Definition

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.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mini-Challenge: Masks

my younger son at age 2


It's already Christmas in some stores - a total rip for we who favor the autumnal, and perhaps more pagan, annual ritual of Halloween. 

Last week I laid down in an aisle hosting Halloween candy and costumes alongside Christmas decorations and little baby Jesi, just to get a sense of the confusion that wee tykes might get from the layers of commercialism assaulting their tender eyes, ears, and bellies, but then security came by - or at least, someone wearing an ill-fitting blue suit and an aluminum badge, carrying a flashlight despite the high fluorescent lights - and told me I was scaring the customers, and besides, he had just cleaned up a little "accident" on the carpet and I really didn't want to be laying down just there, if you know what I mean.

Slightly damp, I complied - it wouldn't do to scare customers unless they've actually paid cold, hard cash for a piece of plastic and fabric made by some 8 year old in Bangladesh - and directly before me, in all their redolent glory, were several masks. They had that new plastic smell - you know the one, when you've surreptitiously tried on a kid's mask and the temples pinch, and the nose doesn't fit so you can't breathe, and the lips and mouth hole are ridiculously ill-suited for anything but attempting unsuccessfully to whistle - that slightly carcinogenic aroma.

Of course there was Batman, that tortured soul, practically the patron saint of Halloween. Spiderman. Some tiaras for princesses. A stylized witch - as if the princesses I've met weren't far more sinister and unwelcoming than some of the really cool crones I've been fortunate enough to encounter. Frankenstein, who most people ignore ever since plastic surgeons make more money than God and, well, I live in Orange County, California, and some people here have year-round masks surgically attached.

That got me to thinking about masks, and a comment that HedgeWitch once made on one of my posts, about masks (and mirrors being "almost as fascinating"). Thanks for the ear-worm, Joy - it noodles around all the bleeping time. Mirrors? Masks? What a rabbit hole...

So this week's mini-challenge is to write about masks. It can be theme related to Halloween, or not. Heck, or mirrors, if that's preferable to you, but throw me a sop and include a mask reference if you do.

Here's a W.B. Yeats poem, The Mask, in the public domain, linked at the website Famous Poets and Poems. He's one of my favorites (The Second Coming helped establish my world view back in college, but that's a story for another day.)

The Mask by William Butler Yeats
'Put off that mask of burning gold
With emerald eyes.'
'O no, my dear, you make so bold
To find if hearts be wild and wise,
And yet not cold.'

'I would but find what's there to find,
Love or deceit.'
'It was the mask engaged your mind,
And after set your heart to beat,
Not what's behind.'

'But lest you are my enemy,
I must enquire.'
'O no, my dear, let all that be;
What matter, so there is but fire
In you, in me?'


And here's an excerpt from Charles Bukowski's poem, His Wife, The Painter, linked at Poetry Soup in its entirety.

About church: the trouble with a mask is it 
never changes.

Were I an academic and this were class, I might ask - so does it change? If so, how? Why or why not? But I'm not.

And of course, please post your poem in Mr. Linky, and please reference a link back in your post to the prompt here at IGWRT, and most certainly, please do visit your fellow mask bearers and wearers, leaving comments as you see fit. I've linked early so that y'all can have more time to weave your spells.

Thanks again to Kerry, our gracious host, for this opportunity.

- Michael, aka grapeling


22 comments:

Heaven said...

Thanks for the interesting challenge M ~

Wishing you all Happy Weekend ~

Grace

Kerry O'Connor said...

Thanks for a great challenge, M. I love the poems you shared with us by way of example too. That Bukowski - what a turn of phrase he has!

Mama Zen said...

That picture is just priceless!

Fireblossom said...

Cool beans.

hedgewitch said...

Fantastic challenge, M--seasonally apt, and a great subject never far from my brooding thoughts. Will try to get my computer to continue working, and respond.

Björn said...

For once I link an old poem I wrote for trifecta on the subject of mask.. hope it's ok... If not please excuse me.

Susan said...

Hey all! This is a fun challenge which I will do again someday now that I have the plus and minus catalogue out of my head. So many different directions popped into my mind. Have a great Sunday and a good week.

Sumana Roy said...


Thanks for the great prompt....and a very Happy Sunday to you all friends

manicddaily said...

M--I'm afraid I was very directly inspired by your own poem to the point of doing a rondeau with an odd enjambment--I hope you do not mind--the subject is different, and mine has elephants - but yours did get me thinking of something so I'm very appreciative. It's a great topic - I have old mask poems but was glad to try something new. and the rondeau also new to me or at least new since last Thursday--thanks. k.

manicddaily said...

M--I'm afraid I was very directly inspired by your own poem to the point of doing a rondeau with an odd enjambment--I hope you do not mind--the subject is different, and mine has elephants - but yours did get me thinking of something so I'm very appreciative. It's a great topic - I have old mask poems but was glad to try something new. and the rondeau also new to me or at least new since last Thursday--thanks. k.

Margaret said...

Squeaked this one out last minute - hope it is OK I revamped an old poem of about two years ago.

Margaret said...

I prefer Yeats over Brukowski, Loved your tale of seeing the temptations at a child's level... priceless!

sharplittlepencil.com said...

Late to party, glad to get one in there on a busy pastor-wife Sunday... and it was #750 for my blog!

Michael, thanks for hosting! I even found a way to work the Wordle in. Happy Monday to all who read this. Amy

grapeling said...

I'm so very pleased and grateful for the strong group of poems, every one of them insightful, illuminating, and reflective. Thank you all for participating in the mask challenge. ~ M

Kay L. Davies said...

And, sneaking in after midnight, we have the Wicked Witch of the West herself, with a centuries-old mystery perfect for the prompt.
Busy weekend...ran around Saturday, rested to recover Sunday, posting this in the wee hours of Monday. All the better to bite you with, my dear, as the wolf said to Red Riding Hood (apropos of absolutely nothing).
K

grapeling said...

Kay, my comments have been swallowed on almost all of blogger this morning. A proper mystery (your subject, and the comment disappearance, except your poem is much more satisfying). Thank you for sharing ~ M

Hannah said...

Thank you, M!! Sorry I'm so late to the party! :)

L. Edgar Otto said...

Me, too Hannah... got to fix main PC and phone too small to type... But I thought these ideas naturally followed the issues from the previous prompt set, my watchtower one. Will read all but no comments, just archive. Thanks.

Jinksy said...

Saw this challenge a bit late - but remembered something I once wrote...

Painted Lady

By tradition a clown has a painted smile.
Can somebody paint one for me?
Inside I am crying to ease the pain
which no one must ever see.

My everyday face needs a mask for the world
for my sadness may not be set free.
So I ask once again for the smile that I need,
can’t somebody paint one for me?

grapeling said...

Hi Jinksy - Thanks for joining the challenge.

Quite the plaint for paint ~ M

Lolamouse said...

Finally posted a poem! Only 3 days late too! The new job is really messing with my muse!

purplepeninportland said...

Good prompt. Mr. Linky and I are on the outs, so you can find me at: http://purplepeninportland.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/masking-it/