For yesterday’s poetics prompt at the dVerse Poets Pub, Laura challenged us to think about last words and choose some famous last words to inspire our poem.
“Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.” ~ Karl Marx
How cruel and yet delicious all those smiling, resting faces all those relaxed, unworried death masks forever frozen as last seen in loving minds
How cruel and yet delicious to know the time of one’s passing to gather everyone ever loved together to impart an answer a lifetime sought
How cruel and yet delicious the final not knowing but feeling certain it will be there in time feeling tongue-tipped and out-reached seat-edged in life-searched readiness
How cruel and yet delicious hearing gulps of held back sobs tasting one’s own saliva, one’s juices for a final time, becoming thick with enzymes preparing for decay smelling each familiar perfume not disguising each unique sweat visually sucking and sucking every detail as if it will be the forever memory: that cute sneeze, that child’s whine, that cuticle bitten, that hair swept from that eye, one’s own slowing, rattling breath and
then it’s there it comes the answer THE ANSWER electric, eye-bulging epiphany of all epiphanies the room leans in edged, sharp and everyone hears AH-HA! before eyes dim, chest stills and nothing more.
Today I’m re-visiting motivation. When I explored motivation in April, I talked about it as a force toward pleasure and away from pain. Motivation came up again when I explored need and talked about Maslow’s pyramid. Today I looked up some definitions and found that motivation is a force that imparts motion as if from a store. In other words, I’ve got a whole bunch of motion stored up somewhere and the force “motivation” will dole it out to me. But what is this force, and how do I trigger it at will? I think my definition still needs work.
The sun was out this morning, so I took my net-lights outside for the first time. I am definitely motivated by the surprise of trying something new.
dVerse Poets Pub
For today’s poetics prompt, Merril invites us to think about summer with an ekphrastic prompt. I wrote to the image by Edward Henry Potthast, Summer Day, Brighton Beach which shows children wading into the ocean. I waded a bit into the lake this morning, wasn’t quite motivated to swim.
Hear them shrieking in the distance oh, they must be having fun the waves crashing against them splashing oh, I can’t wait now let’s run
But it’s freezing, my feet are tingling oh, this bite has just begun up it’s reaching, and soon numbing then forgotten in summer sun.
Today is the first time in this exciting study of abstract nouns that I’m revisiting a word to study it more deeply. When I first approached beauty on the second day of the A to Z Challenge in April, I found a thorough definition on dictionary.com. My Merriam Webster’s defines it only slightly differently (the quality or aggregate of qualities . . . gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit: Loveliness), so I still have the same questions about inherent beauty and perceived beauty. This morning I thought, if beauty is defined by culture and/or group-think of an era or time-period does it really exist at all?
To start to explore these questions, I turned to philosophy. In the book Does the Center Hold? by Donald Palmer I found an interesting passage about Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872)’s thoughts on beauty. He believed that a human being is fundamentally good and from the beginning of the species every human community has aspired, consciously or unconsciously, to achieving: love, truth, beauty, happiness, wisdom, purity, and strength. The book says “among others,” but sticks to that list. Guess which abstractions I’ll be focusing on further 😃. Next month?
Does that narrow down Feurbach’s list–and my study–to only two abstract nouns? Or only one? And how would I choose? I would think that would include wisdom. If truth and beauty are indeed the same, if I focus all of my images on beauty, will I be making images of truth? Will I eventually look at my beautiful image and see truth equally in the image?
Looking at beauty physically, many people believe symmetry is beautiful, others like asymmetry. Some look at a mole on a face and see a blemish, others see a beauty mark. Looking at beauty mathematically, the artists of the Renaissance believed in the golden ratio. I think of this when I include the curve from my metal mirror in my photos like I did for Value.
Looking back at the images I created for beauty before, I can see what I was going for: the shapes, a geometric representation of flowers and leaves, shows the conflict of the wild beauty of nature and the human desire to tame it. I also see this dichotomy of beauty in the glowing primary colors: yellow (sun and flowers), red (flowers, some berries), blue (water and sky). And the green–a combination and a contrast–a union of blue and yellow contrasting with red, but also representing the leaves that surround the red flowers or berries, the grass that meets the water, the floor to the ceiling of sky.
