100 Days of Poetry: Day Three–Stanzas 1 & 2

Day three, last night, was great–I wasn’t up until midnight writing. Nope. I got a full night’s sleep, because I started writing a lot earlier in the evening. I don’t know if this makes a lot of difference in poetry writing, but I certainly feel better today.

I am a bit of a night owl and I have always written better under a small lamp when everything else is quiet. Unfortunately, I have to wake up early every morning to run errands for the family do a bit of work. That’s just how it is. Life is busy.

Looking at my poetry and thinking about it all day yesterday, I really felt unsatisfied by the word “giant.” It’s just one of those words that doesn’t work. It just sat in my head ruminating and even while I was working on the second draft of stanza two, I was bothered by it. I finally stopped working on stanza two and yanked out my thesaurus for some inspiration and I found the word “Brobdingnagian.” This is the name of a race of giant people in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. The bell in my head went off and I knew I had it. Even the odd name and the way it stutters around the mouth works. Now, there are some problems still with stanza one, but after a third draft this stanza feels a lot better.

Stanza two came a lot easier. My main goal was getting away from including any reference to senior citizens. Most of my church’s congregation are not old people and since this poem is inspired by my Easter Sunday experience, I decided I wanted to get away from aging the congregants. I also need to get away from the word “bucket.” It just isn’t specific enough. The word “chantry” slid right in without too much work.

Here are the two stanzas I worked on and their progression. Both are getting closer to what I want and are feeling a lot stronger than the first draft.

 

First Stanza

2nd Draft                                              3rd Draft

The giant treads                                   Brobdingnag Rex

the hymn’s rusted,                              trods, trolls, the hymn’s

flecked, hatcheted,                              rust-flecked, exposed,

hiked headless nail,                            bossless nailhead

Meandering                                           pierced, meanders

foot-tromping blood,                          dolorous, off

dolorous, off                                         tempo and pitch,

tempo and pitch.                                 footprints, bloodprints.

 

Second Stanza

1st Draft                                                 2nd Draft

A bucket of                                             Obviating

nose-up feeder                                      the jubilee,

mackerel, calling                                  the chantry of

dirges to the                                          feeder mackerel,

moon, silver haired                             nose-up pleaders,

parishioners                                          intones dirges

flinch at tempo:                                    cowed, daunted, by

“too fast, slow down.”                         rameumptom.

 

What about tonight? Well, the poem is beginning to have a lot of narrative properties and instead of fighting this, I am going to push forward a bit. I am going to change up the order of the stanzas by putting stanza five after stanza two. I thought about this as I was walking back from my three in the morning bathroom trip.

We’ll see tonight how that works out.

As always, thanks for reading this update. Please follow my progress, like my articles, and comment as often as you can. These steps will help me as I work to improve writing poetry and comics.

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