Thirteen Ways to Look at _______ Challenge

In response to the Put a Poem in Your Pocket Challenge our Regular Contributor The Teacher shared one of her own poems and an invitation/assignment. The Sisters decided that a perfect way to end National Poetry Month would be to challenge our readers to write a poem of their own. So this week we give you a poetry challenge from The Teacher:
A blackbird made by The Sisters
during Days of the Blackbird
"There's a poem by Wallace Stevens titled Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.  The first time I introduced it to a class, I ended up asking them to chose an object (not a quality, like "love") and, following Stevens's example and their own imaginations, see how many ways they could look at that object (at least 7); using figures of speech, etc." 
Want to give it a try? First read Wallace Stevens' poem, next read The Teacher's poem and finally click comment and write your own!


I 
Among twenty snowy mountains, 
The only moving thing 
Was the eye of the blackbird.

II 
I was of three minds, 
Like a tree 
In which there are three blackbirds.

III 
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds. 
It was a small part of the pantomime.

IV 
A man and a woman 
Are one. 
A man and a woman and a blackbird 
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer, 
The beauty of inflections 
Or the beauty of innuendoes, 
The blackbird whistling 
Or just after.

VI 
Icicles filled the long window 
With barbaric glass. 
The shadow of the blackbird 
Crossed it, to and fro. 
The mood 
Traced in the shadow 
An indecipherable cause.

VII 
O thin men of Haddam, 
Why do you imagine golden birds? 
Do you not see how the blackbird 
Walks around the feet 
Of the women about you?

VIII 
I know noble accents 
And lucid, inescapable rhythms; 
But I know, too, 
That the blackbird is involved 
In what I know.

IX 
When the blackbird flew out of sight, 
It marked the edge 
Of one of many circles.

X 
At the sight of blackbirds 
Flying in a green light, 
Even the bawds of euphony 
Would cry out sharply.

XI 
He rode over Connecticut 
In a glass coach. 
Once, a fear pierced him, 
In that he mistook 
The shadow of his equipage 
For blackbirds.

XII 
The river is moving. 
The blackbird must be flying.

XIII 
It was evening all afternoon. 
It was snowing 
And it was going to snow. 
The blackbird sat 
In the cedar-limbs. 


Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Willow 
by Lynn Barrett (The Teacher)

I
Willow weeps
With a war-weary world.

II
O Willow, why do you weep?
Ophelia floats peacefully
In the stream.

III
O Willow, why do you weep?
Listen to the laughter
Of children playing
Inside the tent of your branches.

IV
The willow is a maiden
With tempest-tossed tresses
Troubling the tangled turf.

V
The willow is a fountain
Of yellow-green droplets
Filtering the slanting rays
Of the morning sun.

VI
Squirrels chase each other
Through the willow tree.
Her limbs sway and bend.
They do not break.

VII
In the heat of noontime,
A nightingale -
Nodding,
Napping -
Nestles in the cool green niches
Of the willow.

VIII
The sting of the willow-switch whipping
Will soon pass.
Not so
The deeper wound.

IX
In the gray-green of evening,
The willow whispers wistfully
To the winnowing wind.

X
What night nuances
Lure me to the moon-made shadows
Of the willow?

XI
Whitened with winter,
The willow waits willingly
For spring.
Now is a time of rest.

XII
The rivulet runs;
The robin returns;
The bluebell blooms:
The willow wakes.

XIII
Her roots probed deep
To find life-giving water.

Still the willow thirsts.

Now Dear Books for Walls Reader -it is your turn, pick your object and write your poem then post it in the comments below. We understand if you feel shy and do not want to post it --in that case just post in the comments that you did take the Thirteen Ways to Look at _______ Challenge. And Happy National Poetry Month!

2 comments:

  1. It is a rainy day and perfect for writing poetry. This morning The Sisters, The Mom and Uncle Chris took on the assignment together --these poems are a blast to brainstorm in a group! And here is what we came up with. (Thank your beautiful Teacher, this is an amazing assignment!)

    Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Tent Worm Caterpillar
    by The Big Sister, The Little Sister, The Mom, and Uncle Chris

    I
    A lazy camper in its tent
    comes out answering
    nature's call.

    II
    Little hungry bears waking
    up from their slumber.

    III
    Creepy creepers constantly crawl.

    IV
    Covering the ground like carpet;
    this is no time for bare feet.

    V
    An explosion,
    a murder,
    cold caterpillar guts on your feet,
    a child feels guilty.

    VI
    Living bark moving,
    eating caterpillars growing,
    fractured leaves plummet,
    feces falling in your face,
    covering the porch like coffee grounds.

    VII
    Caterpillars getting fatter by the minutes
    (Imagine: green guts growing!)

    VIII
    As the caterpillar feast
    the trees say
    goodbye
    to their spring tender foliage.

    IX
    Sliding down on their silk like
    firemen
    sliding down
    on their pole.

    X
    Then they hurry like firemen
    heading to a fire.
    But they are looking for
    a place to make a cocoon.

    XI
    Many die,
    but still they try.

    XII
    Finally protected (hopefully)
    carefully in a comfortable cocoon
    to rest,
    to grow,
    to change,
    to become.

    XIII
    A beautiful moth
    takes flight,
    heading for something
    bright
    bright
    bright.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mom, Big Sister, Little Sister, and Uncle Chris:

    EXCELLENT!

    ReplyDelete