When I look at those images, I see all of that, but I also don’t see beauty. I think the images may try to do too much. They feel busy. Though the colors and shapes give pleasure to my senses, the images don’t exalt.
How do I want to explore beauty today? This time around I want to look for beauty in simplicity. I think there’s graceful movement in beauty, or beauty in graceful movement.
dVerse Poets Pub
For today’s Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft prompt, Björn invites us to explore dissonance in our poetry. I love dissonance, especially the discordant combinations I create in my songs. I guess I haven’t really thought about the poetic tools of linguistic dissonance before. Great prompt!
An Unexpected Irritation that Lingers
There is a man in the bushes to my left He crunches and snaps, rustles and breaks His every movement is destruction– I believe he thinks–in the name of clearing, taming nature to his will
I cannot see him through the thick rhododendron he stomps and the Japanese camellia he mangles caught under the cherry-plum, but I see the hedge move with a crack and a snap and I know he has crossed
under the cherry-plum into the leaf-shadows of this rhododendron shuffling and crackling the crisp, dry leaves as irritating and attention hoarding as a jay or a spotted towhee, but his caw is much worse than the jay’s screech.
When he finally speaks the only thing he says is cut your trees, cut your trees cut your trees!
Here we are already starting June. As I mentioned yesterday, this month’s daily abstract nouns include a mix of new words and further study of previous words. And, as before, Sundays are homographs to guide visual poetry (vispo) from the images created through the week.
While defining “poetry” for my online poetry class, What Is Poetry? An Introduction to Literary Analysis, I found that dictionary.com provides circular definitions for everything, not only abstract nouns. I found a much better definition in my physical dictionary, so from now on, I’ll be mining for meaning in my Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Tenth Edition.
Awe is an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime. What an intense combination: to fear greatly, respect, and be excited with amazement and admiration all at the same time.
I am in awe of the flow of ideas and joy of process I’ve found in this study of abstract nouns. Awe describes
For today’s images, I put the two new reflective balls in the mirrorworld to see what they would do.
On Wednesdays, Robert Lee Brewer offers a poetry prompt on Writer’s Digest. Today’s prompt is to write a water poem.
I Water as I Walk
The air is thick with it the clouds fat with it and yet they hoard their precious cargo, leaving the new seeds thirsty
It makes up seventy percent of me, sloshing about somewhere in there as I tread–new sprinkler head in hand, length of hose uncoiling, dragging behind–
staring out at the lake as I shower the crusted earth, the irony is not lost on me that there is water everywhere but the land needs me to drink
These last couple months studying abstract nouns have provided a wealth of discoveries, great quantities of new ideas, an abundance of new techniques, a profusion of thoughts, and a plentiful amount of new tools. I feel like these last two months have been a 101 course in abstractions–an overview–and now it’s time to take a more advanced look at the ideas I’ve only had a glimpse of so far. But there is still a wealth of abstract nouns to look at and explore. I’m having trouble deciding, so I think I’ll do both.
Continuing this study into June, I will choose some new abstract nouns and some that I want to revisit. I’ll post the new calendar tomorrow for those of you interested in looking ahead at what I’ll be exploring through the month.
Today’s weather was beautiful, and I’m hoping June will bring many more sunny days, so I can bring my new net-lights outside to play with the sun on the lake. And today I got two floating reflective balls that I’m excited to float on the lake. I’m already excited about their potential for bokeh shapes from a few pictures I took of them in the yard.
I hope you’re enjoying this wealth of content and that you are as inspired by the study of abstract nouns as I am. I’m really looking forward to revisiting some of the words I’ve already explored and diving deeper into sensory perception and imagery associated with those abstractions. If you have a suggestion for an abstract noun to revisit, or one I haven’t looked at please let me know in the comments.
dVerse Poets Pub
For today’s poetics prompt, Punam inspires with the work of Amrita Pritam. The challenge is to choose one of her lines from a list and use it to inspire our poem.
In the Little Empty Space
“Look further on ahead, there between truth and falsehood, a little empty space.” ~Amrita Pritam
I believe I can squeeze through the jagged rocks and hard place threaten but a slim, distant light still begs me on.
