Thursday, December 5, 2013

Poetry On Demand

Long gone are the days when a bard-poet would station himself in the public square to provide entertainment both humorous and serious. Well, there was Roving Typist, who set up to write ‘Stories While You Wait’ on the New York City streets this past summer (and endured internet bullying for his efforts). 

When I heard that my church was going to host a craft show, I thought it might be a good, safe place for our Younger Daughter to become civically engaged and put her poetry-writing ability to good use.  “Let’s have a ‘Poetry Table’ at the craft show!” I said enthusiastically.  She probably felt like she had been volunteered, but she agreed.

Just some of the wonderful things available at our craft show.
Those lavender cookies were awesome!
We spent some time ahead of the event choosing and printing poems, some by famous poets, all in the public domain (e.g. Shakespeare).  She also picked a few poems of her own that she had written for other occasions. 

Then she asked, “How much should I charge?”  Hmm.  It is unlikely that anyone coming to a craft fair is going to pay for poems printed on plain paper without any visual art added.  So I said, “Let’s just ask for donations, and you can send the money you collect to a charity.  Pick the charity ahead of time, so you can let people know where their donations are going.”  She has aspirations of being a cell biologist working towards a cure for cancer, so she picked cancer research as her charity.

I encouraged her also to offer to write poems on the spot, on a topic of the donor’s choice.  This is a hard thing to do, even if rhyme is not required, since poetry usually comes from inspiration, not assignment. Also, penmanship, not one of YD’s strong points, counts in this scenario. 
Post-It Note poem in honor of Lauren

The bard at work, inspired by her muse, Einstein
People attending the craft show were wary.  What is this non-craft thing being offered?  Why is Einstein at a craft show?  Some people were kind enough to participate, either taking a pre-printed poem, or asking YD to write them a poem on a variety of ideas, including metal, a vegetable, prayer, an acrostic on the name ‘Lauren’, and fall leaves.  YD succeeded at writing a poem for most of the topics.  Unprompted, she wrote a saga, in rhyme, about a Boy Scout who sends his mother away when he is packing for a scout trip.

As the Roving Typist in NYC probably learned, it is hard to make megabucks with words.  Our poetry table earned $42.50 in donations for UPCI.  But YD’s sense of accomplishment was great.  I think Einstein enjoyed it too.

Please enjoy three of her poems below.  No copying.

 A Doodle

A hand
Across the paper.
A world
Underneath my fingers.
I see
The lines
Drawn, slowly, across the years.
In one minute, two,
Millenia go by.
I watch
The things
I draw
Slowly, slowly.
A nation
A hand
Slowly make the years flash by.
An uprising
An evil overthrown
As the hand moves
The hand gives
The hand takes.

I am the God.
I am the one
Who decides the fate
Of all who I see
Bowing before me.
I am the one who is.
I draw. 

 © All Rights Reserved. 

Oh, Deciduous Trees

Oh, deciduous trees, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
One leaf
Two leaf
Red leaf
A pile upon the frosty ground.
I jump.
One, two, red, yellow, orange
Fly from me.
Oh, deciduous trees, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
One swing
Two swing
Back swing
I jump.
The swing swings far
Behind me.

Oh, deciduous trees, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
One branch
Two branch
Thin branch
A warning to the waiting climber.
I jump.
I grab a branch, the ground far
Below me.
Oh, deciduous trees, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
But how can one count the two
Ways that you,
Oh deciduous trees,
Have let me leap
Not back to the ground
But back, back
Back into the time
Of childhood.

 © All Rights Reserved. 

The Saga of the Packing Boy Scout

Once, in suburban mountains cold
There lived a Boy Scout, large and strong
Who felt, though he was twelve years old
That he had to bring a pack along
For soon a quest would take him off
Deep into parts of worlds unknown
And he knew, though you might now scoff,
That a pack would help him hold his own.

And so he packed, this great Boy Scout,
Three pairs of socks, and uniform,
Food, water, a map (for the route),
And set off into growing storm.
The Scout trekked long, but soon he found
He hadn’t brought a woolen hat
Or gloves, for he his mom profound
Had sent away when he had packed.
So now the Scout, he wanders still
Through the unknown parts of old
With no hat against the chill
Once, in suburban mountains cold.

© All Rights Reserved. 


Sarah said...

Wow! That's a lot of effort! Good for her!

The Crislers said...

I can't decide which is my favorite: "A Doodle" or "The Saga of the Packing Boyscout." I'm always a little amazed at poets, mostly because I truly suck at poetry.

Anonymous said...

Brava! That Boy Scout poem is charming, but my favorite is Deciduous Trees. What a cool idea.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Oh, she is talented!
I would love a poetry table at a craft fair.

smalltownme said...

Her poems are wonderful!