Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Progressive Poem is Here, Plus Happy Blog Birthday to Me!

I signed up for April 23rd to add my line to the Progressive Poem because it is the birthday of my blog.  Today my blog is eleven, and like any eleven-year-old, I am very excited and would like lots of birthday wishes.  Plus cake, if you have it.

But in the meantime, I have to add a line.

So, I've been reading and rereading the poem much of the day, in between grading and lesson plans, and I think that the boat that was added at the beginning of this stanza is not a real boat, but actually scenery on a stage (think something like the photo below, which I got from

I say that because our persona/protagonist was on a stage, having climbed the stairs and turned to face the crowd, and was saying lines s/he had learned by heart, when suddenly the boat was mentioned.  I think this person/dragon/person in a dragon costume is acting in a play.  Perhaps s/he wanted to be a knight, but that part was taken by someone else, hence removing the spurs and armor.  Maybe s/he has been told that a dragon can't be an actor.  And it seems there's someone in the crowd who is a surprise, or someone s/he is afraid of.  Or it could just be the crowd, because it can be pretty surprising when you're on stage to see all those seats full, all those eyes staring up at you...

What on earth?

You see, the thing with the Progressive Poem is that no one person is in charge.  When I write one of my own poems, I can make it take whatever direction I choose, but with the Progressive Poem, I only have one thirtieth of the power, and I can puzzle out all I want, but I'm never going to have more than one thirtieth.  (In my post from yesterday, you can see the full list of all the participants.)  I can add my line, but then I have to stand back for everyone else, and all my puzzling may not be how the people who come after me see our little scenario.  Every year this exercise reminds me of how much I like to be in control, but, as in life, I'm not.  All I know is that we need a strong verb here; our protagonist needs to do something, standing there on the deck of the ship...

Here we go.  My line is at the end, in bold.

I’m fidget, friction, ragged edges–
I sprout stories that frazzle-dazzle,
stories of castles, of fires that crackle
with dragonwords that smoke and sizzle.

But edges sometimes need sandpaper,
like swords need stone and clouds need vapour.
So I shimmy out of my spurs and armour
facing the day as my fickle, freckled self.

I thread the crowd, wear freedom in my smile,
and warm to the coals of conversation.
Enticed to the stage by strands of story,
I skip up the stairs in anticipation.

Flip around, face the crowd, and freeze!
Shiver me. Look who’s here. Must I disappear?
By hook or by crook, I deserve a second look!
I cheer. Please, have no fear. Find the book. 

But wait! I’ll share the lines I know by heart.
Mythicalhowls, fierytones slip from my lip
Blue scales flash, claws rip, the prophecy begins
Dragonworld weaves webs that grip. I take a trip…

“Anchors aweigh!” Steadfast at helm on clipper ship,
a topsail schooner, with sails unfurled, speeds away
As, true-hearted dragon pirate, I sashay 

Your turn now, Amy!


Irene Latham said...

I love how you brought dragonpirate together! In one word you helped stitch this story together. Thank you! And "sashay" is such a great word! xo

Irene Latham said...

p.s. Happy ELEVEN!!! Wowza! xo

Linda B said...

Wonderful to read your thoughts, Ruth, and the lesson about 'power' in life from this collaborative poem. Great line for action in "sashay". You've sailed this ship out of the harbor! Here's a small congratulations for you:

Congrats for blogging
eleven years.
Happy Birthday with
raucous cheers.
Your words delight
us every time
you share your poetry.
It’s sublime!

Tabatha said...

Happy BlogBirthday! Is it a coincidence that you share it with Shakespeare AND World Book Day? I brought you chocolate cupcakes with chocolate chip cookie frosting.
Loved following the path of your progressive poem puzzlement, Ruth. It is a lesson letting go, isn't it?
Your line is charming. Well done!

Jone said...

Happy blog birthday. Love, love, love the word sashay and dragon pirate. Can't wait to see where it goes from here.

skanny17 said...

Oh Ruth, I love how you started thinking of being in a play, a dragon pirate and that sashaying....a great verb. Where oh where will our poem go. It is a unique feeling...this struggle, this coming together, this adventure, this multi-faceted creation. Our hero or heroine is on a mission for something. it will be so interesting to see where we go from here.
A blog birthday celebration requires a huge cheer for you ! So happy when I see your photos come by on facebook, too. It is nice to stay connected this way.
Janet Clare F.

Buffy Silverman said...

Dragonpirate--yes! Love the logical approach you've taken to figuring out what-the-heck we've constructed.

Happy blog birthday!

Penny Parker Klostermann said...

Happy Blog Birthday! And my oh my how I love that you have our MC on stage and the ship/sea is part of the sharing of lines she/he knows by heart. And then to have a dragon-pirate sashay... I think this is perfection!!! Also, I laughed at this, "I can add my line, but then I have to stand back for everyone else, and all my puzzling may not be how the people who come after me see our little scenario." Because I know how it is to do all that puzzling and then have it all out of your control.

michelle kogan said...

Happy Blogging Birthday Ruth! A Dragon Pirate sounds perfect to me, along with the sashaying, and it's moving along . . .

Ramona said...

Happy blog birthday, one day late! I loved seeing the peek inside your thoughts regarding our hero/heroine. I think she's (yep, for me our narrator is a she) probably eleven, just like your blog. And your line is perfect. I love the word dragon pirate. And sashay is such a perfect verb. And now you must "let go" as we all must do once our line is penned. Your one thirtieth is divine.

Robyn Hood Black said...

I'm late too... was away at my haiku conference. But what fun to return to catching up on several lines in a row! Thanks for sharing your interpretation (with which I concur), and your wonderful line; I love saying the word, "sashay"!
HAPPY (belated) BLOG BIRTHDAY! :0)

Anonymous said...

I am later still... but not too late to say what a masterful line you wrote. Perfect! You were indeed in control of your one thirtieth, and you've definitely made an impact on a greater fraction of the poem.
And happy blog birthday. So glad we've connected through the PoetryFriday community. :)

Janet said...

Happy belated blog birthday, Ruth! Sorry to be so miserably late to the party.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Ruth, I'm here late to appreciate very much your thinking through of the impact of these later lines, which needed some interpretation, some bringing together--and you've done it with energy and verve! Onward...

jan godown annino said...

How about some fancy Key Lime Pie for a blog birthday treat, instead of cake! Happy Eleventh!!!

And a dragon pirate sounds like the character we need. I'm with everyone who loves your line,
especially "sashay." It's also a bit like being a fly upon the wall, to hear you teasing out
some interpretations for lines.

This is a mighty fine celebratory post.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Just finally got caught up on your addition, Ruth - nicely done! A sashay-ing dragon pirate really helped develop the narrative. And congrats on turning 11, too!