Sunday, December 09, 2007


[This week at Read Write Poem we were challenged to "change up your line length." While I write a lot of poems with short lines, I was not "feeling" a long-line poem. My free verse tends to be so conversational that without the shorter lines, all I seemed to have are paragraphs, not stanzas. I realized, though that I break lines where I want a pause, so for a challenge, I decided to write a poem with a shape to it, where the line breaks are based on the visual and not as a cue for the reader. I'm hoping this is conveyed as I want it on the web.]



I note the crisp

cap and precise
hair and confident

look of the soldier as
she stands with arm up
in a salute. She exudes honor
as she awaits a return salute. I am
sure there is a code, a rule that says

how long she must stand there
waiting, but I do not know
what it is. I was once urged
to apply to West Point,
but I knew I would not
make a good soldier,
not if it meant that I
had to toe the line,
to hold my tongue,
stem the endless
flow of questions I
knew I would have.


Jo said...

I enjoyed this....well done on layout.

sister AE said...

Thanks, Jo. It was as much a jigsaw puzzle as a poem - pieces had to fit spacially as well as meaning-wise.

Mariacristina said...

I remember once in Mexico holding my arm up forever while they sang their national anthem!

I can see how difficult it must be to shape the lines to match an image. You succeeded.

sister AE said...

Hello, Mariacristina. If I had to do that I think my arm would fall off! Or I might wish it would.... Thanks.

paisley said...

well you certainly accomplished your goal,, as i notice the shape of the salute even in the image less version... nice job!!!!

sister AE said...

Thanks, Paisley. I think I want to try it with a shape a little more iconic - instantly recognizable. If they work, I'll post them.

gautami tripathy said...

You did that very well.

I tried a paradelle:
scientifically insane

sister AE said...

Thanks, Gautami. I saw your paradelle and was impressed.

...deb said...

It seems you also used crisp words to caryy the tone/shape. I found reading just the last words of the line pert, too.

You stretched nicely.

SweetTalkingGuy said...

It works well and you stretched it in just the right places to make it fit the image.

Anonymous said...

This was an interesting twist on the prompt, but very nice! I thought no one did concrete poetry anymore....

sister AE said...

Hi, ...deb. Thank you. And thanks for pointing out the last words, too. I wish I could say that my choice of those exact words was on purpose, but it wasn't. But now, I want to tinker to find if I can make them carry their own weight, simultaneous to the rest of the piece.

Thanks, SweetTalkingGuy.

Hello, Tom. I saw some great concrete poetry in a book a few years ago, and I think its been kicking around in the back of my mind since then. It was a lot of fun.

Cloudscome said...

This is great! I love how you used the shape and still said what you said.

sister AE said...

Thanks, Cloudsome.