The Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem is hosted by poet, Irene Latham, who had this wonderful idea that a poem could be a collaborative April feast, crafted line by line all month long. I participated for the first time last year, and had forgotten all the anxiety of the process, remembering just the delight in being part of this creative process. Well, that anxiety has returned…since it is finally time for me to provide the next line!
The poem takes shape bit by bit, of course, and each line comes as such a surprise. In this case, there was someone to be with right away, and she seemed a vital and fascinating presence. Just as I was settling into her presence, striding with purpose and swinging brown arms, she seems transformed into a mermaid. Then there is grandmother with her memory-laden cuffed bracelet and wise words which resonate. And then a startled fisherman with a choice. So much to think about, so many vivid shifts in imagery and mood. Ah, the anxiety of living up to this poetry community! After weaving my way through the twists and turns, and writing many a trial line, here are the first twenty lines of the poem along with my addition for line 21:
She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium of the delta.
Shoes swing over her shoulder, on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica.
Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms. Her hair flows,
snows in wild wind as she digs in the indigo varnished handbag,
pulls out her grandmother’s oval cuffed bracelet,
strokes the turquoise stones, and steps through the curved doorway.
Tripping on her tail she slips hair first down the slide… splash!
She glides past glossy water hyacinth to shimmer with a school of shad,
listens to the ibises roosting in the trees of the cypress swamp
an echo of Grandmother’s words, still fresh in her windswept memory.
Born from the oyster, expect the pearl.
Reach for the rainbow reflection on the smallest dewdrop.
The surface glistens, a shadow slips above her head, a paddle dips
she reaches, seizes. She’s electric energy and turquoise eyes.
Lifted high, she gulps strange air – stares clearly into
Green pirogue, crawfish trap, startled fisherman
with turquoise eyes, twins of her own, riveted on her wrist–
She’s swifter than a dolphin, slipping away, leaving him only a handful of
memories of his own grandmother’s counsel: Watch for her. You’ll have but one chance to
determine—to decide. Garner wisdom from the water and from the pearl of the past.
In a quicksilver flash, an arc of resolution, he leaps into the shimmering water
Tomorrow Pat at Writer on a Horse will take bring us one line closer to our completed 2015 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem. And here’s the Progressive Poem team:
1 Jone at Check it Out
2 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
3 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
4 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
5 Charles at Poetry Time Blog
6 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
7 Catherine at Catherine Johnson
8 Irene at Live Your Poem
9 Mary Lee at Poetrepository
10 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
11 Kim at Flukeprints
12 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
13 Doraine at DoriReads
14 Renee at No Water River
15 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
16 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
17 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
18 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
19 Linda at Teacher Dance
20 Penny at A Penny and her Jots
21 Tara at A Teaching Life
22 Pat at Writer on a Horse
23 Tamera at The Writer’s Whimsy
24 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
25 Tabatha at The Opposite of indifference
26 Brian at Walk the Walk
27 Jan at Bookseedstudio
28 Amy at The Poem Farm
29 Donna at Mainely Write
30 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme