Monday, January 26, 2009

The Great Poem Caper


Did you hear tell?

Someone lifted my poem last week. Lifted and set it down fresh (and I do intend a double meaning there) in the comment box. It looked suspiciously like my original poem, and yet...

Well, let's just say there were a few surprises in the lifted poem. This caper occurred around the same time that Laure suggested we try a Pass-A-Poem project. (I start, someone else continues, someone else continues, and so on, publishing each version on his/her blog until I finish and publish the poem here and at High Calling Blogs. We wait with bated breath to see the mysterious process of a poem being born from many pens.)

Which made me consider. What fun to propose an all-out festival, The Great Poem Caper. With two [update: three] options. Feel free to do all three options if you're feeling energetic:


I invite you to lift a poem from Seedlings. You could take "Couch", the most recent, or search the sidebar under Poetry. Feel free to publish both my original and your "lift" on your blog or just put your "lift" in my comment box and I'll publish it next week in a post with a link to you. I'll also provide a link to you from High Calling Blogs.


Let's make this as simple as possible. I'll start in a minute, with the first line. If you want to participate, just add your second (or third or fourth or whatever line/s) to mine (or to the previous participant's) right here in the comment box. Please add no more than three lines. Then feel free to take the poem in the stage you left it in over to your blog and publish it. By Friday, I'll wrap up the poem and publish it here and at High Calling Blogs. You are welcome to publish the finished product on your blog too. This is a collaboration, and I promise to link to each participant as a thank you. (NOTE: If for some reason we have a collision in the comment box... two of you pushing the publish button at about the same moment, taking the poem in two different directions, I'll make an executive decision at the point. No worries.)

This is how the poem will work:

My first line
plus your line/s
plus someone else's line/s
plus someone else's line/s
and so on
My wrap-up line.

Here's the first line:

If memories were sparrows

OPTION 3 (thanks, Nancy, for accidentally giving me this idea) FINISH-A-POEM:

Take the first line, If memories were sparrows and craft the rest of the poem on your own. I may publish a few of these at High Calling Blogs on Friday. And I'll definitely provide a link here.

I have to say I love a good caper. Can't wait for the mystery to unfold!

Companions, mixed media art by Gail Nadeau. Used with permission.

LL Elsewhere:
the whirlwind talk from last week
Together Road

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Blogger nAncY said...

fun ideas and cool art on this post

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Marcus Goodyear said...

here's a 2nd line for you:

if memories were sparrows
the cats would still prowl

2:18 PM  
Blogger nAncY said...

lines three and four :-)

if memories were sparrows
the cats would still prowl
going meow, going meow,
going meow meow meow meow.

3:18 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Nancy, you make me smile. Where Marcus added tension, you added levity. I do wonder where the poem will eventually land.

Maybe I should offer a third option too. To take the first line and craft the rest as poem of one's own...

Yes, that could also be fun.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Sherri Watt said...

Lines five and six for you...

If memories were sparrows
the cats would still prowl
going meow, going meow
going meow, meow, meow, meow

How they'd flit through my mind
as the cat chased with ease

4:30 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm taking option number three...though the kitty and meows have captured my imagination :)

If memories were sparrows,
these clipped wings would fly
to where feather touched mountaintop
and soared.
Where innocent eyes were too new
to see dirt and filth and
breaking hearts
all around.
Where bare feet meant freedom
not poverty.
Where wealth was defined
by being loved.
Where fleshy arms
welcome this sparrow home
to the nest.

A bit disjointed but my daydreaming was interrupted today. This was so much fun, L.L.!

7:09 PM  
Blogger mom2six said...

Trying option #3:

If memories were sparrows
They’d sing a sweet song
Of glorious sunrises and
Peaceful sunsets.

The melody would rise
On wings soaring high
Crisp and clear to the
Listening human heart.

The timbre of trills
As they quickly pass by
Invites to remember
The journey of memories.

Thanks for the idea.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Laure said...

given the choice, i shall take option 3 ...

If memories were sparrows
i would no longer fear
my own migration toward nightfall or
the end of the poem
that i am in this world.

sometimes the shadow a life casts
is more sure than the life itself
and the echo of wings beating the air
than feathers at rest.

