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
This morning I was wondering, how is happiness different from other abstract nouns I’ve explored: comfort, joy, or delight? Then I looked up the definition and there they all were: good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy: delighted, pleased, or glad. So luck was in there too.
Though one can be happy about a singular result–a bit of luck, a pleasurable experience, a hummingbird hovering in sunlight–I think happiness as something internalized, attained through acceptance, appreciation and gratitude. Not the kind of happiness found through the rose-colored glasses of denial and ignorance, but through awe, wonder, and curiosity.
The Declaration of Independence declares that we have been endowed by our Creator to pursue happiness, but the men who composed that document would have had very different ideas of happiness than I do, than almost anyone living has today, I would think. And they didn’t say we have the right to attain happiness, to spend every day in happiness, but the right to pursue it. The first definition of pursue at dictionary.com is “to follow in order to overtake, capture, kill, etc.” I hope that’s not what they meant.
Sunday’s experiment with additive text, got me thinking about lettering and generating text, so, I put some letters in the mirrorworld. Starting with an “A” made it clear to me that when the bokeh flips, it flips upside down and backwards.
dVerse Poets Pub
Today’s prompt is to write a food poem. Misky invites us to play with our food and lick our fingers. The prompt made me want to go play in the garden. My favorite meal is one I’ve freshly picked. It brings me so much happiness to grow my food.
How My Garden Grows
Impressed by the determined kale’s waving green leaves that persisted, refusing to perish through the long, recurring winter towering over the weeds, with my shovel and garden gloves, I attack and turn the soil, finding roots and rocks where I had planted just last year, and also finding something very strange a mystery appeared
Every year I dig up old nails or a little plastic toy but this I can’t identify tossing my gloves in the wheelbarrow filled with fir cones and weeds I turn it and turn it inspecting it in every way careful not to cut my dirty fingers I think of lighting hitting a beach, making glass of sand but this is dirt and no lightning has struck and it was buried.
At first I feared it was a curse this dirty, sharp-edged glass figure, but after cleaning off its outer coat it brings to mind a little gardener, laboring hunched over carrying a heavy load, a bountiful harvest what luck to discover such a good omen as I begin to sow maybe his sharp points will ward off bunnies and curious dark-eyed juncos and crows, leaving those tasty kale leaves whole to flourish
Continuing my Sunday visual poetry, I’m abandoning my magnets for a new overlay idea that goes well with today’s homograph “combine.”
As you have probably noticed, I like to unite prompts for a common purpose; many prompts join forces to create one poem. I join many ideas into a close union, creating a new whole. But how will I simultaneously cut, thresh, and clean those ideas with my mental combine harvester; evaluate my prospective players, and which combine will use my results to create a self-serving monopoly (That last cabal-style definition of combine is unusual to me. I’ll have to look into it)?
Today’s new technique was inspired by yesterday’s search into Vispo, short for visual poetry. A description of a book mentioned transparencies which made me think about how I take a picture of my collages then more pictures after adding words. With transparencies, I could create this additive process over and over.
When I started my Words on the World project, I ordered two different thicknesses of colored Sharpies and a large amount of clear plastic sleeves to cut the filters from. Cutting open the sleeves creates pages for layers of transparencies. I printed out some of last week’s photos and tried it out.
For today’s poem, I took a look at my WordPress reader and found:
The quality or state of being easily broken, shattered, damaged, or destroyed: delicate; brittle; frail: vulnerably delicate, as in appearance: lacking in substance or force; flimsy: in a weakened physical state; slight; tenuous: fragility comes to everything and everyone at one point or another. I think of thin, brittle, sheer tissue; skeletal frames; loose connections, crumbling.
For my images, I thought about how fragile the paper filters I created with paper punch shapes were. I pulled out the roll of paper to make a new one, but then thought about the loosely connected fragility of old lace. I have a collection of old lace trim, and tried placing some over the lens shield. I really like the effect.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday
Today’s prompt is to write about a phrase from childhood. Here’s an excerpt from this morning’s journal:
I thought of discipline first: Just wait ’til your dad gets home, and I’m gonna count to ten, but there has to be some fun phrases from childhood. I thought of Step on a crack . . . ; Tag! you’re it; Jinx! you owe me a coke; but none of those really spoke to me. Then I thought of Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me–a phrase used a lot as a kid that proved not to be true–and I’m rubber and you’re glue; your words bounce off me and stick to you–fun to say, but also not true. The sticks and stones saying goes well with today’s abstract noun “fragility”, and both phrases feel like they would work well in a poem.