If I suck it all in tight and purse my lips and set my jaw and close my eyes and never breathe again, I might distract them
from the original question concern them enough to forget, and not suffer while I emerge on the other side
This week is the first week of a three week course I’m taking on FutureLearn.com called How to Make a Poem offered through Manchester Metropolitan University. This week’s assigned poem is to collect language by observing an environment in the style of George Perec’s exercise in his essay. “the Street.” As someone who enjoys her solitude: seclusion; state of being and living alone in an area that is remote and unfrequented especially on rainy days, this is a bit of a challenge. The idea is to capture overheard language or signs, menus, etc. Solitude isn’t very conducive to this exercise as described, but the exercise also doesn’t exactly lead to found poetry in the way I understand it.
For today’s images I have two new tools to play with: net lights and printable transparency paper. I think I’ll hang the net lights in the mirrorworld since it’s supposed to rain for about a week. My original idea for the printable transparency paper was to print some of my black and white photos to use with blackout poetry, but I’m also curious how it might work for printing a filter. So many possibilities.
As you can see, I still haven’t been able to fix my printer, but in this case, I like the lines and color stripes.
dVerse Poets Pub
It’s Open Link Night at the pub, so I thought I would start try my printable transfer paper as a blackout to “find” poetry.
To take dreams
some mediate, contain by providing that highest provocation and that dream of mind from mystery matter outdone their equal these two dreams that wheel
by symbols at one and world be else said key to the dream self dual one as thumb as not fruit converse of is beauty the dream add the little soul the devil how his counting on no self objective them also
To a vision scientist like me, sensitivity is only a semi-abstract noun. If you look at the state or quality of being endowed with sensation; having perception through the senses, that’s measurable through scientific experimentation. However, the state or quality of being readily or excessively affected by external agencies or influences and having acute mental or emotional sensibility; aware of and responsive to the feelings of others is not as measurable and easily pained, annoyed, etc. is probably measurable per person, but not as scientifically, since we’re getting into moods.
I’ve always been highly sensitive, both emotionally and perceptually. I was told by my advanced biology teacher in high school that I should never have children if I was so sensitive to the smell in the room that I needed to leave. He sent me to the library, and I never had children. He must have had an amazing sixth sense. Now approaching the mid-century of life, I still have perfect vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch: though my sensitivity to others and ideas of my sixth sense have diminished, for now, in exchange for contentment and sanity, I think. Which brings us to another definition of sensitivity: requiring tact or caution; delicate; touchy: a sensitive topic.
As for my images I like how my sensitivity made me think of anxiety and squiggly lines of too much, but when I looked at the images I saw another definition of sensitivity I enjoy which is: constructed to indicate, measure, or be affected by small amounts or changes~ as a balance or thermometer or microscope.
dVerse Poets Pub
For today’s poetics Ingrid brings corvids to spring. I am surrounded by raptors and corvids and find it fascinating that crows chase bald eagles around the sky. It’s the craziest bird behavior. One would think that eagles would just take out the crows, if they were a threat; the eagle could turn and destroy them: toss their nests, eat their eggs, or eat the crows. But from what I’ve seen, they don’t react much at all. However, this spring I’ve had two rather aggressive Blue Jays, and I am sensitive to their presence.
Strike a Pose
So bold, look at you in my morning window blinds closed, I know you’re there, when I let in the spring sun your striking blue feathers somehow bluer than the bluest sky: not cerulean, not royal, but playing in between, you contrast with the giant pink blossoms of the monster rhododendron not a plant, not a flower, but a life choice, and you have chosen it, next to my bedroom window with your deep, thoughtful, striking pose, I can’t help but admire your bold stare and then you SHRIEK SCREAM make unbird noises not even the semi-annoying CAW which is never at my window but still loud from high above while harassing an eagle and remind me that you are the kind of bird who raids other bird’s nests and may decapitate other birds Am I being sensitive to your horrible sound, or would it bother me so much if I didn’t know you were a murderous tyrant striking such a strong contrast of black and blue
Power has a long list of interesting meanings. The idea of having power over a person came up in the definition of Mercy the other day, so my first thoughts this morning went to the evils of authority or influence: fear, torture, corruption. But the main definition of power is ability (power or capacity to do or act physically, mentally, legally, morally, financially, etc.): ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something. In physics it is work done or energy transferred per unit of time. In math the product obtained by multiplying a quantity by itself one or more times. It is energy, force, or momentum.
