2020 poetry challenge days 2 & 3

I just didn’t have time make time yesterday to check in on my poetry challenge, so today’s post includes two poems.

Day 2

Thursday’s form was the novem, which is a tercet with three words per line. Each line requires two monosyllabic words and one disyllabic word for a total of four syllables.

One of the things I love about forms is that they force me into structure. Free verse is fun and “easy,” but following patterns and rules makes for an delightful challenge — at least in poetry! Now, further complicating this poetic structure is guidance for where the 2-syllable word goes within the stanza:

  • In the first line, it is the last word.
  • In the middle line (line 2) the middle word.
  • In line three, the first word.

The final kicker is that each stanza needs to repeat one of the consonant sounds four times, minimum.

I wanted to write something all serious and strong (something about rules feels serious and strong) but because I’m behind, I wrote the first thing that came to mind.

Novem 1

Let me number
all endings
grateful for you

You can see I didn’t go beyond one stanza, and I do not have the four repeating consonant sounds. This was a tricky one! I find that when I write a villanelle or ghazal I need to spend some time thinking about the rules before I can come up with an idea that fits within the structure; seems that’s the case with this form too.  I’d like to come back to this structure at some point and play around with it when I’ve come up with an idea that “feels right” for it.

Day 3

Today was “free verse Friday,” and our prompt was “broken light bulbs.”

I’ve had this annoying wisp of a scratch in my throat all day, and the prompt gave me some room to put it into words.

For every idea
flashing bright
atop my head
in my throat
sharp shards
of broken glass

With the prompt and the real-life circumstance of the scratchy throat, this one was easy to write. Is it inspiring? No. But not every day will yield a gem, a form to play with or even an idea to further refine. And that’s OK. At least I’m writing!

If you are participating in a #NationalPoetryMonth challenge of some sort, how is your work going?