Tuesday, 30 April 2013

April is done... and so am I!

April has come to a close... with a new layer of snow on the ground again.  Sigh. 

If you've been following me this month, which I'm sure you have because you're reading this right now, then you'll know that I signed on to write a poem a day for the entire month.  And today's poem, poem number 30 (actually 32 because I threw in two bonus poems) is for you!  Enjoy!

But I also signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo - a scaled down version of my beloved November National Novel Writing Month.  It was a set your own goal kind of a challenge, so I kept my sights small.  I set a goal of 500 words a day.  And I met that challenge, too!  I added almost 20K to my novel.

Which leads me to my biggest brag.... I started the novel in 2007 when I was on maternity leave with Connor.  I added bits here and there over the past five years, sometimes in spurts, sometimes in dribbles.  (Hmm... spurts and dribbles is a good way to describe this stage in my life, with four children life is anything but dry... but I digress).  Anyway, when April challenged me to sign up for this Camp NaNoWriMo, I decided that my goal would be to revise and finish my novel.  And guess what?  Last night I typed "The End".

I finished it!  I finished my novel!  Holy crap!  I never finish anything, I just flit from one hobby to the next until I get restless and start something new (I think I might have written a poem about that).   But this one, despite having taken me five years, I actually saw through to "The End!" And I don't think it sucks!  It took me all month but I revised, tweaked, and completed chapters and filled in most of the missing plot holes.  It's big... over 100,000 words and over 400 pages long.

Next step, share with a few people, get feedback on plot holes, dropped plot lines, confusing bits.... and then revise.  Phew, I'm tired just thinking about it!  :)

Anyway, I'm blathering on.  Here's the poem.  Enjoy!  I'm shutting off the computer for the rest of the day and taking a break from writing.

Time to dust off my scrapbook table and switch modes for a while! :)


# 30 – To My Handful of Blog Followers

The challenge to write thirty poems,
Seemed like an arbitrary one,
But I learned a lot of new techniques,
In this poetry 101!

I tried my hand at sonnets,
Free-verse, tankas, and pantoums,
I threw in a couple ballads,
But skipped those pesky short haikus.

Turns out I like my poems to rhyme,
I like consistent metre too,
Some took me quite a bit of time,
Others, I whipped off in a few,

Minutes, that is. While my baby naps,
Or after she's in bed at night,
Or while I'm feeding her; turns out
There's lots of stolen time to write.

Some poems were silly, some were sweet,
Some just bad, I'm sure that you agree,
But I hope that I amused you,
While I blogged my poetry,

National Poetry Writing Month,
A challenge to write creatively,
No prize except the awakening,
Of a long dormant part of me!

If you liked reading all my poems,
Then please check in again back here,
I might post a few more, once in a while,
And I'm signing up again next year!

  • Laura Freeman -
    April 30, 2013

Monday, 29 April 2013

#29 - April Showers Bring May Flowers (A Pantoun)

April, as a month, is dreary,
The earth is dank and spoiled,
The sky opaque, the air is bleary,
The snow, too slow, recoiled.

The earth is dank and spoiled,
Green growth yet to appear,
The snow, too slow, recoiled,
An undecided time of year.

Green growth yet to appear,
Trees still proudly bare,
An undecided time of year,
A chill pervades the air.

Trees still proudly bear
Leaves, grow lush and bright,
A warmth pervades the air,
The sun shares its precious light.

Leaves grow lush and bright,
Grass sprouts green and nourishes,
The sun shares its welcome light,
Life abounds and flourishes.

May as a month is sweet.
- Laura Freeman -
April 29th, 2013

Sunday, 28 April 2013

#28 - Happy Birthday!

Okay, I'm running out of ideas and I have a cold, so forgive this sap.  The technique I employed to today is called "enjambment."

"The word Enjambment comes from the French word for "to straddle". Enjambment
is the continuation of a sentence from one line or couplet into the next. "

It's the twenty-eighth of April and I know

that on this day, thirty-seven years ago,

a couple had cause to celebrate

the birth of someone great.

