Tuesday, May 8, 2012

~A GALLOP THROUGH THE FOREST OF MISTED MEMORY~ Hannah's personal challenge poem

Hello fellow toads and pond dwellers, it's Laurie here. After my personal challenge two weeks ago, I was told I had to pass the baton to another toad. I decided to choose someone I have known for years from Poetic Asides, friend and fellow poet Hannah Gosselin of Metaphors and Smiles.

I gave Hannah two options: write a narrative poem using the collective POV "we" and with the inclusion of dialogue, OR write a persona poem in the voice of your favorite literary character or actress/actor.

I encouraged her to step out of the box from her usual style. I knew she’d amaze us because Hannah never disappoints. Take a look at what she’s done. Didn’t Hannah go above and beyond?



We took to the woods with our hearts full
and our feet filing in, behind one another;
we went in together and while our stories entwined
we each saw our own passionate version.
It was time to embrace the mystery
of the fantastical forest, to peel back,
layer by thick, mossy layer,
the ideas that were pre-planned;
releasing those which were set in stone
that resulted in constancies
and permanence of place and form,
to be freed by the leaf-rustled breeze.

“What do you want to play?”
My younger brother asked, with excited eyes.
We all knew what the answer would be:
“Let’s play horses,” answered my older sister,
giddy with the game, the three of us recreated.

Our feet became hooves, we galloped
through the sticks and fallen foliage;
we rustled the pollen and dirt to a plume of dust
which hung in the sun, with our racing steeds
we had each created in our fresh, wishful minds.
We’d described the appearance of our horses
as we galloped, down to the last detail as we ascended
and descended our rocky, wooded course that we’d set,
leaves swept aside from many days of summer play.

“Travel lightly my friends, through the raging river,”
our eldest sister began the epic adventure;
as our narrator she’d invent
and I’d often throw in my two cents:
“Watch out for those water dragons!”

We each had a horse and my horse was named Dawn
and her color was of the misty, morning sky, a gray-hued-purple;
she had a white, diamond, shaped patch in the middle of her forehead
and her mane, tale and fur around her hoofs were long and flowing.
She was the most beautiful, magical friend and helper;
with delicate, graceful feet she carried me loyally
over the most treacherous terrain, through the most dramatic of plots
she gathered me on her broad back and whisked me to safety,
away from the villains of make-believe, vivid lands.

“They’re coming, run faster or they’ll catch us,”
warned my brother, as he trotted raggedly behind us.
“They’ll never get our gold; we’re much too fast,”
assured my sister, as we twisted our way a-trail.

The paths we pondered with playful feet
came to life with every detail of our imaginations.
The thick, pine-needled floor became billowing pillows
of downy clouds beneath our feet, as we flew,
we were enabled by, each of us, by sudden wings.
Each powerful surge of Dawn’s wings carried me higher,
over mountainous territory and then swift, licking flames
from fearsome dragons burned through the fog.

“The flames are so close, fly higher so you’re not burned!”
I warned my siblings, as I gathered and pulled up, on my invisible reins.
“I can feel the heat,” my brother stated, following closer.

I never feared for my precious life while protected by Dawn,
she held me safe and far away, kept me fast from harm.
My heart was united with her, my childhood treasure.
It was measured in the sure and steady beat
of my youthful, racing heart, it matched her rapid rate,
as the normalcy and visible in our worlds became invisible;
all that remained was the instance of our imaginations,
scrolling richly, a thorough story, unseen in our mind’s eye.

“It’s okay Dawn; I know you might be a little scared, it’s okay,”
I relay, as I felt the softness of her velvet muzzle,
the smoothest of bristle,beneath my hand as I comforted her.
“No scaly-skinned, reptilian beast will steal you,”I persisted,
“not a flickering tongue of scorching flame will harm a hair,”
I told her enthusiastically, as I stroked her soft, soulful body.

As she supported me, she brought me courageously forth,
through the tumultuous times of my childhood;
my escape from a sometimes sad,alcohol-saturated reality,
like most anybody in this world, we each with our own stories.
I’ll hold her; harbor her, hallowed in my memory.
I’ll gather her silky mane in my hands, the enigma will remain
as I traverse the purposed paths of my “now,”
each moment will contain a seed of this elemental enchantment,
this authentic “me-ness,” will endure the ensuing burning of man-made time.

All rights reserved by Hannah Gosselin Copy Right © 2012


Hannah says:

This poem was inspired by a recent visit to my old home, on a whim one day I took my chances and just drove there. I awoke feeling drawn there and just went for it! The house is being lived in by a sweet little family and the daughter let me go in to take a look. Initially I was only going to ask if I could look around in the woods and go down to the dock that is still there that my father built but she invited me in. So much was the same and it was really such a neat feeling.

The woods were such a fulfilling experience also. I remembered each fort site and could still see the trail where our feet had been, now buried but still trodden under some sticks and leaves fallen. It was such a filling and draining feeling, being there and then having to leave. A piece of my heart is in those woods and this poem is what resulted.

At first I wrote this in prose with no dialogue and then after editing it I broke it into poetry lines. I kept the formatting of the paragraphs and used the spaces between the paragraphs to add dialogue. I hope you all have enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Thank you, Laurie!! Warm smiles!


Mary said...

I enjoyed your memories shared in this poem, Hannah. They triggered my own. I spent a lot of time playing 'horses' whhen I was a child too!

Hannah said...