Maria L. Berg 2022
Sticks and stones–
so abundant / all around on the ground quick to hand / broken from a dry branch weaponized / slung, thrown, whipped, battered, broken with the slightest aim / anger-fueled force
–may break my bones, but words–
symbols and sounds / agreed upon to have meaning combined with malicious intent / to produce hurt in the perceived fragile shouted and chanted to taunt / because repetition erodes caverns from the cracks because words evoke emotions that / though we’re told they don’t matter
This Sunday is the first of the month, and all the challenges are over, but I thought I would close with a visual poem guided by a homograph.
I really enjoy homographs that have different pronunciations. Close can be an adjective or adverb; a noun or verb. Pronounced klohs adjective – near in space or time: near in relationship: parts or elements near to one another: compact, dense (a close weave) adverb – tightly: near or within proximity Pronounced klohz noun – the end or conclusion (the close of the day) verb – to cover an opening; shut: (tr) to bar, obstruct, or fill up: to bring the parts or edges of (a wound, etc) together or (of a wound, etc) to be brought together, unite.
I think of: closing a lid; closing a door; cutting it close; That was close!; close ties; close friends; personal space: too close; closing in on a solution.
The April Challenges are over, but there are still plenty of prompts to be found. For today’s poem, I took a look at my WordPress reader and found:
E. M.’s Sunday Ramble Prompt #22 This one’s new to me. The Sunday Ramble is 5 questions about a topic to ramble on about. Sounds a little like Stream of Consciousness Saturday, which I enjoy. Today’s topic is “Random Questions to Trigger Imagination” and the questions are:
If people get a purple heart for bravery, what do the other colors of hearts mean? (Make up your own heart meanings and colors.)
If you were given $5 Million to open a small museum, what kind of museum would you create?
if you could build a themed hotel, what would the theme be and what would it look like?
What would the adult version of an ice cream truck sell, look like, and play for its song?
What animal would be the cutest if it was down-sized to the size of a cat?
At my magical realism hotel where crowds rush to try the strawberry pop-rocks that make them sprout wings and fly the first to reach the luminous-gold heart that means a dream will never die, hanging in the ceiling sky, is remunerated an unimaginable sum in magic hotel money. And if that isn’t enough excitement to keep every patron busy, they can visit the Museum of the Fantastical and Silly with a tank of whales the size of cats and giraffes the size of mice that swish their tails to swat at pesky winged-humans the size of flies.
Ardent activity, devotion, or diligence. What is ardent? With great conviction or zeal. I have no idea why I follow circular definitions with such intense emotion; passionately and fervently; such zealousness; I guess that’s something more for me to explore.
Here we are at the last day of April: the last day of National Poetry Month; the last day of the A to Z Challenge; the last day of the Poem a Day Challenge; and the last day of my photo challenge. That’s a lot of endings, and yet I feel like it’s only a beginning.
While exploring abstract nouns, I’ve encountered so many more abstract nouns I would like to explore in the mirrorworld, and I now have new filters and techniques for that. This has been a great month of discovery. I hope you’ve also discovered a zealousness for your topic and art and poetry.
For today’s images, I tried something completely new. When I first set up the mirrorworld, I had a moment that felt really magical: When I pointed a flashlight at an object in the mirror, the light showed on the object. It felt like I had found a gateway to new dimensions. Today, I put the camera on a tripod, and light painted with a flashlight to create still and moving bokeh at the same time. It was very challenging and will take a lot more practice, but that’s where zealousness helps.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday
Today’s prompt is “zip, zero, zilch.” All great words. Here’s a sections from my journal this morning:
I thought zilch might have some more interesting meaning but it’s only–nothing Zip, on the other hand works with zealousness–ardently active– zipping around and zero has the same shape as the filter I used, and circular definitions–though maybe more oblong definitions which is what abstract nouns really have–distorted by history and perception. I like zilch: I never use it.