First the babe became a daughter then

she next became a sister when,

Tegan was born. Through the years, a Guide,

a scholar, a friend, and a bride.

She's a mother of two. And the list

goes on; Shes's an environmentalist,

a writer, a teacher, a gamer, a leader,

even a backyard chicken breeder.

I hope that on this birthday, my old friend

knows what she means to all she's met. In the end,

what matters most is that one always gains,

by having known the likes of April Raines.

  • Laura Freeman -
    April 28th, 2013

Saturday, 27 April 2013

#27 - An Abecedarian Mess

Ample toys my children own,
Because we're idiots,
Cluttering up every surface,
Damn, what rhymes with idiots?

Everything is all about,
Fu...dge, there's dishes in the sink!
Garbage needs to be taken out,
Heaping piles are starting to stink!

In crevices or under beds,
Just get it out of sight,
Keep it or throw it out,
Let's start the weekly fight.

Messy messes, everywhere
Nary a tidy spot, I'm reeling...
Oh wait, that's not entirely true
Please stop to admire the ceiling!

Quickly pick up all this crap,
Really need to wash the floor,
Shove the laundry in the hall,
Toss the rest behind the door.

Unless we go on one of those home makeover shows,
Verily, this is how every Saturday goes.

We're raising little hoarders,
X'actly like us, hanging on to shit,
Yes, we can't keep our house in order...
Zoos would even have a fit!
            - Laura Freeman -
               April 27, 2013
**Yesterday's poem, by the way, was an Erasure of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven"**

Friday, 26 April 2013

#26 - Erased

Enough cutesy rhyming... here's my WTF poem.  You know how some people write these free verse poems that sound all depressing and you think, WTF, anyone could write that.  A thesaurus could puke that up!  Well... here's mine.  Strangely, it has taken just as long to write as the ones I take care to plan, so I guess it's not as easy as it looks.  And no, I'm not feeling suicidal.  This is a poem taken from a very famous poem.

See if you can figure out what poem it is. The explanation of the prompt style of poetry is below the poem. 

Once I, weary, and curious
as I muttered nothing.

Distinctly I remember
Dying upon the morrow
lost, rare, and radiant.
The angels nameless,

Filled with terrors
before the beating of my heart
entreating late
entreating nothing.

Presently my soul no longer,
said truly forgive
the fact I gently
And so faintly
scarce heard.
Deep into that darkness
mortal before.

The silence broken,
darkness whispered;
Whispered an echo,

My soul burning,
louder than before,
then nothing.

Here in saintly obeisance
above nothing more.

Then sad smiling,
grave and stern countenance,
Ghastly, grim and ancient.

Tell me much,
I marvelled plainly,
its answer meaning little.
Living was blessed.
Lonely soul,
nothing further uttered
Leave me my hopes then!
Stillness broken,
caught from some unmerciful disaster;
One burden,
melancholy burden,
my sad soul cushioned
then sinking.
No expressing the fiery burn in my core.

Divining ease that gloated,

Unseen by God,
these angels sent memories;
Forget evil,
or devil sent desolate horror;
Haunt this soul with sorrow.
Rare, parting,
a black soul.
Loneliness broken,
pallid dreaming.
My soul floating
Shall be lifted !
- Laura Freeman-
April 26, 2013

From today's NaPoWriMo prompt:

"Back in 1977, the poet Ronald Johnson first published RADI OS, an “erasure” of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Basically, Johnson took a copy of Milton’s long poem, and systematically erased whole words and even lines, while maintaining the relative position of the remaining words. You can see a brief excerpt here.
Today, I challenge you to perform an erasure of your own. You don’t need to start with a poem as long as Paradise Lost, of course, but a tolerably long poem is usually needed to furnish enough material so that the final product isn’t just a few words long (though erasure haiku might be a fun new subgenre). A few long poems that might respond well to erasure could be Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, or Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott. Go ahead and copy and paste the text into a document, and then start whiting-out words. Or make a photocopy of a long poem you like, and mark over words on the copy. You can form a whole new poem just by taking words away! Once you’re done, you can leave the spaces as they are (I rather like the “ghosted” look of all that empty space), or take the left-over words and keep playing with them, reforming new poems from them. Happy writing!"

