Staying in Focus: Sonnets and Prose Poetry

I feel like I have been remiss is writing more regularly, but I’ve been busy with a wonderful poetry class I am taking online through ed2go and my local community college. The instructor, Melody Gough, is a publishing poet and a wonderful instructor.  I have learned so much already and we are only on the fourth lesson of twelve.  My classmates are supportive, talented,and I feel as if I’ve made a whole group of new friends.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually written a sonnet!  You really have to try this in order to understand how hard it is!  Here’s mine:

Fleeting Beauty

we stroll past trees adorned in autumn dress
it seems impossible, a sky so blue
we feel a  breeze that breathes a sweet caress
as I enjoy this autumn day with you.
the mirrored lake, we view from on the shore
well-dressed, the trees are posed for photographs
their leaves, so vivid, are a metaphor
for fleeting beauty that will surely pass
for as the weather cools, the leaves will fall
their beauty spent, they rest beneath the sun
the seasons change, each one a gift for all
to be enjoyed before the year is done.
so  let us never squander precious time
as long as I am yours and you are mine.

Another piece, this one a prose poem, has really come along with Melody’s guidance.  It’s about my grandmother.

What I’ll Never Forget

Just across the driveway, Minerva Struble’s kitchen awaits our arrival on baking day.

Minerva, “Minnie,” Struble

Smells assail us – rhubarb pie, my favorite; apple, rich with cinnamon ; thick slices of warm bread spread with jam, and tall frosty mugs of milk stand ready for hungry children. Teaching us how to quilt takes infinite patience. Tongues held between teeth, we concentrate. Make those stitches march in line like ants on parade.  Deep in the basement, we run clothes through the wringer on laundry day. They emerge flattened like pancakes and we hang them outside on the line in the bright sunshine.  Lilac bushes bloom in her backyard.  Each May, for my birthday, the gift of a big bunch. The scent fills my nose, the deep purple is best.  Fourth of July, parade day.  We sit on her front porch and watch the town march by – boy scouts, girl scouts, marching bands, veterans, the mayor waves from a red convertible; we wave tiny flags in return. Later a big picnic at her house, my seven uncles and their families, my Aunt Blanche and her daughter Phyllis, countless cousins and second cousins join in. We could form our own country. Minerva never had a chance to learn how to read.  Once, she gives us Exlax wafers, thinking it is chocolate candy.  We survive. As we grow older, Minerva grows frailer.  She falls and breaks her arm.  Pain shows now, in her face, but she never fails to flash that special smile she reserves just for us. Then doctors and hospitals. Looks exchanged between grownups, but we know.  It’s a stormy night. My mother’s tears fall like diamonds to the floor and pool around her feet;  the family arrives and my sister and I escape outside.  The thunder rumbles.  Raindrops fall, mixing with our tears.  The world weeps with us. We sit on the glider, and rock back and forth. We look across the drive, and her kitchen is dark.

When I finally got this one to flow smoothly beginning to end, Melody told me she was doing “her happy dance.”

As you can see, I have been busy. I look forward to Wednesdays and Fridays  when the lessons are released.  I urge anyone out there who desires to learn something new in a well thought out manner, with supportive instructors, to look into these classes.

I’ve been dabbling in poetry for years, but now I see all the ways I can make my poems richer, with emotional honesty, word painting, imagery.  I have  a lot of revising to do! And so much more to learn.

Best get to it!

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