Friday, October 29, 2021

Poetry Friday: Word Play Poems

October's challenge was inspired by Nikki Grimes' invitation to create word play poems. And by that, she means:

"studying a word from top to bottom, and inside out, considering every aspect of the word:  What it looks like, sounds like, feels like. What it does, how it's used, etc.  The idea is to bring all of your senses into the act."   

I love word play, so this challenge wasn't intimidating for me.  The only truly hard part was picking a word, because there are so many wonderful ones (just look at this wall from Planet Word!) 


At Planet Word,
a great new museum
 for word play in Washington, DC

In the end, Laura saved me by rolling her metaphor dice during our Zoom writing session and gifting me with three choices. I recommend the same, if you have such dice, or pointing to a page in a book, or having someone else give you words. (Or visit the Planet Word wall!) 

The idea is to look at the word in a deeper way, so beginning with a word you're not overly invested in helps. So does Nikki's instruction to write a full paragraph (or two or three) about the word before you start to compose a poem. If you'd like to see the free-write paragraph about my word, it's posted at the end. And Michelle Barnes has a lovely post about Nikki and word play poems here.  


Memory is
a melodic word,
a murmur of stream word,
waiting to be fished.
Memory is 
a secret door word,
a round hobbit hole word,
a peephole to the past.

Memory is
a tell me mmmmore word,
a long-tailed word, 
ending with a squeal. 

Memory is a loaded word,
a step carefully word,
a word you might have to
make yourself forget.

----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

My fellow poets' word play poems are found here:

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Linda at TeacherDance

My free write paragraph is below. I find it funny that my line lengths grew as I dove deeper into the word.  You can see that I pulled images and lines from my free-write, and then re-ordered and refined them to make a poem. The free-write was done on one afternoon, the poem creation on another. 

Memory is a word
with a long tail. But it starts with a
mmmmmmm  of pleasure…or is that just
the sound you make when you think? 
There’s a more in the middle, as in:
more, tell me more! Meme means the same
or even in  French….meme pas is not even 
la meme chose is one of the few phrases I remember from
high school French.  Three syllables, Mem-or-y…
That “o” is like door in  the word, like a hobbit door,
inviting you to peep through,  to see what you can find.
OR…yes, the word also has Or in it…you can remember me OR
you can forget.  Or is it more like ore….something to  dig for, something of value,
but  something that  needs refining?  We dig for memories, we “treasure” them…
we “value” them.  Memorial service. Remember. Memorandum. Memo.
Memento. Memory is  melodic, a word without harsh sounds….
everything is hushed, soft, almost like fog or soft water bubbling in a stream...
a stream of memories, waiting to be fished.  Mnemonic? Something to help you remember…
How funny there are so many meds/illegal things to help you forget but not many
to help you remember.  If you could remember ONE memory, what would it be? How would it change you? Would it be better to let it swim in the stream, uncaught?  Memories can be sorted by “bad” or “good” but is that just how we label them? Even good memories can be sad, or  remind us of what we don’t have now.  And bad memories are still ones that we survived. That long tail of the “y” is also a long tail of a sound at the end…..eeeeeeeee, going on and on and fading into the quiet,  But…eeeeeee also makes your mouth smile…. or squeal???