Thursday, 25 April 2013

#25 - The Morning Routine

"And now, our (optional) prompt. I already asked you to write a sea chanty. Today, let’s try another musical form — the ballad. Traditionally, ballads were rhymed poems that told a story of some kind, and were often set to music. They were sometimes set in four-line verses, with an ABAB rhyme pattern, employing alternating 8 and 6 syllable, iambic lines. This 8/6 iambic pattern is sometimes referred to as ballad meter. The use of this type of pattern was not universal, however, and old ballads often involve different syllable counts, as well as refrains that break up the verses. "

She gets up at the crack of dawn,
At least it feels that way,
Nurses the voracious one,
Begging sleep come her way.

Nay, babe's up, and ready to play,
It's time to start the day!

She slips out of bed, babe in arms,
No one else woken up,
Change a diaper, enjoy babe's charms,
Belch! She's covered with spit up.

Aye, she's dripping in milky spray,
It's time to start the day!

The six year old pads out, blinking,
Can I play before school?”
Maybe. It's early, she's thinking,
So she breaks their usual rule.
Aye, computer on, she let's him play,
It's time to start the day!
She smells like barf, a quick shower,
She hands the babe to Dad,
In and out, shined and scoured,
But her son's day has just turned bad.

Nay, computer froze, it won't play,
It's time to start the day!

He bursts in to deafening wails,
You said my turn to take!”
His bonus computer time fails,
Now everyone's awake!

Aye, thanks to Connor's obnoxious bray,
It's time start our day.
Don't comb through my hair!” Screeches one,
I hate jeans,” says another,
Where's my socks?” Look for them,
What am I, your mother?

Everyone's finally dressed, Oy Vey!
Time to start the day.

The babe is crying “pick me up!”
As toast goes on the plate,
Put toys down Connor, do eat up!
We're going to be late!
Aargh, we're not going to make it today,
Time to start the day!

Babe on hip, needing love from someone,
She struggles with one hand,
To quickly get school lunches done,
If you made them at night, it'd be grand (dumbass!)

Well, I guess we'll go with PB and J...
It's time to start the day.

Your nose is bleeding, go wipe it now,
No, no, not with your shirt!
You still need to wipe it, do you not know how?
Here, I'll do it. “Ow, that hurts!

Ugh... filthy, slimey little vertebrae...
Time to start the day.

Hurry up and finish eating,
We're running low on time,
Put the toys away, she's pleading,
As baby screams in her ear  
(I know, that doesn't rhyme!)
(Insert a lapse into free-verse here)
Connor, time to go and brush your teeth,
Where's my toothbrush? 
On the counter.
Where on the counter.
Right in front of your nose. You know, the one that's still bleeding.
Put that toy down, brush your teeth...
If you don't brush your teeth I'm going to brush them for you!

And here comes tantrum number four,
She's made everyone's day. Great!
The eight year old falls to the floor,
Mad that he's going to be late.
Oh c'mon, why are you crying now?
Time to start the freakin' day!

Okay, boots and jackets.
Connor, put your coat on.
Where's my coat.
Where did you leave it last night?
The closet.
Check the closet.
I don't see it. Where's my coat.
In the closet.
(The one that is still bleeding!)
Oh. There it is.
They arrive at school, the bell has rung,
They're just a wee bit late,
You'll still be on time if you run!
So Connor walks at a snail's gait.

Now everyone's crabby  and grey,
Way to start their day!
Today was not atypical,
Although this morning sucked,
Can't get to school before the bell,
When I go back to work I'm....
... in big trouble!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

#24 - A Bug Sonnet

Today I sat and watched some children play,
Wood chips became rafts, sailing run-off streams,
Dammed up to divert water's preferred way,
They conquered nature with their playful schemes.
I see a lone bug and it fascinates,
It floats in the stream, aware of its plight,
And catches their eye; Their game terminates,
Now they wager on its survival fight.
The dam looming up so perilously,
The bug flutters helplessly upside down,
Ripples spread as he flaps vigorously,
Swirling ever nearer the makeshift ground.
The children watch and wait with baited breath,
He hits the dam, he rights, and conquers death.

