Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Catalog: Take Two


I gave up.

But that didn't seem like a final answer.

So I went back to my pencil and paper, and worked on more catalog poems. This one seemed perhaps good enough to share. After I finished it, I realized that very few poets carry on a catalog (repeating the same words) for more than a few lines. Maybe I will try again, using that strategy, but for today, here is one that carries it all the way through...

Like any other day,

you breathe and a tiny piece of the world disappears, slips into
you; I am carried forward by the emptiness
you don't even know how you move me without trying
you exhale and I am like dust that turns in the light
you lift a woolen sleeve, pull, make shadows in the hall. I watch
you press an old latch—it sticks and I realize we still haven't fixed it
you have the smallest fingers, but somehow they struggle through
you stand between me and the world, what will I do if, without turning,
you, like autumn just outside this window, leave, or unleave.

Stream at Rockefeller Park photo, by L.L. Barkat. This post is in honor of One Shot Wednesday.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

you you you got it goin' on.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

Stopped to read this again since seeing it on FB. It doesn't deserve to be described as "catalog". As my friend Jay might remark, it's not only a poem, it's poetry.

That image of "dust that turns in the light" is provocative and evocative. And then there is the depth of the mother's heart , the invisible visible in the words so moving.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

creates a picture! I love it.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Claudia said...

i stand in awe - this was breath-taking - your words were like feathers - gliding through the air - a bit to this side, then turn - fall - carried up again by a gentle breeze...downright beautiful!

6:45 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

What Maureen said! It is beautiful- gentle and delicate, and you did a perfect job with the "yous."

7:49 PM  
Blogger dustus said...

Love the poem, and must say that first line "you breathe and a tiny piece of the world disappears" —spent a few minutes thinking about that one.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Carrie Van Horn said...

A poet after my own heart....i just love this....truly breathtaking! :-)

9:36 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I am so glad you are writing poetry again,
and sharing it.


10:09 PM  
Blogger Glynn said...

It's quiet. It evokes a silence. I aagree with Maureen -- you can't really call it a "catalog" poem -- it is more than that.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Brian Miller said...

for me it is the movement of the piece that is comforting the inhale/exhale pull/ release...i wanted to move with it...

10:23 AM  
Blogger Marshy said...

there was so many lines that made you stop and pause...wonderful share ..thanks pete

12:12 PM  
Blogger Shashidhar Sharma said...

Its a beautiful verse and I enjoyed the way you effortlessly worked out you in the beginning of the lines... I enjoyed your picture of love...

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
Twitter: @VerseEveryDay
Blog: http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com

12:15 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

"Unleave" - very clever! Fall does indeed un-leave the trees. Then it leaves the leaves on the ground and leaves.

(I'll leave it at that!)

Nice One Shot, L.L.!

12:20 PM  
Blogger PattiKen said...

Beautiful. There are so many phrases that carry wonderful images with them. Well done.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Valorie said...

Oh! Oh!
An aha! gasp of amazement. I can't get past the first two lines:
"you breathe and a tiny piece of the world disappears, slips into you; I am carried forward by the emptiness"

I've been weeping my way through "Stone Crossings" which I bought randomly 5 months ago, but just started 2 days ago. Found your blog today.

"you breathe and a tiny piece of the world disappears, slips into you; I am carried forward by the emptiness"

I can't get the image of Jesus on the cross out of my mind: each gasping breath carrying me closer to His cross, my lungs exhaling the world, collapsing with the emptiness only He can fill as He breathes and carries me forward!

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So much to think about in this poem. I'd like to learn more about the form.

8:08 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

thanks for your article on "the work of a poem" at thehighcalling.org I had something that was "sort of" cataloging, though not really and posted and linked it to thehighcalling.org :

Here it is: http://findtheflametofan.blogspot.com/2010/11/twenty-minutes-is-time-enough.html

(my husband says it actually sounds like a rap and so he raps it;)

I am going to start fresh and try a true catalog poem...

and thanks for your gorgeous one...

11:19 PM  
Blogger Mama K said...


I found something that I wrote some time ago. Is this the catalog technique? If so, it is just something I do, without knowing it was a "technique".

11:25 PM  
Blogger Kelly Sauer said...

your photography of late has been so wonderful...

9:16 AM  
Blogger sojourner said...

nice, nice, nice, i like the words "leave" and "unleave" - you did good!

10:02 AM  
Blogger Reflections said...

'You breathe and a tiny piece of the world disappears,' you had me drawn into the emptiness, looking around from the first line. Beautiful imagery, pausing to take it all in.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Monica Sharman said...

You, dear one.

You . . .
You . . .
You . . .

There you are. And here's a RAP:

Great, great prompt!

12:04 AM  
Blogger Stephie said...

LL, I love your poem and thanks for this prompt.

I am leaving my link here.


7:49 PM  
Blogger Susanne Barrett said...

Your poem is amazing! So evocative. I love the ending, the leaving and unleaving.

I took my turn at a "catalog" poem, combining it with another prompt as well:


11:35 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Good morning L.L. :-)

Here is my contribution:

11:55 AM  
Blogger David K Wheeler said...

I would like to add my new poem, The Kiss, for consideration:

1:06 PM  
Blogger Melissa Campbell said...

You had me at the first line...beautiful prose! I wrote You Hold My Sky last week, and was saving it for One Shot Wednesday. But then I found your blog and realized I had written a catalog poem without knowing it. I would love to submit my poem, and would so appreciate your thoughts.



1:49 PM  
Blogger Melissa Campbell said...

I am submitting another poem, one I wrote last week which I think may be classified as catalog as well:


Thank you.
And many blessings,

2:27 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

Here's my contribution, "From the Bridge":

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Sandra Heska King said...

Here's my sorta maybe one.


10:13 PM  
Blogger Mozi Esme said...

Your High Calling post inspired me:

Hopefully this is just the inauguration of my return to poetry - thank you for the inspiration. Love the "unleave" term...

11:10 PM  
Blogger Kath said...

Hi L.L.
I've had a go at a catalog. Thanks for the prompt.
:) Kath

7:40 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for being a great teacher! Here is my try...


10:01 AM  
Blogger SimplyDarlene said...

Oh my, such beauty.

Here is my RAP entry.



1:18 PM  
Blogger Kathleen Overby said...

Muy dificil!

My RAP offering. http://koverb.blogspot.com/2010/11/we-all-get-one.html

2:39 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love your work. You prompted me to research catalog poems a little more, and it turns out that a lot of my work would fit the general category. Who knew?

Anyway, I know I'm late with my RAP, and don't expect to be included in the post, but I'm completing the recommended process all the same, just because I'm trying to follow through on things rather than leaving them suspended without conclusion as has been my habit.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I am late.

I am not even sure I got it right. I did not start every line the same, but repeated my opening every few lines.

here it is:


2:36 PM  

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