Monday, December 08, 2008

RAP: Found in the Outdoor Journal II

sky after chesterwood.nadeau

As I said before, I want to preserve bits of the outdoor journal. So I salvage sentences, dress them up in line breaks and set them here.


Pine is sprung
with a million tiny
liquid globes, set

to capture day's grey
light or splash an
unsuspecting passerby.


I did not
to leave the warmth
of the kitchen,
scent of
fresh-roasted granola
and evening's
potato curry.


Maples shake
shower the woods,
while pine barely
trembles, keeps
shivering pearls
to herself.




while I
did not


in faltering
sun, needles


Squirrel tail
wiggles, a weightless
question mark.


Dying dogwood: a rippled
set of leafless branches
yearning towards sky.


Mosaic of leaves
fans out from
canopy of wood-
winged bushes;
I feel at a loss
for words.


already golden
at the tip, a small
that summer
will soon


I shall not
the mosquitoes!




I take off
my glasses,
am privy to a
softer, brighter
wood, living


New squirrel
in the woods,
black like a
velvet cat!


Pine branches...
spokes in two directions,
lateral 'round trunk and
spinning 'cross knobbly
joints of each protusion—
wheels within wheels,
Ezekiel tree.


Silken web undulates,
a lady's private wash
upon the wind.


Lesser fauna
the first
soft weeping,
shed summer's
and substance.


Kale is
bluing and




Wild cowboy squirrels
buck through hemlocks;
cardinals shoot out, cry.


Fall's dry fingers open
winter's white duvet,
shake and ready it.




Spider's suspension bridge:
one line, span supported
by a single silken cable.


Puffs of pine needles
shimmy like fat grass
hula skirts.


Let the mosquito
land. Then you can
swat him.


Red berries on
thorn bush— bright
packages for birds.


Lone, fresh forsythia bud
spills October's secret:
too flirtatious with the sun!


Pine flames
amber under Fall's
enroaching torch.


Geese call overhead,
fading sound of
goodbye summer.


Yellow and red
splash against
my black umbrella.


Lightning flashes
and I write
of yellow leaves.


Mischief pine has
decked the little
bush beside me with
a thousand threads
of bronze needle
tinsel, draped her
in surprise holiday.

I'm pleased to have found so many poems in one day. I realize, looking at all these next to each other, that I use the word soft too much. Which was no problem in the journal. But which I would need to attend to if I wanted to really work on poetry. However, I'm not your read-the-dictionary type. Suggestions?

Sunset photo by Gail Nadeau. Used with permission.

POETRY FRIDAY (or thereabouts):
Little Sonia's To the Lake, to the Ribbon Red at LL's Green Inventions
Erica's Writer's Block

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Blogger Erin said...

These are nice to read on a crisp, grey day like today.

For your issue with "soft"; I'd fix a cup of tea and read the thesaurus. Or listen to my kids describing their slippers, stuffed animals, favorite blankies, clothes fresh out of the dryer... they always come up with descriptions that feel soft when I hear them say it, even though they aren't saying the word, "soft." Many kids are truly poetic.

This morning I was thinking about your title for this next book, God in the Yard. In England, "garden" is used to describe the lovely place surrounding your home where you throw parties, sit on the patio to sip iced tea, or tend to the edible flowers.
"Yard" is reserved for dingy places such as, "salvage yard," "junk yard"... the place where the unwanted, the broken and the weeds are left to do as they will.

I rather like that image of finding God in the (British-style) yard. (Of course, I also like to find Him where my flowers grow.) ;)

11:55 AM  
Blogger Nikki said...

You seem at home in poetry as in the world; which is something I admire and wish I could say of myself. Even if you have pet words like 'soft', they do not diminish the beauty of the word pictures you paint. I think if I were looking for a solution to over-use of a single word, I would probably just make the word off-limits for a few days and write on. I don't know if your journaling has rules -- I suppose it's a rather liberated form in its essence -- but if you can create such a rule and remain in the spirit of what you are doing there, I think you will find you have more than enough words at your disposal when you really examine whatever soft thing you are writing about, whether it is the pillowy loft of the grass, the smoothness of a child's tender skin or the muted color of a gloomy cloud. Having said that, I am clearly not an expert on this sort of writing... I'm just pragmatic about these things.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Marcus Goodyear said...

I like the Ezekiel tree. And the question mark tail.

As to your question about softness... Is it the word that's overused or the metaphor. No dictionary or thesaurus can fix an overused metaphor.

And per your question: consonance is repetition of consonant sounds at any place in the word (versus alliteration which is on the beginning of the words).

Consonance: his sad sibilance wrestled his sensations.

Alliteration: some snakes see sugarplums

A related trick is assonance--the repetition of vowel sounds.

Assonance: a low groaning moan

Poetry lessons delivered regularly to your comment threads...

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I especially like iv and v. Thanks for sharing.
Every once in a while, I try poetry. Of course, that's no way to practice an art. Practicing means everyday. It means commitment. Which is why my poetry is by no means poetic.
I tell myself that's now how I attach myself to words. I'm not fluid and beautiful. But it's probably really my lack of discipline.
And, when you get down to it, understanding.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lots of good words here

they provide wonderful images in my minds eye and heart

i suppose you could use the down south way...

soft as a cricket's chirp

as cotton candy

as ice cream

like a baby's butt

a summer's breeze

a child's kiss

a feather in the air

:-) ya'll have a good day

1:22 PM  
Blogger Jennifer @ said...

Don't strike "soft" entirely.

Sometimes the simplest word is the right one.

I don't do poetry well -- I'm a news girl at heart -- but I know what I like. And I like what you write. Thanks L.L.

1:34 PM  
Blogger sojourner said...