- Laura Freeman -
April 24th, 2013

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Novel Update

One of the skills that I have really managed to hone, is my ability to procrastinate.  I'm a pro!  That's probably why I've been so good at posting these poems every day.  I set a goal to finish the first draft of my novel, "Undesirable" by the end of April.  Then I gleefully took on NaPoWriMo, too.  So... I thought it would be prudent of me to update you on the progress of the other half of my April creative writing challenge.

Undesirable (the working title, I'm not in love with it yet) sits at 424 pages long without removing all the stuff I intend to once I realize my word count goal.  I am in the 3rd of 4 sections and have been revising diligently every night this month except for last night (one of my children needed me so I was forced to shut the computer off well before my usual midnight deadline).  I have added 12,000 new words so far (my Nanowrimo goal is 15K) and I have slashed at least that amount. 

All that's left now is to fill in the scenes that I glossed over in November.  And boy are they doozies!  Having finished all the backstory, setting, character development, etc... what I have let to write is the conflict.  Which, it turns out, I'm not very good at writing.  I cannot envision scenes of torture or death or mayhem... so I'm struggling with describing them.

So... in an effort to better my writing (and avoid the inevitable), I think I'm going to have to watch an episode of Game of Thrones tonight! ;)

Enjoy today's poem, I'm pretty pleased with it.

#23 - The Ballad of the Unfinished Novelist
It started so small, just five years ago,
And idea that spread like a weed,
Or like a young seedling,
It started to grow,
Writing filled in her, some unanswered need.
She wrote it in spurts, over the years,
Mid-life crisis, perhaps? Perhaps not?
In spare moments,
With blood, sweat and tears,
All that's left, one tiny bit of the plot...
How does one kill off a character,
Who's a fine make-believe friend?
How does one kill off a character,
The only thing in the way of “The End.”
It's finally done, at least the majority,
Long in planning and longer to pen,
Babies were birthed,
Her job a priority,
The book completely ignored, months on end.
The problem now is she's become attached,
To every flawed character,
And she's avoiding the plan,
The one she once hatched,
That would wrap up the story for her.
How does one kill off a character,
Who's a fine make-believe friend?
How does one kill off a character,
The only thing in the way of “The End.”
She likes to write scenes that are fluff,
The happy, the funny, romantic,
But she also avoids,
Puts off everything tough,
Conflict, apparently, not her best schtick,
JK Rowling can kill, she killed off a Weasley,
And that other “Martin” author can, too,
Old Yeller, Charlotte,
They make it look easy,
For other writers, the death tolls accrue.
How does one kill off a character,
Who's a fine make-believe friend?
How does one kill off a character,
The only thing in the way of “The End.”
No one wants to read claptrap anymore,
Where the prince, at the last moment, rides in,
And swoops in to save,
From certain horror,
Unless you're a fan of the ol' Harlequin.
So sometime this week, she'll just have to do it,
Bite the proverbial bullet and then,
Sit down and flesh out,
All the conflict unwrit,
And finally tie up all the loose ends.
How does one kill off a character,
Who's a fine make-believe friend?
Just do it, you sap, it'll suck of you don't,
It's the only thing left 'fore “The End.”
- Laura Freeman -
April 23, 2013

Monday, 22 April 2013

#22 On Earth Day

Nature, in all her glorious beauty,
Innocent, believes her faith to be true,
She chooses them to take on the duty,
To care for her world as she needs them to.
A work of art, of pristine wilderness,
Rich with life, and her bounty resplendent,
They receive the gift of her blank canvas,
Then consume her stores, over dependent.

 They grow stronger with Nature's nourishment,
Taking power, which turns to resource greed,
Spreading out; A plague of development,
Turn their backs from her in her time of need.

Death and decay in technology's wake,
Hungry, they consume every living space,
Nature, too late, comprehends her mistake,
In trusting her care to the human race.

