For the past 19 days the progressive poem has pirouetted, sambaed, jitterbugged, swung, and soared around the blogosphere. Line-by-line the poets before me danced their way to dizzying heights, and then safely brought this creation to earth. But yesterday Irene Latham, mastermind of the progressive poem, posed a problem with her line: And if you should topple, if you should flop…
Which leaves it to me to decide how to pick the poem up after it dives off of life’s trapeze. I’ll admit it. My first thought was–give up! As in: Then it’s time for this poem to stop. But that line presents a bit of a problem for the ten poets who follow. And really, I might think about giving up, but after twenty-some years I’m still writing. So how else to solve the problem? Then it occurred to me that I could solve this the way I solve all my writing problems. Procrastination! I could let our poem wallow in defeat a bit longer, and leave it to Tabatha, Laura, Joanna, Katya, Diane, Robyn, Ruth, Laura, Denise and April to scrape off the dust and get this three-ring circus flying again. And so I have:
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—
Now it’s Tabatha’s turn to decide where our poem will go. Look on the sidebar to see links for where the poem will travel next.
24 thoughts on “2013 Progressive Poem”
Hi Buffy, I’m catching up on the Progressive Poem today and had to stop in to say — WELL DONE. I’m all for procrastination and love your idea of beat-down meter and steamless rhymes – got lots of those in my pile! Too fun!
Thanks Renee. And I thoroughly enjoyed your council of cats today.
I love that it’s gone back to writing, great thinking Buffy.
Thanks Catherine, I appreciate it.
Catching up after a busy weekend! I think this is so clever, the way way it harks back to stanza 2 and continues to chronicle the real-life rather than idealized version of what writing is! And thanks for contributing so regularly to that other progressing poem–I’m having such a good time with it!
Thanks Heidi. I’ve been enjoying your poem…lots of fun to watch where it’s going, word by word. And your explanations of your word choice/punctuation/line breaks etc is making the process more interesting.
Yes…this is a magnificent set-up line! Just enough tension…but a sense that it will all be ok…we are all here together, holding each other.
Thanks, Amy. Glad you saw it as a sense that it will all be okay–that’s what I hoped the next poets would accomplish, and they have done it well.
Procrastination is great! As I always say, why do today what you can put off til tomorrow. 😉 This is a nice hand-off, though, because the next poets can do pretty much anything: get the rhythm going again, or calm it down more and put it to bed!
Thanks, Matt. I was hoping to leave it open to those who followed to change the direction, and indeed that has happened.
So SO glad you didn’t rush into fix things, Buffy, and allowed us to linger here in the muddle of failure… very considerate of you. 🙂 And hey, it’s real life, isn’t it? Thank you!
It is indeed real life…glad you added a bit of that to the poem.
I love that our poem is procrastinating! Perfect for us writers…well, maybe I should just speak for myself. Great line, Buffy!
I’m guessing you can speak for most writers with the procrastination, Penny…and probably the rest of us don’t want to hear about people who can write without procrastinating!
Your explanation made me laugh out loud since procrastinating is exactly what I am doing RIGHT NOW! I love the long-e sounds in your line. Very nice addition.
Glad I made you laugh, Carrie–I never know if anyone other than me will laugh at my attempts at humor!
I like your thought process and your line leaving us flopping around a little longer. I hope we recover soon. I’d rather be flying than flopping, even though the flops are more familiar.
Very familiar indeed, Margaret…it will be interesting to see how the poem recovers.
I agree Buffy, that we need more angst in the writing before we move into the ‘final lines’ approved! Love that you added in the feelings of ‘taking a beating’ & ‘running out of energy’. So often it feels like that! Terrific addition!
Thanks Linda–unfortunately we all feel the downsides of writing, so it’s nice to have you say it’s terrific.
I loved this “hand-off! Well procrastinated! It needed more time to get back on track. Now the solutions. Such fun to watch and ride along with!
Yes I agree–lots of fun to see where this will go next.
I loved your explanation! “My first thought was–give up! As in: Then it’s time for this poem to stop. But that line presents a bit of a problem for the ten poets who follow… Then it occurred to me that I could solve this the way I solve all my writing problems. Procrastination!” A perfectly writerly response 🙂 Thanks for passing me the baton — guess I’d better start running!
I’m sure you’ll come up with something grand. Can’t wait to see if you are going to let us wallow a bit longer, or pull us up by the bootstraps.