I did not notice an overuse of "soft" in this words. Explain the "outdoor journal" is it a journal you keep during quiet times outside as fodder for poems? Or is it specific to the new book you're working on?

3:35 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Erin... thanks, sweet friend. As for the thesaurus, will the tea make a difference? (Feels an awful lot like dictionary reading to me :). I love your idea about listening to children. And that thing about the yard. Wow. You're always coming up with these things... I... just.... love. :)

Nikki... what a great idea. Soft off limits. But as you suggest, my journaling has no rules. That's partly what makes it rich. I go places I might not otherwise go because I'm not constrained.

Marcus... I think the Ezekiel tree was my favorite and after that the lady's wash and then the squirrel's tail. :) Thanks too for the poetry lesson. And, um, I'll try not to think about all my tired metaphors. :)

Heather... how fun to have you say you like "iv" and "v." I'm feeling Emily Dickinsonian.

Nancy... ah, simile! Now there's a thought.

Jennifer... just the encouragement I need, oh soft-of-heart-one. :)

Sojourner... I made "outdoor journal" into a live link, so you can explore the history behind the journal. And, yes, by now it's related to my next book, though it didn't begin that way.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

This was luxury to read so many sensory poems. Thank you.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

I like that mosquito one! All good, though.

L.L., I passed an award on to you. I know you love memes!

4:47 AM  
Blogger sojourner said...

Yes! I sought the live link for your "Journal" post and your "Outdoor Journal is exactly what I suspected it was! I also have a "secret" place where I go to jot creative fodder down in a journal. I found it last year out in the woods behind an expanse of field on our ranch. I do crazy things to get different perspectives: standing on my head, crouching behind trees, climbing trees, on tummy, on back, on knees. My family thanks I'm crazy - especially since my son discovered me one on my tummy with my chin resting on the ground as I peered through the tall mahaya grass to view the many spider webs that danced across the field. I'm glad you share so much of your creative process!

8:31 AM  
Blogger Carey said...

Like the "living impressionism." Love looking at my Christmas tree without my glasses. Beautiful.

4:08 PM  
Blogger Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

Please, set them here, all here.
Because I will come visit again and again.
A moment here, a moment there, to taste these words again.
Word chocolates left out for guests.
Thank you, L.L.

(And free poetry lessons from Marcus, too? Perfect! Such hospitality!)

8:27 PM  
Blogger Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

(And if these are the sweets that aren't packed into GiY... I cannot *wait* to hold what you've carefully crafted for that work!)

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i posted a little photo for you!

i snaped it in hawaii,

hang lose!

10:23 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

I added a bit of a descriptor, as I realized in reading it later, that I hadn't described you in your blogging at all! But no problem at all, if you don't get to doing this on your own blog.

3:46 AM  
Blogger Joelle said...

What's left to say? What pure, simple decadence you have fed my soul! I want to go back again slowly, maybe a word a day, and sip, nibble. Hmmm, if I took out my contacts, the world would truly be an impressionist wash of blur, a poetic way of seeing. I enjoy the view through your eyes....

7:42 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

Wow! It is such a blessing to come over here and be drenched in beautiful groupings of words. I am amazed at how you've pulled poetry from your journal this way (and yet I suspect in raw form, first written down, there was already poetry there).

We all have pet words, don't we? Someone once pointed out that they associated the word "wonderful" with me because of my frequent use of it. I'm in agreement with Jennifer about being slow to remove it.

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

um...i mean loose.


i am nut gud as speling

12:32 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

I shall not
the mosquitoes!

Oh, the feelings that stirs!! Pardon me; I think I have something in my eye. (sniff)

5:50 PM  
Blogger Lynet said...

They're like haiku, LL. In fact, the syllable structure of haiku never does anything for me (I think it's sort of silly to import it from the Japanese as if it would automatically work the same way in English). So I'd say some of these practically are haiku, or as close as you'll get in English.

One comment about number ix. The bit about "I feel at a loss for words" is slightly jarring for me in this one. The overriding theme here is poems where the observer is present only in the word choice -- know what I mean? I feel what you feel, but only because I see through your description. Ironically, mentioning what you feel explicitly seems almost like a sudden separation. I swap from feeling with you to listening to you.

On the other hand, the use of the first person in xi is frank and wonderful and refreshing. The beauty of the rest seems so much more lively afterwards.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like them. Love the idea of journaling like this. But I especially appreciated Mr. Goodyear's poetry lessons. I am always at a loss when it comes to punctuating poetry!

11:06 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Ruth... I'm happy that you found a little comfort here. :)

Ted... thanks for the award. And I liked the mosquito one too. It was so... amusingly dark.

Sojourner... your methods made me absolutely smile. I think you and I are kindred spirits.

Carey... ah yes, the Christmas tree! A blur of lovely color. :)

Ann... glad you found them to be like chocolates (and not wheat thins or something). I love reading poetry with you here in the living room. :)

Nancy... awesome photo. I linked to it.

Joelle... thanks. Though I always wish I could see perfectly, there is that fun thing about the Impressionism that is mine if I want it.

A Musing... how nice to be full of wonder. :) And, well, most of these poems were just sentences that were hiding out waiting for some line breaks to come along.

Craver... ha! I got a good laugh as usual at the expense of your tears. ;-)

Lynet... as always, I can depend on you for an honest appraisal. I admit, I did not try to make these into anything in particular... just lifted stuff from the journal and occasionally changed a word. So the inconsistency you hear is just my regular rambling self as I sound unedited in my journal. :)

Dianne... actually I just picked up bits of sentences and so forth. No method except that of gleaning. :) And, yes, that Mr. Goodyear is an excellent poetry teacher.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Shosannah said...

I really enjoyed induling in these beautiful words today.
Simple and so very beautiful as they are :0)

8:52 AM  

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