Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Progressive Poem is Here: Poetry Month Day 27

The 27th seemed like a long way away when I agreed to it, and yet here it is already.  As someone else mentioned, last year's line seemed less daunting since I was so much earlier in the poem,  line fifteen. 

I've worked on this line a long time, scribbling many versions of it.  I knew I wanted some internal rhyme, since I'm the third line in the stanza, and all the third lines in all the stanzas have done that.  And as I read and reread the poem, the image I was getting was more and more of a circus, what with the clown, the trapeze, and of course, all the dancers.  All the rapping and tapping and swinging and singing and fumbling and tumbling is coming to an end, and the group act - the poem itself - is on its way.  The audience is on the edge of its seats.

So here it is.  I hope you like it, fellow Progressive Poets, and especially Laura, who's next.

When you listen to your footsteps
the words become music and
the rhythm that you’re rapping gets your fingers tapping, too.
Your pen starts dancing across the page
a private pirouette, a solitary samba until
smiling, you’re beguiling as your love comes shining through.

Pause a moment in your dreaming, hear the whispers
of the words, one dancer to another, saying
Listen, that’s our cue! Mind your meter. Find your rhyme.
Ignore the trepidation while you jitterbug and jive.
Arm in arm, toe to toe, words begin to wiggle and flow
as your heart starts singing let your mind keep swinging

from life’s trapeze, like a clown on the breeze.
Swinging upside down, throw and catch new sounds–
Take a risk, try a trick; break a sweat: safety net?
Don’t check! You’re soaring and exploring,
dangle high, blood rush; spiral down, crowd hush–
limb-by-line-by-limb envision, pyramidic penned precision.

And if you should topple, if you should flop
if your meter takes a beating; your rhyme runs out of steam—
know this tumbling and fumbling is all part of the act,
so get up with a flourish. Your pencil’s still intact.
Snap those synapses! Feel the pulsing through your pen
Commit, measure by measure, to the coda’s cadence.

You've got them now--in the palm of your hand!
Finger by finger you’re reeling them in—
Big Top throng refrains from cheering, strains to hear the poem nearing...

Photo Source:

Here are the places the circus act has been already, and where it's going next:

1  Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
2  Joy Acey
3  Matt Forrest Esenwine
4  Jone MacCulloch
5  Doraine Bennett
6  Gayle Krause
7  Janet Fagal
8  Julie Larios
9  Carrie Finison
10  Linda Baie
11  Margaret Simon
12  Linda Kulp
13  Catherine Johnson
14  Heidi Mordhorst
15  Mary Lee Hahn
16  Liz Steinglass
17  Renee LaTulippe
18  Penny Klostermann
19  Irene Latham
20  Buffy Silverman
21  Tabatha Yeatts
22  Laura Shovan
23  Joanna Marple
24  Katya Czaja
25  Diane Mayr
26  Robyn Hood Black
27  Ruth Hersey
28  Laura Purdie Salas
29  Denise Mortensen
30  April Halprin Wayland



Linda at teacherdance said...

Ruth, wonderful tension this time, taking the image to the audience perspective. I can feel them leaning, hushed!

Robyn Hood Black said...

"Strains to hear" - yep! Great image. Thanks for continuing to bring this last stanza into focus and also leaving room for the poem's grand finale last few lines!

laurasalas said...

Thank you, Ruth! I love the nearing poem. I am hearing it approach like a barely-tamed beast. I'm doing housework/yardwork this afternoon and will let my mind ramble a bit about the approaching danger!

Doraine Bennett said...

You did a great job with this! I hope you made it through the rest of your list, too!

Anonymous said...

Awww! Very nice! I did not envy the ones who had the ending lines. I wondered how the show would wind down. Fantastically, it appears!

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater said...

Oh goodie! Suspense! This rhyme is just what needed now too. And what a GREAT THING it was to see you last weekend. I hope that you had a great conference (lots of free books too) and a safe good trip home. What fun that was to meet another real Poetry Friday Friend in in life. xo, a.

Tabatha said...

I feel like I'm straining, too -- leaning in to find out how this ends! Good job, Ruth :-)

Carrie F said...

The hush of the crowd...I love the moment you've painted here. Nice line!

Mary Lee said...

You nailed it..or at least continued the set-up for a satisfying ending!!

Irene Latham said...

Ruth, this is wonderful! I am a day late getting here, and wow, so worth the wait. Thank you! We are ending with something BIG...

Renee LaTulippe said...

Wonderful way to build the suspense. The people leaning forward in their chairs...what's going to happen?!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

"strains to hear the poem nearing..."--that's how it is sometimes, not just in suspense but in confusion, waiting for the last line or image to bring the whole poem into focus. Nice one, Ruth!