Laura Freeman
April 22, 2013

Sunday, 21 April 2013

#21 - A Limerick Quartet

My hat's off to Mother Goose, these are harder to write than I anticipated.  The still need work, but since the babe's awake, it's time to shut off the computer.  Enjoy today's offering....

Alex enjoys playing games with his siblings,
He's helpful when they need entertaining,
He's quick with the puns,
Talented with crayons,
But his lack of sportmanship remains challenging.

Connor is impulsive and daring,
But mostly he's just sweet and caring,
He'll draw pictures you ask,
And help out with most tasks,
But he sometimes lacks skills in sharing.

Kirstin loves everything that's princessy,
She likes to wear clothes that are dressy,
She dances and twirls,
And sings as she whirls,
Despite the fact that her castle is messy.
Brooklynn, the baby's, one dear little child,
She likes watching her siblings go wild,
She shrieks and she wiggles,
And occasionally giggles,
Getting herself quite adorably riled.
- Laura Freeman -
April 21, 2013

Saturday, 20 April 2013

#20 - When Inspiration Strikes

Hey!  One of my poems is famous!  Okay, probably not. But my brother reposted "To Play the Classics" over at his blog (the link is on the right- hand side of this page under "My Blog List") and he does have a much bigger cult following than I.  So it's almost like being famous! :) 

For what its worth, my brother is a very good sport and would never have a game inspired tantrum resulting in him knocking over the table to avoid losing.  But writing about that wouldn't be funny at all.  Besides, I can probably count on one hand the number of times we played Monopoly.  He hates that game (not sure if you can tell from his blog).  So I embellished the truth a bit.  I think that's called poetic license! :)

But since I'm not clever enough to know how to link back to his page, you'll have to go snoop yourself.  Anyway, he made a couple of sweet comments.  He called me a "writer", which I guess I didn't really consider myself.  I mean, sitting in front of a computer in the late hours of the night writing a bunch of fluff that never sees paper, well, it doesn't exactly pay the bills, does it?  Still, I have loved writing since I was really young.  Grade 5 was the earliest I can remember receiving a bit of school related praise for something I had written... and I did earn 40 bucks in Grade 7 for a poem I submitted to the Legion for Remembrance Day. So, maybe I can, tentatively call myself a writer.  Unpublished, but hopeful. I like the sound of that! 

And then he said that he didn't know where I found the time. Which is funny, cause, ummm I don't have time to play board games! :)  Po-tay-to, po-tat-o... Martins like to keep busy. But that comment is the basis for my inspiration today! :)  Hey, give me a break... it's the 20th of April and I'm running out of ideas.
A "Triolet"...
One handed while her infant feeds,
In quiet hours, she chooses to write,
A stolen moment meets her needs.
One handed while her infant feeds,
Or when children, in sleepiness, recede,
She stays up far too late at night.
One handed while her infant feeds,
In quiet hours, she chooses to write.
- Laura Freeman -
April 20, 2013

From poets.org - "The triolet is a short poem of eight lines with only two rhymes used throughout. The requirements of this fixed form are straightforward: the first line is repeated in the fourth and seventh lines; the second line is repeated in the final line; and only the first two end-words are used to complete the tight rhyme scheme. Thus, the poet writes only five original lines, giving the triolet a deceptively simple appearance: ABaAabAB, where capital letters indicate repeated lines.

Friday, 19 April 2013

#19 – The Fog

The Fog settles in and makes plans to stay,

How long since the way was clear and bright?
Slowly swirling, it steals from the day.

A half-life; It rolls in with the night,
Every task attempted, sluggish and slow,

The Fog torments daily, no end in sight.

The Fog stretches and further it flows,
And fills every corner with heaviness,

Weighs down the weary, continues to grow.

How long until clarity's due caress,
Comes to replace Fog's sleepy decay,
And cleans up the dregs of the weariness?

