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Progressive Poem Day 16

Happy Poetry Month! And what an April it has been. With the launch of Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife, I have been busy celebrating (mostly offline, because I haven't had a ton of time to be online) not just poetry in general, but the release of my first poetry book! It has been overwhelming, and wonderful.

Today, it is an absolute thrill to be a part of the lovely, the incredible, 7th Annual Progressive Poem run by Irene Latham. For those of you who don't know, every day this month one poet will add one line to this poem. Along the way, poets are talking about their processes, thoughts on the progressive poem, and all sorts of other fun shiny baubles. It's quite the thing, and as this is my first year doing it I'll freely admit I'm a touch nervous. But, the show must go on, nervous or not. So, without further ado, here is my addition to ...


We were given the prompt at the beginning of the challenge to write down our thoughts on where the poem might be headed from just the clues offered in the first line. The first line is "Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched." And here were the thoughts I wrote down:

This line makes me feel all warm and fuzzy-- it's adorable. I'm expecting a sweet, lovely poem about nature at the beginning of spring, told from the point of view of a young plant.

After watching the evolution of the poem, I can quite honestly say that my hypothesis makes it very obvious I've never participated in a progressive poem before! I expected the poem to follow my logic... which, of course, is illogical given the creativity of the community taking part in the challenge. I am delighted at how inaccurate my guess was, because one of the main joys of following this poem's progress has been watching the unexpected evolve. Take a look for yourself! This is the poem as it stands today, with my addition as the last line:

Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched. Oh, what wonderful dreams she had! Blooming in midnight moonlight, dancing with the pulse of a thousand stars, sweet Jasmine invented a game. "Moon?" she called across warm honeyed air. "I'm sad you're alone, come join Owl and me. We're feasting on stardrops, we'll share them with you." "Come find me, Moon called," hiding behind a cloud. Secure in talons' embrace, Jasmine rose and set. She split, twining up Owl's toes, pale moonbeams sliding in between, Whoosh, Jasmine goes. Owl flew Jasmine between clouds and moon to Lee's party! Moon, that wily bright balloon, was NOT alone. Jas grinned, stretched, reached, wrapped a new, around tender rootlet

a trellis Sky held out to her, made of braided wind and song.

Here is a bit on how I came to add the specific line "a trellis Sky held out to her, made of braided wind and song." to the poem:

As I started thinking about what to write, my first thought was: she wrapped her rootlet around... what? When trying to come up with an answer, the word that caught my imagination first was "rootlet." I started thinking of Jasmine, our hero, as a vine. I started thinking about how a vine grows, and what might help Jasmine continue moving upwards as she left Owl's talons. "Between clouds and moon" was a key phrase to me... it helped to anchor my imagination in a specific physical space (the Stratosphere!), and to imagine what --and who!-- might be near Jasmine at that moment. And then, I followed my normal process of writing and re-writing the line by hand until it sounded right.

And now, I hand the poem to you, Ruth!


For those of you interested in the progress of the poem, follow along with the poets on their blogs in this order:


4 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty

6 Irene at Live Your Poem

7 Linda at TeacherDance

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

13 Linda at A Word Edgewise

15 Donna at Mainely Write

16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle

19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan

20 Linda at Write Time

23 Amy at The Poem Farm

24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Buffy at Buffy's Blog

28 Kat at Kat's Whiskers

29 April at Teaching Authors

30 Doraine at Dori Reads

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