Yesterday I started experimenting with two new ideas. First, expanding upon the hinge idea from my door filter, I created a series of filters that I call transformer filters: geometrical designs with sections not completely cut out, but folded. These filters can create many different shapes depending on which sections are “open.” Second, I created a light grid. Using an old aluminum grid from the laser-cutter, I placed a string-light in every fourth square. Combining my new filters with my power grid is like quilting with light.
dVerse Poets Pub
For today’s Meet the Bar prompt, Björn challenges us to try the Constanza form created by Connie Marcum Wong in 2007. It’s a new form to me and appears quite challenging. Let’s see if I have the power to complete a Constanza.
When moon’s aglow and murders caw and streetlights burn in amber rows the night excites and passion grows
the city girls sing la-dee-da to walking beats of clicking heels a destination soon reveals
with hips that swing a tra-la-la manipulating lookers on but don’t get close or they’ll be gone
a magic power there–ta-da! distracts the eye while coins are palmed and every protestation calmed
their laughter echos, ha ha ha! where shadows imprint eyelids closed be careful dancing when you’ve dozed
When moon’s aglow and murders caw the city girls sing la-dee-da with hips that swing a tra-la-la a magic power there–ta-da! their laughter echoes, ha ha ha!
When searching out a new opportunity, we open ourselves to “an appropriate or favorable time or occasion: a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal: a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.” What is favorable? Affording advantage, opportunity, or convenience; advantageous. And advantageous? Furnishing convenience or opportunity; favorable; profitable; useful; beneficial. The circular nature of abstract nouns is a merry-go-round.
For today’s images, I wanted to attempt to put doors in the mountain, but I lost my opportunity because the clouds came in, making the mountain disappear before I got up. However, changing my point of view provided new opportunities.
dVerse Poets Pub
For today’s poetics Lillian provided a challenging prompt to use compound words from a list.
Navigating Twilight Hours
Exhausted from a glutted day so good, night announces her arrival with a star. Fish spark algae trails in the still water, proof of life hiding like sweet honey. Dew is but an inkling to the dark earth. Quake in awe of the mystery at hand.
Shake the salt when tail-feathers show. Off his game, his flight won’t block the sun. Burn the branch from which he screams all day. Time will slow, so night can catch the moon. Light the path until their shadows cross. Walk on the glow until blistered and exhausted.
I’m finding this study of abstract nouns fascinating. We think we know what these words mean, but the more I study them, the less clear they become. When I dive into their definitions, I always find something surprising. Mercy has a very interesting definition: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence.
Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. “Stricken by misfortune” brings in ideas of destiny and luck, and forbearance brings patience into the mix. But it’s the next part of the definition that surprised me: “an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power.”
The wording implies that an offender or enemy is a person in one’s power. That any person is in another’s power is a warped idea. Power struggles are one of those facts of life from beginning to end that are an instinctive part of the human struggle that is intertwined with the question of evolution and/or creation; and the basic questions of nature vs. nurture. However, I was even more interested in the idea of the offender, or enemy being that person in one’s power. When I think of an offender, or enemy, I think of bullies: people out for a fight; people looking for those they perceive as weaker than them, to belittle and have power over. How would that person be a person in my power? There’s a lot to think about there.
For today’s images, I thought of my door filter that I created for “Close” and used again for “Adventure,” symbolizing the mercy of giving someone a way out. What could symbolize removing suffering? A mouse with a thorn? Too obtuse, the viewer would have to think of the fable of the mouse and the lion, and interpret, a line in its paw as a thorn removed from a lion. Instead, I tried to open and close my door filter to flowers.
Merciful sleep, thick, heavy fog with power over me, have pity this one night keep out intruders lock the doors and hold them fast from the dreams of suffering and sorrow, haunted memories of possibilities filled with desires that you steal away come morning