Friday, March 27, 2020

Trimerics: back to the familiar and into the unknown

Howdy, Campers!  Happy Poetry Friday (PF link & my poem are below)

First of all, we at TeachingAuthors hope you're getting some solid sleep, walking a dog, connecting with those you hold dear, and finding a little island of peace in this brave new world. We appreciate each of you very much.💓

This is our final post on how we're taking leaps in our career or our writing during this leap year, beginning with Bobbi's terrific Taking Leaps in Historical Fiction. (Lately, going to the grocery store feels like a leap of faith, doesn't it?)

But before we get started, a brief detour. The Jewish holiday of Passover in 2020 begins at sundown on Wednesday, April 8, and ends Thursday evening, April 16. The first Passover seder is on the evening of April 8. Here's how to celebrate Passover online, posted on the blog, and here's an article on how those in Staten Island are (or are not) celebrating Passover in this strange time (Orthodox Jews cannot celebrate online).

So the other day I got a lovely email from Alysse Rich, the Principal of the Children’s Jewish Studies Program in Toronto Canada's Danforth Jewish Circle. If you have 10 minutes, enjoy watching Alysse (and little Arthur) reading and singing my Passover picture book, MORE THAN ENOUGH, (cheerfully illustrated by Katie Kath) to her school. (Alysse plays a mean guitar player and has a lovely voice.)

Okay ~ now let's get back to our regularly scheduled program: the leaps each of us has taken or hopes to take.

Today I encourage you to take a leap: try a poetic form that's new to you. And since I've fallen in love (again) with trimerics, why don't you try writing one? 

In June 2011, I posted about falling in love with trimeric poems for the first time. Here's a good definition from Trimeric \tri-(meh)-rik\ n: a four stanza poem in which the first stanza has four lines and the last three stanzas have three lines each, with the first line of each repeating the respective line of the first stanza.  The sequence of lines, then, is abcd, b – -, c – -, d – -. 

My love for trimerics faded, but now I love being back in the arms of this form. In fact, trimerics have become my escape from pandemic pandemonium (and emails!  Is everyone drowning in helpful or alarming or helpfully alarming emails?!?).

Why do I love trimerics? Because all I need is a first line. That line takes my hand and leads me to places I've never known. Each new poem pushes me to leap into the unknown.
drawing (c)2020 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved.

Here, for your reading pleasure, are three trimerics.

In TENDER, the first line walked onto my page, unattached to any idea. It grew into a poem about my son when he was a young teen.

by April Halprin Wayland

He's a slip of a boy, really.
Tender as a slim green shoot
just angling out of earth.
But there are other ways in him.

Tender as a slim green shoot,
he also bristles into cactus,
a dragnet of needles—watch out!

Just angling out of earth,
he can still be caught (wear gloves!)
He can still be taught to breathe gently.

But there are other ways in him
beyond tender, beyond thistly.
Walk into his rooms. Switch on each light.
I have NO idea where this one came from:

by April Halprin Wayland

"One more thing," she said quietly,
not wanting to interrupt him.
He looked up from the last chapter.
He had been reading a murder mystery.

Not wanting to interrupt him
was her mantra, her world view, her Golden Rule...
until Aunt Blanche had that talk with her.

He looked up from the last chapter
and saw that she was aiming a blow torch
at his lap.

He had been reading a murder mystery.
He was dying to know how it ended.
He didn't know that she had been reading it, too.
And this one I wrote today. Once again it started with the title.


by April Halprin Wayland

When I was little,
my mom used to say,
"Every bad dream is a story you tell yourself."
She would rock me to sleep.

My mom used to say,
"Dark things that shake you awake
will be gone in the morning."

"Every bad dream is a story you tell yourself,"
she'd murmur, rocking.
I loved her warm flower smell.

She would rock me to sleep.
She can't anymore.
I've learned: now I tell myself a different story.
all poems (c)2020 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved.

If you DO find yourself fiddling with trimerics when taking a break from sewing face masks (which, even if they're just bandanas, are apparently great if you want to keep yourself from touching your face 90 times a day), please share them with me ~ I'd love to read what you came up with!

Thank you, Tabatha, for hosting Poetry Friday
at The Opposite of Indifference

posted in good health from a respectful distance by April Halprin Wayland


Linda Mitchell said...

These are cool! I love the repetition and the feeling of progression. I have got to try this. I love your first posted trimetric the best...about a son. Really nice.

Irene Latham said...

Dear April, yay for readers singing More Than Enough! And these poems! That tender shoot of a boy sprung up instantly in my heart... and that blow torch!! Wowza. :) :) And writing one's own story... it's what must be done, isn't it? You make me want to try a trimeric. Thank you! xo

Janice Scully said...

What a great form! I'd like to try a trimeric and see how the repetition feels compared to other forms, like villanelles. Your poem tender reminded me of my sons when they were younger. Thank you for these!

Carmela Martino said...

Hi April, so glad you're enjoying these trimerics again. I'd forgotten about your original post. I'm going to have to give the form a try! Thanks for sharing!

Kay said...

These are fabulous! I do want to try writing some of these. The second one is my favorite. I did not see that blow torch coming!

Linda B said...

I have shared your beautiful book with my neighbors, April, who celebrate Passover. And I love your trimerics, each a tiny story, a peek at you! Glad you are safe & enjoying the dogs. Thanks for the new challenge of writing!

laurasalas said...

I love these, April. Your murder mystery one was a big surprise, and the tender one was just so...tender:>) Thanks for this. I'm going to try this form.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you, Linda. That one was such a surprise as it spring out of my fingers.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Irene... Yes,where DID that blowtorch come from!?!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you, Janice. I thought maybe that first poem was too obscure, but people seem to be responding to that one the most. That's why we need others to step back and see what we cannot always see...

April Halprin Wayland said...

Carmela, I'd forgotten that one, too. In fact, I think I've forgotten what I had for breakfast this morning! So every time I look back on something I've written it's a lovely surprise!

April Halprin Wayland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you, Linda! I can't wait to see you again in person ♥️♥️♥️

April Halprin Wayland said...

Laura ~ I'd love to hear what you and others come up with. By the time you finished your poem, I may have forgotten all about trimerics again!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Kay ~ the blowtorch was a huge surprise to me, too!!

CS Perryess said...

WOW. You knocked my socks off with "Tender" -- I bow to you from afar.

Mary Lee said...

LOVE these! I will definitely try a trimeric or two! The second one was a surprise, and the third one brought tears to my eyes.

mbhmaine said...

I'm definitely going to try out some trimerics. I enjoyed this post so much and your original post as well. The second trimeric in today's post certainly surprised me (loved the dark humor there!) and the first and third were so touching. Thanks for introducing me to this form.

Ruth said...

I never heard of trimerics before! These are great! Thanks.

Bridget Magee said...

All three of your poems are so different, yet powerful. The second one is a zinger! I'm going to give trimerics a try! Thanks for the introduction to this form, April. :)

Kimberly Hutmacher said...

Such lovely poems, April. Thank you.

Robyn Hood Black said...

So glad you revisited this form so we could read these, Dear April! (That "Tender" is so spot on...) And the "flower smell" so poignant. [But - WHERE the heck did that blowtorch come from? HA!]

Tabatha said...

What a sweet video of "More than Enough"! Your trimeric drawing is so perfect -- she is really stretching herself. "Tender" captures the delicacy and the danger so well. Thanks for all of this, April! Wishing you wellness xo

author amok said...

I've never tried this form, April. It's exciting to see what you came up with. The cactus moment in your first poem is perfect. And WOW to "Change of Plans."

April Halprin Wayland said...

Wow, thank you ~ this, coming from you means a lot to me. And maybe partly the fact that you're a man means a lot, too ~ you've been there.

April Halprin Wayland said...

♥️Thank you,Mary Lee ~ wow.💕

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thanks for reading the older post. I'd love to read any trimerics you care to share

April Halprin Wayland said...

I don't remember where I learned about them...I hadn't heard of them, either

April Halprin Wayland said...

I'm so glad you're going to try them, Bridget. Share, if you're like, I'd love to read 'em!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you, Kimberly 💐

April Halprin Wayland said...

Robyn ~ I haven't a CLUE!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you for reading this, Tabatha ~ hosting can take lots and lots of time!

April Halprin Wayland said...

That blow torch is apparently a winner 😋

Linda said...

I love these and can't wait to try this form!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Linda ~ I'd love to hear back after your first trimeric safari 🌞

Carol Coven Grannick said...

April, this was an inspiration - and my now-virtual poetry crit group is going to try a new form monthly, beginning with a trimeric!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Carol ~ COOL! I'd love to know what other forms you plan on trying. What fun!