Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Poetry Stretch: First Lines/New Directions

I have not been doing my poetry stretches the last few weeks. I am likely out of poetical shape. I hope to catch up at some point by writing a poem in each of the forms Tricia has put forward as challenges. This week she has invented a form called “First Lines and New Directions”.

Tricia admits to dream-blogging during the pastor’s sermon last Sunday. I have engaged in that little sin myself. (Sorry, David!) One of my favorite Sunday morning pasttimes is perusing the Methodist Hymnal for alternate tunes for well known hymns. Our hymnbook has a bunch if indices: composers, authors, sources, scripture references, tune names, first lines, topics, etc. My favorite is the metrical index. It allows you to find those alternate tunes that will work for a particular hymn.

Miss Tricia wants us to take one of her “first lines” and write a new poem with that beginning. Do you think we may produce a second great poem that begins “I wandered lonely as a cloud...”? I’m gonna give it a shot.

"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"

“I wandered lonely as a cloud” -
The opening’s set, I like it fine.
It worked well once, most have allowed.
Now I attempt to tune each line
To sing the beauty of my Earth
And speak the most of each word’s worth.

I stalk a trail and flush surprise
These latter days across the sea.
No less the jonquils, to my eyes -
And iris, pink, and tulip tree,
Assassin bug and water snake -
A galaxy of glory make.

I gaze with wonder, like ol’ Will,
A happy poet in his ken,
Hoping sparkling warbler’s trill
Can flow from tree to brain to pen,
And you on couch, or chair or bed
Will hear the song when I am dead.

So true, when all is writ and done,
Whatever labor takes our time -
Poems or plumbing, or fill in one -
Since we emerged from primal slime,
Our fancy's eye replays our thrills -
Lovers, poems, or daffodils.
- by Terrell Shaw

For the record here is William Wordsworth's original:

"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

- by William Wordsworth

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