Saturday, January 14, 2017

Prompt # 272 – Remembering an Old Love



Happy New Year, blog readers! I hope 2017 has gotten off to a great start for you and that it will bring you good health, much joy, and wonder-filled inspiration. As we begin this New Year, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back. We all have regrets, as well as happy memories, so here’s a prompt for reflecting on what's been as we move forward.

Do you ever think about old loves, people who were once very important to you maybe even from high school or college? This prompt challenges you to write a poem addressed to an old love. You may choose to take a humorous approach or you may be serious. Either way, you’ll need to recapture the old feelings and write them into a poem.

Guidelines:

1. Make a list of old flames and then select one. You may choose to skip this step (listing) and simply choose an ex-lover, ex-partner, ex-husband or wife.

2. Now make a list of that person’s qualities of character and behaviors.

3. Think about how the person you’ve chosen to write about treated you, and how you treated that person.

4. Is there anything you regret or would change if you could go back and relive the past?

5. Write your poem in 15 lines or less. Be sure to be specific but avoid becoming sentimental or “sappy.” If you have residual anger, write that into the poem. If forgiveness is part of the past, let your poem express that. Just be careful to show and not tell.

Tips:

1. The first line of your poem should be inviting, shockingly interesting or comforting, luring your readers in.

2. Write with an authentic voice—the way something is said is infinitely more important than the intellect of what is said. Be aware of your attitude toward the subject matter and how your attitude becomes part of the subject.

3. Find the right balance between clarity and mystery. Leave your readers with a question here and there.

4. Create a sense of intimacy in the poem, a revealing of something you’ve never “told” before.

5. Experiment with line and stanza breaks. This will help expose weak spots as well as unnecessary repetitions and wordiness.

6. Work from the personal toward the universal. Think about how your poem will invite readers to relate to your experience (even if the details are different from experiences of their own). Create a resonance for your readers that goes beyond the ending of your poem.

Example:

The Chapter Between 

                          By Linda Radice

       Perhaps love is the process of my gently leading you back to yourself.
                                                          
                                                                            –Antoine de Saint Exupery

There was fresh bread on the table the night
we broke up. You leaned against the counter,
wouldn’t meet my eyes, and I held my handful
of un-cooked spaghetti until the pot boiled dry.

All these years later we connect on the Internet.
You send me pictures of your house and the three
dogs you call your “kids.”  I send you wedding
pictures, and one of my granddaughter in her pink tutu.

We trade e-mail memories, vignettes released
from their suspension in time. You tell me you
 “Googled” me and found I was a poet. I tell
you about publications and readings, but not

that I’d never written a poem about you.
You held the car radio in your hands, its wires
dangling, insides half visible and exposed to
the fall afternoon. You watched until I noticed

you, then bent to reconnect each wire with its mate
before you slid it back into place and looked up to
smile at the woman whose eye you wanted to catch. 
You were the chapter between a bad marriage and the

rest of my life.  You put Stephan Grappelli on the stereo
and turned up the volume.  You stood behind me until I
stopped looking over my shoulder.  You were all the
things I’d forgotten without repercussions, and oh –
                                      
You were black silk stockings and making love on the
living room floor. You were my healing pages. 
And if you read this poem – your poem –
I cannot recall the discussion the night you

left, but I remember the first words you said
when we met, how safe you made me feel, and
how the moonlight made shadows on the curve
of your jaw as you slept.  


(Reprinted with the permission of the author.)       



 

9 comments:

  1. So glad to begin a new year with poetry! And what a great idea to look back as we move forward happy New Year to all!

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    1. Thanks so much, Jamie! Happy New Year!

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    2. I also wanted to note that Linda Radice's poem is fantastic! (So sorry I forgot to do that last week.)

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  2. This is a wonderful prompt! I'm glad that you're back to posting. Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks so much, Sandy! Glad you like the prompt. Happy New Year!

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  3. Amita Jayaraman (Mumbai)January 17, 2017 at 9:09 AM

    I went back to my first love for this poem. A sweet, sad feeling. Interesting to work with this. I plan to try another 'subject' this week. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Amita! Those first loves can be a wonderful source of inspiration. Hope you were able to write additional poems as well.

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  4. Let me tell you about reincarnation
    Chi told me he would come back as my cat
    'cause I loved my cat more than I loved him
    This way he could cuddle next to my breasts
    in his next life
    Sure as the sun rises
    My Fatty cat
    loved to be held close in my arms
    Still don't believe me?
    Mickey
    my Israeli hero
    recently passed
    And now
    Mickey lives with me
    Close to death
    he came with is calico sister to my home
    I call Mickey's name everyday
    and
    remember

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for sharing this poem with us, Risa! It's wonderful to know that you've found comfort in your cats.

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