Thursday, February 18, 2010

Poetry and you!

This poem was published in Spring '08 in a beautiful 52 page slick magazine titled, MOM WRITER'S LITERARY MAGAZINE.

First Dance
by Linda O'Connell

Chubby little legs stuffed like sausages in pink tights.
Itchy ruffled tutu cinched at waist.
She shuffles down the hall
carrying her ballet slippers,

Takes the stage
in ruby red lipstick and grandma-rouged cheeks,
bats her eyes, stomps her feet,
twists, turns, twirls, swoops, sways and sings.

She pirouettes,
spins further and further
out of my orbit
already on her way to independence.

One day she'll dance on my heart
shuffle-slide away and
boogie all night long,
but for now, she's my ballerina baby.

I am an untrained poet. I have been told that my poetry is called prose poetry or free verse. It is story telling. Anyone can do it. You don't have to worry about rhyming words. But try to feel the rhythm of your words. Give it a try. Keep it concise. Have fun, and then present your poem to someone you love. That is what I did with the following poem I wrote for my honey and it won the Metro Arts in Transit, Poetry in Motion Contest last year at this time. My poem (printed on a gorgoeus red and black poster) rode the rails and avenues of St. Louis for a year, posted in Metro Link trains and Metro buses.

In Bloom
by Linda O'Connell

Sunbeams bounce off crystal vase,
splay rainbows; around the room
I dance with outstretched arms
and shed a tear of glee.

Single rose with sun-tinged blush,
passion red it glimmers, ablaze
with innuendo; radiant in love,I waltz
with yesterday's memory.

Note the placement of the semi colons. You can change the entire meaning by changing the punctuation. I teach a senior writer's creative writing class and they all discovered this when I removed all punctuation and asked them to punctuate. Have fun and then submit a poem. Have confidence in yourself. To tell you the truth, when I submitted this, I thought it was sophomoric and they would reject it. When I opened the envelope standing in the driveway at my mailbox, I knew not to get excited; it was in my SASE. When I read the word CONGRATULATIONS! I danced like no one was watching and screeched like a banshee waving the acceptance in the air ... as our new non-English speaking Bosnian neighbors looked on wide-eyed. I know that is an overused word, but let me assure you, these older folks WERE wide-eyed.

6 comments:

Susan Wicker said...

Loved the ballerina baby poem, Linda. Very cute. Thanks for sharing. Sincerely, Susan from writingstraighfromtheheart.blogspot.com

Bookie said...

I enjoyed reading your poems! I hated free verse when I was in school, but then I struggled so with meter too! Now I find I am loving free verse.

I would like to hear more about your senior writer's group too.

Linda O'Connell said...

Thank you for your comments. I have been teaching a creative/memoir writing class for seniors in an apartment complex nearby for about two years. As with everything, the numbers were strong at first, and we met twice a month, then once a month and now it's monthly but only a handful attend. As long as someone is interested, I am willing to share my knowledge and allow them to share their work. I think I enjoy it as much as they do.

K9friend said...

My favorite is the ballerina poem. It brings back memories of my own little dancing girl.

Julia said...

I have yet to get in Arts in Motion, so I salute you, my friend! I love that poem, it deserves it entirely.

Yes, in the English class I teach at the community college, we have a big thing about commas and how the changing of placement in a sentence can completely change the meaning.

One of my Facebook friends had this example last year:

I already ate, Grandma.
or
I already ate Grandma.

Ha ha.

Tammy said...

You have a way of capturing the very soul of your topic, Linda. It's so inspiring. Have you thought about putting together a book of poetry?