Thursday, April 21, 2016

NaPoWriMo Day #20

the prompt over at the NaPoWriMo page today is:
Today’s prompt comes to us from Vince Gotera, who suggests a prompt very much in keeping with our poet in translation, a “kenning” poem. Kennings wereriddle-like metaphors used in the Norse sagas. Basically, they are ways of calling something not by its actual name, but by a sort of clever, off-kilter description — for example, the sea would be called the “whale road.” Today, I challenge you to think of a single thing or person (a house, your grandmother, etc), and then write a poem that consists of kenning-like descriptions of that thing or person. For example, you might call a cat a mouse-stalker, quiet-walker, bird-warner, purr-former, etc. 


The first thing I did was compile a list of those little kenning-like words.  Here they are:

merry-maker
sky-water
time-trip
wind-rider
star-theater
wind-catcher
grassland oasis
cloud-loom
body-serum
heaven fruit
ghost reservoir
earth-dust

Really, these came from a brainstorm of interesting ways to say 'sky' or 'rain' or 'field' and so on.  I just took the list and ran with it.  Here is the resulting poem:


80% Humidity with a Chance of Scattered Showers

The day is as humid as jam in a jar
in this green grassland oasis where
my daughter blows bubbles from
 a twice-manufactured soap wand.
The weatherman predicts a
brief precipitation of sky-water,
but for now the world is sunny,
at least here on the Eastern hemisphere
where cloud-loom links the heavens
together until the birds disengage
from the thick sonic boom
of quick wind-riders, smoke-streaks
of their engines drawing x's across the sky
like some unreadable sign from the cosmos.
The sun crosses the sky
yellow as twice-baked molasses,
she is a merry-maker, the progression
of her time-trip marks the days of hours
across watch-faces and calendars,
tissue-paper wisps of
tomorrows planned, yesterdays spent.
Soon the soap bottles squeeze empty,
cookouts smolder their charcoal to bits
of earth-dust to smite the mosquitoes,
those pesky body-serum drinkers.
Soon the evening air will echo our ozone
a series of sounds spinning air,
a ghost-reservoir for spirits in silence who
stalk the sky, a sneaky star-theater that hides
the moon like a grand, white galaxy-fruit.

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