mud

using the whip
harp strung
sliding in mud
saved by the wire

Margaret Simon took time to do some research into the theremin -- a new instrument for her. It's no surprise that Margaret initially mistook the theremin performer for the conductor of the orchestra.

Revealing Energy
by Margaret Simon

The director’s hands
stir the air like a scientist.
Vibrating fingers
tune an invisible voice;
sound becomes color—a rainbow
of intonations exploring
the foreign frontier
of our ears.

From the Theremin Society.
I like the little nod to Star Trek in your poem, Margaret.

Next, Diane Mayr describes a dream-state in her theremin poem. Bonus points to you, too! The title of this poem rhymes with your name, Diane.

RĂªves d'hiver
By Diane Mayr

In my sleep I hear
the newly arrived
hermit thrush
whistle then
launch into
full song.

Is it?
Is it finally,

I pull aside
the blinds
to look.

Only a handful
of house sparrows
outside, and none
of them singing.

February dreams are
surely the cruelest
of all.

Nothing from me for Day 6 yet. I may have to hop in my time machine and come back later with a Doctor Who poem.

UPDATE: After hiking in Tent Rocks park, I came up with a little theremin acrostic.

Playing Space
by Laura Shovan

Touch air.
Hands move
Energy. Fingers
Reverberate through
Electromagnetic field.
Music is there
In the space we call


And we have a few additional authors joining us today. Here is Buffy Silverman's theremin poem.

Summer Lullaby
by Buffy Silverman
crickets chirp
katydids chatter
rabbits thump
wood thrush warble
tree frogs peep
screech owls whinny
red fox bark
bullfrogs bellow
brown bats squeak
bobcats growl
windows shut
finally…. sleep

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

Read Water Wheel Poems by Laura Shovan, Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, and Charles Waters.

Read Angel Chimes Poems by Diane Mayr, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, and Charles Waters. 

Read Knife Sharpening Poems by Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Charles Waters, and Patricia VanAmburg.

Read Thunderstorm Poems by Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Patricia VanAmburg, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, and Charles Waters.

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. 

And for early birds, here are the sound clips for week two. I hope you can join us, even if it's dropping in for a poem or two. Leave your poetic contribution in the comments or send it to me by email at mrs poems at gmail dot com.


Renee LaTulippe said...

Laura, I love that you found the ballet clip. The thunk of toe shoes on a stage is such a cool sound, but also very lonely to me. Love what Diane did with that translation.

And Patricia -- thanks for the shout out for your lovely poem. Signed, Renee the Tulip. :D

So many wonderful pieces being written to these inspirational sounds!

Catherine Johnson said...

These are all lovely poems.

Margaret Simon said...

Diane and Patricia have a master use of form. I loved all of these and how the strength of the dancer and the high pitch of the music led us into similar themes. Can we meet for coffee and some writing time together?

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Some wonderful poems you've shared here! Sorry I'm late - I've been tied up with myriad writing projects this week - but I HAD to offer this short theremin poem:


A violin without its strings;
yet still, it sings –
oh, how it sings.

– © 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine

Robyn Hood Black said...

(How did we get this many days into February already?!! I'll try to jump in at some point!)
Laura, you come up with the best stuff. And "The Tulip"'s suggested clip brought forth poetic magic. I'm pretty amazed by Diane's poem - and, of course, she had to know more about the title and then run with it!

Mary Lee said...

I'm feeling like Robyn! How did this opportunity fall so completely off my radar? Three cheers for all the wonderful poems!

Anonymous said...

Coffee with poets--my favorite. And look the blog is letting me post now--though I have to use anonymous :0

Anonymous said...

When you are anonymous, you need to learn to sign :) Patricia

Diane Mayr said...

When I comment, I have to learn to click on "publish" after I prove I'm not a robot. I forgot what I wrote yesterday, so let me just say Brava!

Liz Steinglass said...

Wow. What a great idea. You think of such amazing projects--postcards, pantone colors, sounds. I'll definitely have to give this a try.

Tara said...

I wondered where this would lead, Laura - and now I see that it leads to beauty. What an adventure!

Catherine said...

These poems are amazing! Your acrostic for Theramin describes this instrument, which was new to me, perfectly. Thanks for sharing this inspiring project!

GatheringBooks said...

I feel like there's a buffet of gorgeous words out here. Lovely poems.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

So many AMAZING poems here, Laura! The inspired mass of energy you're producing with this project is through the roof!