Maria L. Berg 2022
Today’s prompt is to write a cento. A cento is a poem made up of lines from other poems. I like how creating a cento is described in the example as patching the lines into a coherent quilt. I recently bought the new book and CD by Dolly Parton. I also borrowed books from my local library by Adrienne Rich and Robert Bly. For this cento about moving on in zealousness, I’ll be quilting with lines from Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton, Silence in the Snowy Fields by Robert Bly, and The Fact of a Doorframe by Adrienne Rich
Yearning is a deep longing: a strong, persistent craving or desire accompanied by tenderness or sadness for something unattainable or distant. Thinking about how to represent yearning, I thought about how the other abstract nouns I’ve explored this month are entangled with yearning: Ambition, Goals, Ideas, Needs and Hopes can induce yearning; people yearn for Beauty, a certain Quality of life, Respect, Success, to have Value, Wisdom, a Xanadu, and of course Thrills. It takes Patience to live with and through our yearning.
I looked back over all these different aspects of yearning that I’ve represented through abstracts, and listed the filters and techniques I’ve tried. I took in what a big month of discovery it has been for me, and yet, I yearn for more.
Today, I wanted to create even more depth than the mirrorworld provides, so I opened the curtains across the room, strung lights over the glass door and tried taking pictures from outside into the mirrorworld–didn’t work. However, the trees reflected in the mirrorworld looked interesting, so I focused on that. I also thought black and white represented yearning better than all the neons of yesterday.
Today’s prompt is to write a poem in which you muse on the gifts you received at birth, both positive and negative.
I had to stretch a little bit to find something that starts with X. Xanadu is a proper noun for a mythical place, but it can serve as a metaphor for opulence or an idyllic place, and that is how I intend it today for our abstraction. It is described as a “stately pleasure-dome” in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan.
Exploring the idea of Xanadu gave me an excuse to (re)watch the 1980 roller-skating musical fantasy starring Olivia Newton-John. It was Gene Kelly’s final film, and he was on roller-skates! When I searched to see if he was really skating in the film, I came across this gorgeous gem of cinema history:
and here’s Gene Kelly in Xanadu
Just watching those two clips, it’s easy to see that Xanadu can be any place when in the right state of mind. For today’s images, and just for fun, I cut a roller-skate filter and whooshed it through my world like a muse returning to her Xanadu in the clouds.
Today’s prompt is to write a concrete poem, a poem in which the words create a shape. My favorite concrete poem I’ve written is “Humans Need Stories” from 2017. And it goes well with the muses of Xanadu, so here it is:
Poem A Day
Today’s prompt is to write a sight poem. This should go well with describing Xanadu.
dVerse Poets Pub
Over at dVerse Poets Pub they are celebrating the poems of Joy Harjo. Tonight is open link night at the pub, so head over and link up your best poem from this week.
By definition, having wisdom is to possess a power, the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; also scholarly knowledge or learning. Many people relate wisdom to age, believing that it is accumulated over time, thus the symbol of the wise old owl. Some relate it to spiritual or ancient teachings that have stood the test of time. Some believe wisdom is found within through meditation or dreams, tapping into the collective unconscious of ancestral memory. “-wise” as a suffix denotes manner, position, direction, reference, etc. as in counterclockwise or edgewise. Wisdom may lie simply in knowing where you are, your position, your reference points, and the direction you are heading.
Happily, I have an owl filter already cut. For today’s images I will try to capture its accumulated wisdom by hunting for its reference points and direction.
Today’s prompt is to write a remix poem. This should be an interesting challenge, to remix one of this month’s poems into a duplex. For today’s remix, I decided to work with lines from day nine’s poem “Hope Breaks Eternal” and day sixteen’s poem “Needs For Sale.”
Last Night’s Forgotten Bruise
Hope breaks through last night’s disappointments Swirling the spiral when need’s a deep bruise pressed
Need is felt like a forgotten bruise pressed When hunger turns to feed on its own tail
Turning to yearning when finding tales stale Hope breaks the mold of expectation
Molded clay days of expectation have A brittle grasp on reason’s crumbs to break
Reason’s crumbs scatter as the days break and a vacancy needs filling, love’s ache
Hope sees a need-filled hollow, vacancy’s ache And jumps, unstartled, unique and new
To flip perspective for the world anew Hope breaks through last night’s disappointments