Still, the Fog fills my head, intent to stay,
Damn, am I ever tired today!
- Laura Freeman
April 19, 2013 -

From Poets.org, this is my attemt to write in "Terza Rima"

" Invented by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri in the late thirteenth century to structure his three-part epic poem, The Divine Comedy, terza rima is composed of tercets woven into a rhyme scheme that requires the end-word of the second line in one tercet to supply the rhyme for the first and third lines in the following tercet. Thus, the rhyme scheme (aba, bcb, cdc, ded) continues through to the final stanza or line. Dante chose to end each canto of the The Divine Comedy with a single line that completes the rhyme scheme with the end-word of the second line of the preceding tercet."

Thursday, 18 April 2013

#18 - Genetics

Trying to guess, as our children's quirks shine,

Is that trait from him, or is that one of mine?

Alexander James, full of creativity,

Sharp mind and quick wit; he must take after me!

Connor Nicholas, loves Kindergarten,

Daring and social, must be a Martin.

Kirstin Elizabeth, sweet as a flower,

Chatty and charming, full of “Girl Power!”

Brooklynn Christina, what a delight,

Inquisitive nature, takes in every sight.

The best of each one's personality,

Look at that, they get them all from me!

- Laura Freeman -
April 18, 2013

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

#17 - A Spring Villanelle

"The highly structured villanelle is a nineteen-line poem with two repeating rhymes and two refrains. The form is made up of five tercets followed by a quatrain. The first and third lines of the opening tercet are repeated alternately in the last lines of the succeeding stanzas; then in the final stanza, the refrain serves as the poem's two concluding lines. Using' capitals for the refrains and lowercase letters for the rhymes, the form could be expressed as: A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 A2. "

The robins call out in cheerful refrain,
Hopeful of a new start, they welcome in spring,
The morning air is cool, promising rain.

Snow covered patches of sodden terrain,
Dotting the landscape, thaw in full swing,
The robins call out in cheerful refrain.
The sky is dreary, wears a white wash stain,
Brooding, unfriendly, what news will it bring?
The morning air is cool, promising rain.

The call of the geese as they form up their chain,
From their riverbed perch, the swans also take wing,
The robins call out in cheerful refrain.

To wash away winter, let green grow again,
With anticipation, my heart starts to sing,
The morning air is cool, promising rain.
The peal of the moose, signs that prove certain
Restored optimism, of seasons changing,
The robins call out in cheerful refrain,
The morning air is cool, promising rain.

- Laura Freeman -
April 17, 2013

Bonus Poem

So, I actually wrote two poems yesterday.  The one I posted, and then later, this one.  I really wanted to try my hand at a "Rondeau" (In Flander's Field being a very famous example) but I couldn't get the rhyme scheme to fit with my "Fight Back" thoughts and as I started writing that poem it didn't feel right to restrict it to a format.  I'm glad I didn't, because I'm quite proud of how it turned out.

So here's the Rondeau I wrote later... it's really silly... probably won't attempt that poem form again soon as it's quite restrictive.  I was tempted to save it and use it to take a day off, but I've already started writing today's poem, so I'm posting it as a bonus instead.  No days off for me, I'm having too much fun with this!

From poets.org (which by the way is where I've been looking up poem forms in case you were wondering) a rondeau is as follows:

     "The rondeau’s form is not difficult to recognize: as it is known and practiced today,
     it is composed of fifteen lines, eight to ten syllables each, divided stanzaically into a
     quintet, a quatrain, and a sestet. The rentrement consists of the first few words or the
     entire first line of the first stanza, and it recurs as the last line of both the second and
     third stanzas. Two rhymes guide the music of the rondeau, whose rhyme scheme is
     as follows (R representing the refrain): aabba aabR aabbaR."

#16 B – Family
This is what makes us a family,
When first you pledged your love to me,
Two sons came first, a family of four,
Then our girls, we added two more,
And now we're six, gendered equally.

A smaller branch of a larger tree,
Our parents still living in P.G.,
Siblings we wish we could see more,
This is what makes us a family.

A nephew and niece in Southern B.C.
Another expected in Calgary,
Reunions chaotic, more so than before,
A sister next summer, the wedding in store,
Sisters and brothers, friends are we,
This is what makes us a family.

- Laura Freeman -
April 16, 2013