Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Progressive Poem's denouement!

Howdy Campers!

Remember to enter to win in our 4 x 4 Blogiversary Celebration!
Today I have the absolute honor and (as Esther would say) knee-buckling responsibility to write the last line of 2013's Progressive Poem.  Yay!  And yikes!

The brainchild of Irene Latham, this Progressive Poem has been moving from blog to blog, growing poet by poet, for 29 days until it's come here for one final line.  For the poem and a list of contributing poets, see below.
At the end of a month posting rough drafts of poems about dogs, I think you could say that this, too, is a rough draft.  As Laura Puride Salas says, it's poetry improv.  Yes, and a poetry game.  It's been fascinating to read the process of those who've proceeded me.

When I got the line by Denise Mortensen, it's such a great line, I thought I should just write THE END.  Then I could talk about how a poet needs to know when to quit and when a good line's a good ending.  That would be funny. If only I had the courage!

But I don't.  So off we go!

Here is the list of the poets who each contributed a line (in this space, some appear to be a line and then some, but they are all really one line each), and below their names is the (yikes!) finished poem.  Take a bow, poets!

by Thirty Poets on a mission in the Kidlitosphere...see list above

When you listen to your footsteps
the words become music and
the rhythm that you’re rapping gets your fingers tapping, too.
Your pen starts dancing across the page
a private pirouette, a solitary samba until
smiling, you’re beguiling as your love comes shining through.

Pause a moment in your dreaming, hear the whispers
of the words, one dancer to another, saying
Listen, that’s our cue! Mind your meter. Find your rhyme.
Ignore the trepidation while you jitterbug and jive.
Arm in arm, toe to toe, words begin to wiggle and flow
as your heart starts singing let your mind keep swinging

from life’s trapeze, like a clown on the breeze.
Swinging upside down, throw and catch new sounds–
Take a risk, try a trick; break a sweat: safety net?
Don’t check! You’re soaring and exploring,
dangle high, blood rush; spiral down, crowd hush–
limb-by-line-by-limb envision, pyramidic penned precision.

And if you should topple, if you should flop
if your meter takes a beating; your rhyme runs out of steam—
know this tumbling and fumbling is all part of the act,
so get up with a flourish. Your pencil’s still intact.
Snap those synapses! Feel the pulsing through your pen
Commit, measure by measure, to the coda’s cadence.

You've got them now--in the palm of your hand!
Finger by finger you’re reeling them in—
Big Top throng refrains from cheering, strains to hear the poem nearing…
Inky paws, uncaged, claw straw and sawdust
Until… CRACK! You’re in the center ring, mind unleashed, your words take wing--
they circle, soar, then light in the lap of an open-mouthed child; the crowd goes wild.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

* Barnum's circus was originally called "P.T. Barnum's Great Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan, and Hippodrome," which is pretty much what our poem is. ("Greatest Show on Earth" was added later...that's us, too!)

It never hurts to join forces...

...ask all the thirsty pooches at the dog park!
Let's play some more!

Hey--where'd everybody go???

G'bye to Poetry Month 2013!  See you next year!

Posted by April Halprin Wayland


Joanna said...

What a fabulous finale, April! And what a celebration.

Mary Lee said...

Love that it ends in the lap of a child (subconscious connection to your doggy drafts?!?!)!!

Huzzah! What fun to have been a part of this creation!

Anonymous said...

Super ending! What a fun event this has been.

Renee LaTulippe said...

TA-DAAAAAH! I admit I rather loved your idea of writing THE END (ha!), but I'm so glad you didn't. This is the perfect ending, words twirling to a child, which is what we're here for.


Ruth said...

Nice! Let's do it again next year!

Irene Latham said...

April, I love it!!! In the lap of a child, exactly where we want it to be. Love that wordy title too. Thank you THANK YOU, everyone who made this year so much fun. xo

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Wow, we went from music and dancing to singing and dreaming to swinging and tumbling...the crowd does, indeed, go wild! Well done!

Diane Mayr said...

What can I say? the crowd goes wild is a wonderful way to go out!

Unknown said...

Bravo! Take a bow! With all of the action centered around the writer, it all comes to a fitting end in the lap of a child, which is just perfect! I can hear the blogosphere clapping!

Linda B said...

I think at the end of a beautiful act, I should say 'encore', yet you've ended the poem so lovingly, April, right where it should be, with a child. Class act!

KateCoombs said...

This poem came together so wonderfully well all along the way. Perfect ending, April!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Yes, Bravo, April! The perfect ending for an over-the-(big)-top creation, chronicling both secret musings and spectacle, is with a child reader. clap*clap*clap

Carmela Martino said...

Like others, I love that it ends in a child's lap, too. Great ending to a terrific poem! Congratulations to all the participants.

laurasalas said...

Wonderful ending, April! (I would not have wanted that knee-buckling responsibility.) Brava!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Yay for our whole pack--it truely takes a village!

Liz Steinglass said...

It's already been said, but I'll say it again, the perfect ending in the lap of the child with the crowd going wild.

Buffy Silverman said...

The crowd goes wild for your ending, April. Well done! I laughed at your impulse to write the end--just let those awesome words wing away. That would have been grand, but I'm glad you brought them to a child's lap.

Anonymous said...

Excellent! The ending couldn't be more perfect. Very nicely done!

Anonymous said...

Yay for us! Love the title. Let's twirl some words together again sometime. It's been fun!

Annis Cassells said...

Bravo! What fun. xoA

Author Amok said...

Best poem title ever!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

STOMP STOMP CLAP! STOMP STOMP CLAP! Leave the whole show in a little kid's lap!
Somehow it all came together, and anchorwoman April did the heavy lifting. Thanks, Irene, for instigating, and to all who played along. Poetry improv indeed.

April Halprin Wayland said...

I'm sure you all felt this with each line: all I can say is, WHEW! ("It's just a POEM,Honey...")

Felt like I was in the March Madness Poetry Tournament all over again...

Carol said...

I loved watching this unfold! Couldn't believe how people could make the poem hang together, day after day, not only with meaning, but with meter. Like so many others, I love your ending. Also absolutely love the title! Perfect!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

What a satisfying ending, April! And what an amazing team effort. It's a wonder I don't have a tummy ache from all the cotton candy, but what an awesome month at the circus!

Amy LV said...

This could not have been a better ending! I love it, and I loved this month. Thank you, poetry friends. xo, a.

Penny Parker Klostermann said...

I went over to Teaching Author's to read today's post and couldn't resist another run through the Progressive Poem. I saw that my comment didn't come through on the 30th! Weird! Anyway, I will just say again how perfectly you ended our poem I just love your line! In fact, I'm going wild over it!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you, Penny and everyone for your comments! Now that Poetry Month is over and we're winding down, we can all actually read more poetry!