18 April 2010

April Poem A Day Challenge Day 18

Oh, just when we were on a roll, along comes another title poem prompt to slow me down.

Poetic Asides: For today's prompt, take the phrase "To (blank)," replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Some examples: "To the left, to the left," "To write or not to write," "To Kill a Hummingbird," "To the Doghouse," etc. There are so many possibilities.

There may be many possibilities, but I wasn't finding them. "To..." implies an action, a direction, some sort of orderly process of events. "To Infinity, and Beyond", "To Die Another Day" "To Hell and Back", not to mention other movie titles and catch phrases. As soon as I brain dumped those, other familiar phrases started arising. "Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth". Oops, that was a Too, not a To. Strike that.

Appeals to the Muse went unanswered. Finally, I just started writing something. And came up with a poem titled: To Make Something Out Of Nothing. Pretty appropriate.

I wasn't entirely happy with it, so I wrote another poem, and decided to tack a To title on later. "To The West, Out Of The Sun, Rode The Stranger" is what evolved. It's not quite the John Wayne poem you think it is, but hey, I'm out west, the sun is setting, and I'm pretty strange, so there you go.

Here is a "Two" picture, (As in two geese seen on a walk) and a poem by Argentinean poet Jorge Luis Borges.

The Other Tiger
by Jorge Luis Borges

A tiger comes to mind. The twilight here
Exalts the vast and busy Library
And seems to set the bookshelves back in gloom;
Innocent, ruthless, bloodstained, sleek
It wanders through its forest and its day
Printing a track along the muddy banks
Of sluggish streams whose names it does not know
(In its world there are no names or past
Or time to come, only the vivid now)
And makes its way across wild distances
Sniffing the braided labyrinth of smells
And in the wind picking the smell of dawn
And tantalizing scent of grazing deer;
Among the bamboo's slanting stripes I glimpse
The tiger's stripes and sense the bony frame
Under the splendid, quivering cover of skin.
Curving oceans and the planet's wastes keep us
Apart in vain; from here in a house far off
In South America I dream of you,
Track you, O tiger of the Ganges' banks.

It strikes me now as evening fills my soul
That the tiger addressed in my poem
Is a shadowy beast, a tiger of symbols
And scraps picked up at random out of books,
A string of labored tropes that have no life,
And not the fated tiger, the deadly jewel
That under sun or stars or changing moon
Goes on in Bengal or Sumatra fulfilling
Its rounds of love and indolence and death.
To the tiger of symbols I hold opposed
The one that's real, the one whose blood runs hot
As it cuts down a herd of buffaloes,
And that today, this August third, nineteen
Fifty-nine, throws its shadow on the grass;
But by the act of giving it a name,
By trying to fix the limits of its world,
It becomes a fiction not a living beast,
Not a tiger out roaming the wilds of earth.

We'll hunt for a third tiger now, but like
The others this one too will be a form
Of what I dream, a structure of words, and not
The flesh and one tiger that beyond all myths
Paces the earth. I know these things quite well,
Yet nonetheless some force keeps driving me
In this vague, unreasonable, and ancient quest,
And I go on pursuing through the hours
Another tiger, the beast not found in verse.



writinflower01 said...

Hey! Just wanted to say hello, and thanks for putting these up. I have been looking for poetry prompts forever and a day, so this is great to find in my inbox everyday!


Constance Brewer said...

You're welcome. Although this is more like a poetry rant about the poetry prompt. :)