OctPoWriMo #24 – The Cat on the Stair

The cat sat.
Sat and stared.
Sat and stared upon the stair.
Upon the stair, it sat and stared.

It was a cat and mouse affair.

Without the mouse.

 

 

Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt was to search through the photos at PublicDomainPictures.net until you find one that sparks a story poem for you…

stock-photo-red-cat-sitting-on-the-stairs-120899200

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?utm_campaign=Bobek%20Ltd&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_source=39150&tpl=39150-43068&id=120899200&irgwc=1

Happy Birthday To Me! (poem)

Today is my birthday
My age gone up by one.
The hair went long ago,
And I never was much fun.

Will this milestone change me?
I feel old, and I ache.
It’s much the same as yesterday.
Now pass the birthday cake!

 

 

 

flickr.com/photos/31878512

4757540763_a5a9eb8b73_z

OctPoWriMo #19 – Dear John

Dear John

We were always wrong, John
Our love was never strong, John
(I know I bought a thong, John
But I’m not stringing you along, John)

We never were a song, John
Just a bing and a bong, John
A clashing of the gong, John
That went on too long, John

I feel our time has gone, John
No need to prolong, John
We just don’t belong, John
I’d like to get along, John…

But frankly, John… You pong!

 

 

 

octpowrimo

OctPoWriMo #12 – Easy As… (poem)

Always
Break
Conventions

Always
Be
Challenging
Accepted
Boundaries &
Constraints

Anarchy
Breeds
Creativity!

This is today’s contribution to OctPoWriMo – a challenge to write a poem a day during October. Today’s prompt was: Write a poem that is 26 lines. Each line begins with a different letter of the alphabet. A, B, C… as you can see, I haven’t exactly followed that approach!

You can sign up here, at any time during the month, or just check out the prompts and tips if you prefer – http://www.octpowrimo.com/

octpowrimo

Image by Morgan Dragonwillow

OctPoWriMo #7 – The Traveller (poem)

The traveller stood and stared
At the junction of the road.
One path was less travelled –
Was that the way to go?

It was covered with thick brambles,
Dense and dark as night.
Who knew what was lurking there,
Hidden, out of sight?

The traveller stood and stared
At the junction of the track.
Then skipped along the travelled path.

And never looked back.

path

Writing 201: Poetry #1 – A Modern Love (haiku)

Always by my side,
My constant companion…
Except when charging
This is today’s contribution to two separate challenges. This is my first day on the Writing 201: Poetry course. The prompt there was for something about “screens” or modern devices, combined with a haiku style, and alliteration.

The prompt for OctPoWriMo – a challenge to write a poem a day during October – was “love”. I think this covers all bases, but let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂

You can sign up for OctPoWriMo at any time during the month, or just check out the prompts and tips if you prefer – http://www.octpowrimo.com/

octpowrimo

Image by Morgan Dragonwillow

Haiku – “Teacup” / “Storm”

#1
Riding the teacups,
Laughing through endless summers,
Long since forgotten

#2
Life in the bunker,
Battening down the hatches
Waiting for the storm

#3
Weather front forming,
Clouds gather over China:
Storm in a teacup!

These haiku combine two separate challenges – Haiku Horizons and TJ’s Household Haiku Challenge. When I first saw TJ’s prompt this week – “teacup” – my first thought was something based on the phrase “storm in a teacup”, which is a convenient 5 syllables. I tried to resist, but when the haiku horizons prompt was “storm”… Well, that just seemed like serendipity!

haikuhorizons

10 Crucial Lessons for Rhymers… from Monty Python

or, inevitably, WHAT HAVE THE PYTHONS EVER DONE FOR US?

We are all products of our environment. Some wear their influences on their sleeves; others may not even be aware of tapping into their formative influences. I grew up in the 80s with Monty Python, a child of Python-loving parents who mercifully spared me the sketches that didn’t work (there are many), but instead exposed me to the films, the highlights reels, the comedy albums (on vinyl, no less), the Live at the Hollywood Bowl fan-fest. And here I am now trying to write rhyming picture books and other entertainments…

Here are ten lessons that rhymers (perhaps storytellers of any stripe) can take from the songs of Monty Python. Some of the links are NSFW…

1) CHALLENGE EXPECTATIONS
Have your main character do something unusual, that goes against type and challenges expectations. You’ve got a knight called Brave Sir Robin?

“When danger reared its ugly head
He bravely turned his tail and fled

Yes Brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out…”

Or take a rugged, “manly” lumberjack, and then tell us that he likes to “put on women’s clothing, and hang around in bars.”

Or take the less-travelled perspective:

2) PLAY WITH WORDS
Have fun with the language, whether that’s homophones, (“sail the wide accountancy”)

lists,

or

or non-sequitors for comic effect
“We dine well here in Camelot, we eat ham and jam and spam a-lot

I have to push the pram-a-lot!”

3) GET THE TONE RIGHT
The gentle, plinky start of “Finland” sets the tone perfectly for an homage to a country “where I quite want to be”…

4) ENJOY YOUR RHYMES
Repeating the same end rhyme throughout, and even using it as an internal rhyme, can be fun…
“Half a bee, philosophically,
Must, ipso facto, half not be”

5) DON’T TALK DOWN TO YOUR AUDIENCE
The Galaxy Song, and the Medical Love Song, are examples of introducing a range of language and ideas that go far beyond what might be expected of the “everyman”. If the narrative, and the rhyme, is strong enough, you can introduce unfamiliar names and ideas very quickly.

Don’t talk down to your audience. Raise them up.

“Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at 900 miles an hour.
It’s orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it’s reckoned,
The sun that is the source of all our power”

(I love the punchline at the end of this song)

6) MAKE YOUR RHYMES UNEXPECTED, OR UNUSUAL
All I know about philosophers, I know from this:

“Heideggar, Heideggar was a boozy beggar…

John Stewart Mill, of his own free will
On half a pint of shanty was particularly ill.”

And what about one of the greatest thinkers in history?

“Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle”

7) REPETITION, repetition….
A good example of repetition, and letting your characters grow, is the theme song from Life of Brian, with “a boy/ teenager/ not a girl/ a man called Brian”

“… his voice dropped down low
And things started to grow…”

8) DIVERSITY IS IMPORTANT
Monty Python made an effort to address diversity, in their own particular fashion, with “I Like Chinese” and “Never Be Rude To An Arab”…

“I like Chinese, I like Chinese,
They only come up to your knees”

It’s vital to reflect the diversity of the world we live in, to keep your characters relevant, and grounded in the reality of the time.

9) BE PREPARED TO MAKE MISTAKES
Viewed through modern eyes, neither of these songs have aged well… but how do you future-proof your material from the differing standards that will inevitably follow? You can’t. Write what’s in your heart, rather than chasing the trends of the day (or anticipated trends of tomorrow). If you never make mistakes, it just means you’re never trying.

Which leads us to our final point.

10) KEEP TRYING
There is only one way to finish this list. A song that has a ridiculously catchy chorus, a perfect balance of repetition/ variation/ progression, fun rhymes, a playful, changing rhyme structure… it’s even got whistling.

So, when the rejection emails start to pile up around you, put the kettle on, grab a slice of cake, and listen to this:
“Cheer up, Brian. You know what they say…”