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?
~A GALLOP THROUGH THE FOREST OF MISTED MEMORY~
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
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!
One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.