For this exercise, we’re going to play with poetry. Whether or not you enjoy it, you’ve probably had to write a poem or two at some point in your life. (most likely in school) Poetry is a beautiful way to express yourself, and there are many ways to do it. You can write in rhyme or in free verse, stick to rigid forms or not. You can write about any topic. Poetry is a little more forgiving in terms of structure than stories. Punctuation plays a slightly different role, (Some poems don’t even use it.) and you don’t have to adhere to the usual subject/verb tradition. (Your piece can actually be more effective when straying from the expected.)

Appreciation for poetry is subjective. I’ll tell you that right away, so if you resist trying your hand at it because you don’t think you can measure up to the masters, quit worrying. I can’t promise you fame and accolades for your poetic endeavors, but there is likely to be someone, somewhere whose understanding will resonate with your words. Or, even better, write it for yourself. Just like any other form of writing it can be therapeutic for your soul.

We’re going to do something very simple that my class did for the Poetry Workshop. Everyone in the class chose a word or phrase, then we had to make a poem using all the words. Believe me when I say that this was a case of “easier said than done”. Our list consisted of twenty-one words, and they weren’t exactly cohesive. Observe.

fracas

grace

daydream

moon

fork

fire

paranormal

honeyfuggle

breathe me to life

honesty

la bella vita

surreal

the sea

warrior

crucible

Jesus

confounding

no pain, no gain

exhaust

acorn woodpecker

flaming marshmallows

Just for the record, according to Merriam-Webster.com:

honeyfuggle: transitive verb

  1. 1chiefly dialectal: deceive,cheat,cozen: to obtain by cheating or deception: finagle

  2. 2chiefly dialectal: flatter,cajole,blandish

            1. intransitive verb
  1. chiefly dialectal: to ingratiate or seek to ingratiate oneself so as to cheat or deceive

Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to write a poem inspired by (and using) this list of words. Additionally, you can find another way to create a list such as asking friends or random strangers on social media. I take no responsibility for the list you end up with if you choose the second option. It is amazing to see what your mind can do when faced with something like this. The words can be strangely inspirational since they are probably not words we would choose ourselves on a regular basis.

For my piece, I somehow settled on the leanan sidhe as my focal point. (I have no clue how that happened.) For those who aren’t familiar with these amazing creatures, I’ll introduce you with this beautiful description found at:

http://mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?170031-Leanan-Sidhe-Folklore-of-the-Week

Leanan Sidhe is often quoted as meaning “the fairy mistress” or the “fairy sweetheart”. She is a the famous Celtic muse with such a dark and unearthly beauty that her lover was often distraught with longing and suffering for her absence. In legend, the Leanan Sidhe often takes an artist for a lover, hence the title “the fairy sweetheart”. It is said that her lover gives her the vital depth of emotion that she craves and she in turn inspires his genius.

He is the artist, who lost without his inspiration, unable to create his works of art and compositions of song, suffers in a deep depression and sometimes commits suicide or gives up his creative work in despair. Yet an artist who has lost the connection to his muse has failed to honor and nurture the gift he has been given. The role of the artist in the loss of his muse is not often considered or understood. The self destructive nature of many inspired artists probably lent itself to the misconception that she was evil and dangerous. Evil is not darkness, for darkness she is, and she can also be dangerous and destructive. When her gift is honored and nurtured, she shines as a luminous light in the darkness. For those who understand her true nature, who do not idolize or fear her, she is a sliver of moonlight in the blackest night.”

Pop over and read the full piece. Beautifully done.

This combination of words and inspiration lead to the following poem, which… Well, you can tell which words I found a little tricky to include.

Leanan Sidhe

She spawned amidst the fracas of apocalyptic grace and madness,

Stole the hearts of kings and peasants just to sip their tears of sadness;

She danced within a daydream and whispered to the moon,

Ate daintily at every meal with silver fork and spoon.

She gazed with eyes that rivaled fire, a paranormal spark,

Used ruby lips to honeyfuggle comely artists after dark.

She listened to their quiet pleas and took them in her arms

Smiled softly as they prayed to her, “Breathe me to life once more!”

She welcomed all their desperate words, her honesty unquestioned,

Bestowed her magic charms upon their every grand intention.

She lived la bella vita, spun a never-ending dream,

Rode on waves of surreal pleasures like the rolling of the sea.

She was warrior and saint, and the fount of inspiration,

Nursed many a quickening poet through the birth of his creation.

She braved the tragedy of changing times, a crucible of ages,

Awakened to the modern world of glass and concrete cages.

She wears a golden effigy of Jesus on his cross, and

Stumbles through confounding days; empty-eyed and lost.

She listens to novel motivators; “No pain, no gain!” they shout, and

Recalls the price her lovers paid to bring success about.

She steals through wooded landscapes when the memories exhaust her,

Takes comfort in the laughing cry of a wayward acorn woodpecker.

She comes across a campsite, flaming marshmallows ablaze

Mirroring the spark of power she once held in ancient days.

Feel free to share your poems or questions in the comments.

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