07 April 2010

April Poem A Day Challenge Day 7

Prompt of the day from Poetic Asides:

For today's prompt, take the phrase "Until (blank)," replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and write the poem. Possibilities include: "Until we meet again," "Until tomorrow," "Until monkeys fly out my butt," or even "Until blank" (why not?).

So why is it every time I'm given a prompt with specific rules, I don't want to follow those rules? I'm always looking for a way to obey the spirit of the law, not the letter. Eventually, after examining all the angles, my brain decides that maybe - just maybe – it can play nice with the prompt and come up with something. If I don't browbeat it too much it even comes up with something good. The first instinct, phrase, thought, even while fighting the prompt, is often the best.

I usually have a title before I have a poem, at least that was the way I used to do it. Now I'm feeling a bit put upon to have to have the title and concoct a poem from it. My brain's come a long way in a year. But not as far as I'd like.

It insisted on naming the poem "Until Poughkeepsie", although the poem has nothing much to do with Poughkeepsie, and not a whole lot more about anticipation (until). So during the editing phase, maybe I can pull a fast one and rename the poem more towards its physics/psychology/sociology bent.

Then again, if I leave it alone, maybe someday, someone will read some vast, philosophical meaning into the use of Poughkeepsie in the poem, not realizing my brain only wanted a pleasant memory of some town in the Hudson River Valley to hang its hat on. Or it is entirely possible my brain is just messing with me.

Or, as the T.S. Eliot voice in my head is fond of reminding me:

It's not wise to violate rules until you know how to observe them.


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