Lyrical Prose or Prose Poems?
Today was the last day of the 7th poetry challenge week for Our Lost Jungle website operated by Khara House. It’s a marvelous site and everyone should stop in just to see how this thing works. The form challenge for this week was to write a prose poem.
What is a prose poem? Well, it gets complicated because consensus is hard to come by on that question. To quote Khara, who teaches poetry:
For our purposes, though, let’s pool a few standard “rules” of the prose poem form to work with:
1. A prose poem is a poem that is written in prose (which basically means a poem without line breaks—I purposely avoid using the term “paragraph of poetry” as some poets do, because it’s something more than a paragraph)
2. It is the job of the poet writing a prose poem to ensure that the poem still maintains a “poetic quality”
3. To maintain that quality, the poet should employ common poetic techniques, such as rhyme, repetition, heightened imagery, fragmentation, etc.
4. A prose poem can be anywhere from a few lines to a full page, and beyond”
I made two attempts at this challenge. Here they are for your enjoyment.
The perfect spot to rest and reflect squatted a dozen yards ahead; the brook widened and wrapped around it like a snake eating its own tail, leaving a tiny island isolated from the world. A fold of hazelnut root, sheltered and shaded by dreamy green of Lady’s Slippers and Solomon’s Seal drew my attention as congregations of May-apples gossiped in the breeze. Their saucy white-blossomed petticoats flirted with me, while the sickly sweet scent of those petticoats rode the breeze to mingle with the distinctive smells of wild herbs. Other greens added their odors to blend with that of loamy soil to form a unique perfume around my tiny secret island.
# # # #
My poor young self listened to the words string themselves into commentary, wrapping around daydream like so much cotton candy on a stick. When I found the desert with its solitude and saguaro sentries, I drank in its nights while sitting under a blanket of the galaxy’s brightest stars. Air tasted of cactus flowers and dust, and coyotes howled for the sake of hearing their own chorus. Skunks did their nightly rounds, looking to pilfer whatever delicacies were left unattended. Words came. Not in a flood, but rather with the smoothness of a desert creek; shy, hiding from onlookers until sunlight couldn’t be avoided, when it burst forth to glitter and pulsate with personal meaning. That piece of me that always waited for the right time emerged, and the quiet inner voice remained to tell its stories and run the mental projector. Now, though, a real audience sat in the theater. I focused on that murmur and listened. Awareness hummed within me.
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