{pf: poetry peeps do the dizain}

Greetings! Welcome to another Poetry Peeps adventure on Poetry Friday!

You’re invited to try our challenge in the month of April! Here’s the plan: We’re going to write an “in the style of” poem after Chickasaw poet Linda Hogan’s “Innocence.” Does “in the style of” mean a line-by-line imitation, including the idea of innocence in the theme, or using the word within your poem? Only YOU know for sure! Interested? Good! You’ve got a month to craft your creation(s), then share your offering (or someone else’s) with the rest of us on April 30th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals.

Did you grow up with a family who did Spring Cleaning? I didn’t, not really – we just cleaned house like it was Spring, every Sunday. Somehow though, no matter how I didn’t grow up, we still end up doing a version of Spring Cleaning at my house. It rarely coincides with the actual start-date of Spring, but it starts out with “we should really get the windows cleaned” and devolves into a flurry of vacuuming and organizing shelves. This past Sunday, I got a burst of energy – a rarity lately with this autoimmune disorder – and tackled the dust under the futon which had been leering at me. We washed duvet covers and pillows, scoured vinegar and baking soda on the shower floor (it’s supposed to be good for granite), organized the fridge and freezer, sanded and oiled the porch rocking chair, re-potted a couple of plants, and even raked up the last of the little spiky tree balls on the lawn. I felt pretty good about all of the work we got through, until I saw the texts from my poetry group. Are you coming? Are you joining us today?

Oops. Darn it!

Sadly, as my writing group can attest, housework occasionally gets the better of me. I fully intend to be where I’m meant to, but a dusty shelf or a streaky mirror distracts me. It’s not as if I even prefer to clean than to write – not even a little tiny bit – but I had my father’s preferred activity for me pretty well braided as an extra strand into my DNA through childhood. Though it’s nice to have vacuum lines on the living room rug, I missed talking words, hearing what everyone’s reading, and discussing what we’re doing next month. So, my dizain today is slightly narrative (but since I write fiction, it’s emotionally true rather than factual).

Appointment With Art

“Appointment with the Arts” my notebook read,
but I skipped reading for a messy chore,
letting my planning for the week ahead
drain from the weekend’s restful reservoir
the freshness, verve, and life it held before.
I chose a solid thing – hard-edged, *brick shaped,
and fed my soul on duty, scrubbed and scraped –
exchanged the weekend vibe for day-to-day,
set my own snare, and foiled my own escape!
Dull Jackie chose to work when she should play.

Dizains always involve some finessing for me – I forever think I have the pattern cold, and then when I read back, realize I’ve gotten something (usually several somethings) out of order. And then I do that deep breath/eye roll thing and start over. It’s all about patience with the process! I loved the idea of work/duty/responsibility as something pedestrian and brick-shaped, so borrowed that phrase from Barbara Kingsolver’s “How to Drink Water When There Is Wine,” a poem which Tricia shared with the poetry group last week.

My Poetry Peeps have doubtless produced less dispiriting dizains than mine! Please do check out Tricia’s here. This one is Laura’s, and Kelly’s is here. Here’s Liz’s and you’ll find Sara’s poem here, and Michelle Kogan’s is here. More Poetry Peeps will check in throughout the day, so stay tuned.

Art by Marc Johns.

More poetry? Yep: Poetry Friday is gloriously blooming today at Susan Bruck’s Soul Blossom Living, where she’s doing a round-up of who is doing what next month for National Poetry Month. I’m going to try for a poem-a-day, but we’ll see where that lands. For now, here’s to sitting down with a book, or grabbing a jacket and finding some tadpole puddles, and ignoring those cobwebs for one more day. Happy Weekend.

13 Replies to “{pf: poetry peeps do the dizain}”

  1. “I chose a solid thing – hard-edged, *brick shaped,
    and fed my soul on duty, scrubbed and scraped –”

    Oi. I felt like you peeked inside my head and stole my dreary work ethic. This is so well done, Tanita, though it made me a little bit sad, too.

    1. @laurasalas: Thank you. I am reflecting lately on duty and the things to which I mistakenly have believed I owe more duty than is making me happy… and trying to figure out where happiness fits into any of it anyway. Poetry often peeks inside my head and tries to make sense of what it finds there…

  2. Ha ha ha — I love that you took your missed writing date as the inspiration for your poem. Also, spring cleaning every Sunday — LOL. But you are NO Dull Jackie, TD. I love this….

  3. I like the idea of “finding some tadpole puddles” much more than cleaning… And whenever I use old newspapers for some household task I end up reading them. But what fun fodder your mishap provided for your dizain, though next time I hope Jackie will play, delightful poem Tanita, thanks!

    1. @Michelle Kogan: LOL! Same for me, with the old newspapers; additionally, stacks of old magazines never go anywhere because I plop down and wonder why I didn’t clip out whatever recipes… ::sigh:: Oh, well, our windows may never be clean, but we will be well-read forever!

  4. Oh my, I can relate to getting distracted, but I’m more likely to let the pages of a book distract me from the cleaning I probably should be doing.

  5. I do get it when you wrote ‘distracted by a streaky mirror’. I see it and go for the Windex instead of what I originally planned. I also think this has happened more with our Pandemic life, seems as if we have so.much.time! I like the poem’s personal look at where you are right now: “set my own snare, and foiled my own escape!” It fits!

  6. Oh, Dull Jackie, you make me laugh. A day of deep cleaning can be a restful thing, for sure….there’s something about really noticing and making bright again what we own…but I’m sorry you didn’t have time for work AND play. I missed the session too (as you know) so next time, pinky swear, we will be there, ok??

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