So sweet, Mary!! I'm so glad it brought back memories for you, too!
Thank you, for reading! :)

Margaret said...

I’ll gather her silky mane in my hands, the enigma will remain
as I traverse the purposed paths of my “now,”

Your childhood imagination makes you a stronger adult... I love that! How wonderful the people who live in your "old" home were so welcoming. What a joy and wonderful experience and thanks for sharing a part of it with us.

Maude Lynn said...

This reminds me so much of my own childhood. Beautiful write!

Kerry O'Connor said...

I love this idea of writing from the "we" perspective - not something I often do but I intend to try it out myself. I loved the depth of this narrative. It is rich in details and the heart of childhood.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

What a fantastically beautiful read this was, Hannah. So vivid I could see the voices, hear the high-pitched echoes. It reminds me of looking out the window and seeing my sister, who has always loved horses "being" a horse, galloping around the fields out back. Sigh. You did a spectacular job with this poem. So rich in memory.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

p.s. I LOVE the title, too!

Herotomost said...

What a great title and a very ambitious write, what a great trip back to an old home, I have often thought that I would like to doe the same myself. Everything seems much the same but seems just a bit smaller to me but no less magical. This was a great write Hannah and a cool challenge Laurie.

Barbara Ehrentreu said...

Hannah, no matter what you write you never disappoint me. Your images and descriptions allowed me to "see" your horse:
her color was of the misty, morning sky, a gray-hued-purple;
she had a white, diamond, shaped patch in the middle of her forehead
and her mane, tale and fur around her hoofs were long and flowing.

I grew up on the cement streets of Brooklyn, but I can identify with the kind of imaginative play you had with your siblings. Beautiful and poignant vignette!! Thank you for challenging Hannah, Laurie and for leading us here. This will not be my only visit.

Mary Ann Potter said...

Because I truly feel that it's never too late to have a happy childhood, I was impressed with this poem! The imagery is just beautiful as is the narrative itself. Wow. Let me spell that backwards ---woW! 8-)

Laurie Kolp said...

It was a sheer delight to work with Hannah... thank you!!

Peggy said...

What a wonderful adventure in the woods with your horses. So many children play at horses, so many girls it seems. What is it about the magic of horses? So strong and protecting and yet approachable. Maybe adult women should have the chance to get away to a woods and play horse once again.

De Jackson said...

Hannah! This is gorgeous! I love this gallop back to childhood (we played horses, too...and then at 12 I actually had one for a few years). Sweet, and nostalgic, and tied with quiet reins to the present. Just beautiful. I especially loved:
"we each with our own stories."


Susie Clevenger said...

Hannah, such wonderfully written verses of childhood memories. There are those moments we have as a child that help us through and carry us in our today. My childhood home was sold last year and I know the pain it is to let go of it in the physical realm, but memories will always be with me.

Myrna R. said...

So glad I stopped by here today. What lovely memories written with such delicacy and warmth.

Mystic_Mom said...

This is really good, nice job rising to the challenge!

Mystic_Mom said...

This is really good, nice job rising to the challenge!

Hannah said...

Oh,all of your kind comments and reflections of your own memories just fill my heart to full with gladness!! I'm so happy that you all are enjoying this and I'm so grateful for each of your thoughtful remarks. Thank you ever so much!! Warm smiles to all of you poetical peeps!!

Linda H. said...

Laurie is right. You never fail to amaze. I always get enjoyment from your work and this poem, though a bit different from your usual work, still delivers. Write on, Hannah.

Dr. Pearl Ketover Prilik (PKP) said...

Oooh lovely, a bit mystical and filled with terrific imagery....would perhaps make a lovely children's book...!

Andrea said...

Oh yes, I enjoyed this. For instance that your brother also felt the heat - but in fact I love it all. You created a lively and fresh childhood image and you even kept up with your poetic voice.
I like your description of going back very much.

Unknown said...

Hannah, this poem took me in, right from the start, with your words, "We took to the woods". There is something about childhood and siblings when imagination takes hold and it is easy to "gallop" off on an adventure. It most definitely stirred memories of horses and the wonders of a forest. Agree with Pearl that it could be a book, though I was thinking more of a chapbook with some mystical illustrations.
Hannah, this poem just wows me! Glad that Laurie gave such a challenge.

PSC said...

Such a sweet romp down "Memory Lane, Hannah! Funny how we all played similar games back then. A lovely tale that brought back many happy recollections. Thanks, Hannah! :-)

Scarlet said...

I love this Hannah ~ How I remembered my own childhood dreams and wild rides with my brothers and sisters. I like the images you drew here, such a comfort to escape from the realities and perhaps sad state of our home. You rose up to the challenge very well ~

Laurie, thanks for the challenge ~

vivinfrance said...

I feel the regression into your childhood throughout this. I remember you writing about visiting your old home before, but your revisions etc have made the poem into something even more special.

Herotomost said...

Nothing like a trip through childhood to bring out the best and deepest feelings. So cool to go back like that...it always seems smaller when you go back, but the feeling is still there and the nostalgia takes you in waves. Great writing Hannah and great challenge Laurie...loved it.

Marian said...

epic perfect goodness, Hannah!

Hannah said...

Your responses simply warm my heart and inspire me to write more and do more to reach out with my writing. It has been such a pleasure hearing about all of your experiences, also!! Thank you to each and every one of you that kindly read and then thoughtfully responded to this challenge offering. I'm so grateful! Warm-smiles to you all!