12:46 AM  
Anonymous Rain said...

If memories were sparrows
Some I'd rise upon their wings
Flit and flutter freely
Chasing higher and higher
Wind under my wings
Exhilirated, I'd never tire

If memories were sparrows
Some I'd shoot down to the ground
Watch them falling, in a deathly spiral
Till they hit the ground
I'd lift them by their tail feather
And drop them six feet underground

2:07 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

What a fun idea! I'm eager to see how the communal poem develops, but couldn't resist going in my own direction--always an individualist.

If memories were sparrows,
I might string suet and sunflower seeds
From an onion bag in the maple.
Recalling them.

Or maybe the memories, like sparrows,
Are too many.
They thieve the nooks, the sulci,
Needed by gentler songbirds
For nests

In such a case, nothing is left
But to hire a cat, haul in the suet,
Wait for faithful time
To fade the neurological traces,
Recalling them.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Katrina said...

If memories were sparrows
I'd capture them,
Those who,
wild and unexpected,
flit in and out of my mind.

They need to be sorted
gone over, studied.
They need to be separated,
those good from those bad.

It's time,
though hard,
to destroy.
To once and for all
remove forever,
those whose presence
deadens the heart.

The good, then,
may come and go
with a will of their own.
They may be looked upon
with a sweet expression,
may be touched and caressed.

Those sparrows may alight upon me
without fear
of my cringing in horror.
Alas, if memories were sparrows life would be...good.
For we, then, would decide
what could not remain
and what could.


I'm sorry, does this sound a little dark? I hope not...

Just trying to think about dwelling on the good and not the bad! :o)

7:12 PM  
Blogger Katrina said...

Oops! I didn't realize I would use up so much comment space! (blush) maybe I should have just posted that on my own blog?

Hmmm... maybe I will...

I look forward to seeing how the other poem turns out here! :o)

7:15 PM  
Blogger Lorrie said...

Hi L.L. Wonderful fun. I choose #3

memories were sparrows

They would flit
in sparks
above our heads
or bounce
as rain
upon the ground

They'd be busy

Singing songs
and eating seeds
or flying
like kites
on waves of heat

or slowing down

Burrowing deep
into tangled brush
to hide
and huddle against
the blue pursed
lips of winter

memories were sparrows

7:16 PM  
Blogger Charity Singleton said...

Oh those lovely sparrows -- I need to sit with them a while. Poetry doesn't come so easily to this foggy mind. But if memories are sparrows, then those sparrows will not stay roosting for long.

Love all of this beautiful poetry, LL and all.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Nikki said...

Well, I took on the challenge and decided not to clutter your blog with the results. They are available in my most recent post. You picked the perfect starting line for me, because it captured a theme that had been fascinating me all day!

11:52 PM  
Blogger 23 degrees said...

If memories were sparrows they would nest in my hair, and sing in my ear their songs of deliverance.

If memories were sparrows, I would mend up their broken, and set flight the dark wing—the wild thing on bow.

If memories were sparrows, I would feed them on dreams and the seeds of my longing, shelter their offspring from rain and from fire.

And then they would flourish—guarding my journeys with song ever-present

On earth and in sky.

If memories were sparrows

1:03 AM  
Blogger Katrina said...

Dear L.L.

Thank you so much for your kind words both times at my blog... your encouragement has been like a flower blossoming within me.

I had no idea how fun this would be and I feel like a whole new world has opened up around me...

I am seeing life in poetry and poetry in life.

Thank you for writing such a wonderful blog here.


11:19 AM  
Blogger Prairie Chick said...

I saw various dear ones doing your challenge around the web and the opening line just set up shop in my head last night and birthed it's own poetic child within when I laid my head down to rest, so I too will share. I have posted it with accompanying photos at the following url Blessings one and all.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Prairie Chick said...

sorry, that link was short, it requires .html at the end

11:01 AM  
Blogger nAncY said...

i finished up the one marus started, and posted it today.

we should do this again sometime.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

Love this, L.L.! What homely fun. Just now posted my own ending to your incredible first line.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Oh, this was fun! Mine is on my blog:

12:10 AM  

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