Rebecca only gave me three words this time: ghost, with and global. I wrote the three words on a stickynote and thought they would do their magic on me, worming their way into a piece of poetic brilliance – or at least a piece of poetic averageness. But nothing happened. My mind played a bit with the alliteration of global ghost, and flickered briefly to global warming and the ghosts we might become if we don’t take stronger action, but that seemed a bit dire for this blog.
So, some weeks went by and the words were still just three words. Till my son asked me whatt heyw ere and I explained that I needed to put all three in a poem. “That’s easy!” he said: “There once was a ghost/Who got some post…” His words trailed off, but my mind started, at last, to tick away. Because I’ve been working on a workshop about forced rhyme, and there was one staring me in the face. “Hmm,” i thought. “I think I can do soemthing pretty corny here.” And the res, as they say, is history.
It’s not poetic brilliance, but it is a bit of fun, and perhaps an example of what happens when you try to force rhymes to a topic. (Sarcel? Thanks for that one, Rhymezone.)
Here’s my effort:
Can you exchange post
With a ghost?
To a snail?
Send a letter
To a red setter?
Or a card
To a St Bernard?
Can you write a note
To a goat?
Send a global parcel
To a hawk’s sarcel?
(You’ll want to go
And look that up).
I guess you know
The answer’s NUP.
Poem copyright Sally Murphy, 2017
Yet again I have been slow to meet the challenge Rebecca gave me. I have been lost in the depths of a doctoral thesis focussing on children’s poetry, as well as releasing two new books and working. Still, I shouldn’t neglect Poetry challenges!
Anyway, when I finally sat down and looked at the word Rebecca had given me:
I instantly thought about the homophone pair of fouls/fowl. It only took a few moments to realise that all four words were homophones, and so the idea for a homophone poem tickled my fancy. This is the result:
A Homophonic Musing
As I stand and look in awe
I know it’s neither oar or or
That I should use
When admiring ewes
And feathery fowl
Who are not foul.
My brain’s a metaphoric awl
That helps me manage pinpoint all
The different ways of spelling
Things I see and tales I’m telling.
Thanks for the challenge Rebecca. Watch out for new words coming your way.
(Poem copyright Sally Murphy, 2017)
It’s only been a few days since Rebecca gave me a new set of words, and I surprised myself by knowing instantly what to do with them. Maybe because this was an easier set than last time (when she gave me Shakespearean words) or maybe my muse was just having a good day.
The words she game me where am, spot and slip. As soon as I read them I had an image of a spotty dog. slipping and sliding around. Which lead to this:
I am Spot
I am Spot
Sometimes wet and
I am Spot
Sometimes tired and
(Poem Copyright Sally Murphy, 2016)
Thanks for the words, Rebecca.
When Sally gave me my latest word prompts, I wrote a very silly poem about ‘ox’ rhyming with ‘fox’ and ‘box’ but how you can’t rhyme ‘oxen’ with ‘foxen’ or ‘boxen’ — but then I put that poem aside. Because the one I’m posting below was brewing, and I liked the idea of it more (even though it wasn’t written yet!). ‘Ox’ had reminded me about Judith Wright’s poem ‘Bullocky’. I’d first read that years ago, at highschool, and really loved it. So then I decided to write something from a bullock’s point of view.
This team of oxen,
under relentless Australian sun
we pull —
leaders at the front, polers at the back, near the wagon.
Two by two we move
by dry creek beds,
two by two
along dusty tracks
and the bullockies crack their whips.
The bullockies shout curses
because of the flies, or the ridged track
worn too far one way or the other —
mustn’t tip the wagon-load of wool and wheat,
At night the bullockies
squat by flickering firelight, under starred skies
and leave us to find feed,
leave us to drift, to dream.
What are a bullock’s dreams?
I dream of green grasses,
and freedom —
walking without another shoulder yoked to mine.
(Rebecca Newman, 2014. All rights reserved.)