Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you dream it, with me, the pull of smoky depths sliced through
with the jagged diamond light of falling stars?
Did you hear it, how the syncopation of words knocked off
the rail, not making time with the heart's own rhythms?
Did you feel it too, that single infallible catching of the breath,
holding in the air the length of the fall?
Did you too taste it, the crumbed bread gone to mold,
the fruit of the wine turned to bitters?
Did you imagine it, at last, looking up, his face in the moon
and a hand out?
© 2010 Maureen E. Doallas
I wrote this poem in response to two challenges. The first was posted at Poets at SheWrites, an online group to which I belong at SheWrites. My friend, the poet Jenne R. Andrews, came across Mary Oliver's "The Swan" (originally published in The Paris Review, No. 124, Fall 1992) and, offering it as a prompt for a poem, suggested we take a line from "The Swan" and then go in any direction in crafting a poem of our own. I selected the first line: Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river? The second challenge was posted by poet L.L. Barkat at The High Calling for this week's Random Acts of Poetry (RAP) event. It calls for writing a catalogue poem, in which words repeat at the start or end of a series of lines, the repetition meant to build and, as L.L. explains, "create a sense of magic, a feeling of the mystical, or even or prophecy or praise. . . [to transcend] a person's thoughts and cares, moving him to a different frame of mind. . . ." L.L.'s own examples of catalogue poems can be found here and here.
For more information about catalogue poems and how to write them (confession: I wrote my poem before looking up the term), go here and here.
RAP is open to anyone. If you would like to participate, post your poem on your blog and link back to The High Calling for other contributors' links and a possible feature in this week's follow-up post. Be sure to leave your link in L.L.'s comment box by Wednesday, November 10.
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