Bonus Track with Kay Ryan, “Home to Roost”

National Poetry Month
National Poetry Month (Photo credit: DML East Branch)

So those of you attempting to write a poem a day for National Poetry Month, how is that going? We’re just into the first hour of day four here in the northeast of the USA, so you’ve still got plenty of time. I mentioned yesterday that here on the Dad Poet, instead of NaPoWriMo, I’m doing year two of NaPoRecMo. I’ll continue recording a poem each day and posting it here to the blog. A few of them will be mine, some the work of some of my poet friends, and others will be just old favorites or new discoveries of mine.

I posted a few links yesterday to give you ideas for prompts if you needed some ideas. Those challenges can be fun, but I really cannot hold myself to the rules of them. Often the rules give you a structure that helps you write the poem though, like today’s at NaPoWriMo, a sea shanty, yo ho! I may give that one a try.

So yesterday’s reading was one of my own, a sort of found poem based loosely on a poetry prompt. I asked if you recognized any of the poets I stole from. You must have  known the first line was Byron. You noticed Shakespeare. I already gave away the children’s rhyme, and the book of First Peter, chapter three and W. D. Snodgrass‘s “Nightwatchman.”

But did you pick up on a line from Shelly? The “piney mountain shower” was from his famous “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty.” How about the line from Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?” The theme seemed to be about flight, birds, night, beauty, so I went with a fair amount of bird poems including, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” an old favorite of mine from Wallace Stevens. And that wonderful line about longing was from Linda Greg’s “Let Birds.” That “certain slant of light” was from Emily Dickinson. The dream “taken flight” is from Johnathan Platt. And of course that wonderful final line about being Acquainted with the night was from Robert Frost.

I tried also to keep a form to it. It was originally going to be just three stanzas of three lines each, but I needed more after stanza two before I could wrap it up. The last word of the first line in each of the first three stanzas rhymed, though that probably did not stand out to you, night, light, sight. Then the last stanza was a triplet that gave three more words to rhyme with the previous ones, flight, might, and then back to night to give it a good solid closing.

National Poetry Month
National Poetry Month (Photo credit: DML East Branch)

It was fun. You really should try it. Pick some poems you really like, from different poets in various eras, from Elizabethan, to Romantic, to Post Modern. Make it a right crazy mix, but have some themes that are similar, even if the connection is very loose, just enough to surprise you when you start to see how a line from each might actually weave together something new and interesting. Let me know what you came up with!

Today’s recording will come after work, as it’s getting late and I must sleep. But for now, I thought  it would be fun, given the bird, flight and beauty theme to leave you with a reading by Kay Ryan about some very beautiful birds. It’s called “Come Home to Roost.” Click here and give it a listen. 

5 Comments Add yours

  1. John says:

    I think I pretty much slept though the fact that you’d borrowed lines… though, since I’m only familiar with one of the poems you mentioned, I guess I hadn’t much hope for noticing…

    Enjoyed the Kay Ryan


    1. 🙂 Oh! I thought I had explained that. I don’t know, I do go on a bit, so it’s no wonder you missed it. That was the fun of it. None of the lines were my own, but the way I sewed them together was. And I only made a few minor changes, like dropping a word here or there, but I tried to keep the integrity of the original line.

      I’m glad you liked Kay. I think she’s wonderful, and the humor of it, the sky was black with chickens! lol


    2. John says:

      No, you explained it well… it’s just as I said.. .I sort of slept through it … I read the words, but, the meaning just went… where, I do not know… but, I went and reread it, so I am now back up to speed.


    3. haha. . . you should see how many typos I have to fix AFTER having edited “thoroughly” and hitting the publish button. Talk about sleeping! 🙂


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