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.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Tuesday Platform

Source


Late October 


Carefully
the leaves of autumn
sprinkle down the tinny
sound of little dyings
and skies sated
of ruddy sunsets
of roseate dawns
roil ceaselessly in
cobweb greys and turn
to black
for comfort.

Only lovers
see the fall
a signal end to endings
a gruffish gesture alerting
those who will not be alarmed
that we begin to stop
in order to begin
again. 

There is something about poems by Maya Angelou that stir my soul and my muse from time to time. Greetings poets, wayfarers and friends, it's a beautiful day here and I am looking forward to reading poetry with a cup of coffee.

If you have any thoughts to share, ideas you wish to release into the wild or a world view to express, then you have come to the right place. Please share a poem of your choice and enjoy the company of your fellow scribes. 


SHARE * READ * COMMENT * ENJOY

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Micro Poetry ~ Notebook Poetry

The object of this challenge has always been to write a poem of between one and twelve lines, in a form of your choice, but for the month of October, I would like to expand on this idea.
First, as it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am doubling the number of lines.


@skyloverpoetry

Back in August, I felt inspired to begin a new project, one that would take my poetry to a different platform. I did something, which for me, is quite out of my comfort zone... yes, I ventured into the world of social media and opened an Instagram account. Since then, I have been rediscovering some of my own poems, and I have fallen in love with "notebook" poetry. It has reminded me of how I first began to write my words down with a pen on paper, rather than as I do now, wholly in a word document. It had got to the point that a poem didn't gel for me unless I saw it developing on my monitor in Georgia font! Now I am taking my time, using a nib pen dipped in ink, and even illustrating a few pieces. This month is known as #inktober on Instagram where today's prompt is "Breakable".

I wondered if I might inspire others to return to the comfort of pen and paper. I do not expect you all to rush about looking for an ancient bottle of ink (like I did) but I would love to see a photo of your work written in your own handwriting, or some kind of graphic presentation of your poem.

This is not a stipulation of the prompt... merely a request. Let us all remember the joy of the process!




Thursday, October 18, 2018

Get Listed: October Edition

Source

Colors burst in wild explosions
Fiery, flaming shades of fall
All in accord with my pounding heart
Behold the autumn-weaver
In bronze and yellow dying
Colors unfold into dreams
In hordes of a thousand and one
The bleeding
Unwearing their masks to the last notes of summer
Their flutes and horns in nightly swarming
Colors burst within
Spare me those unending fires
Bestowed upon the flaming shades of fall."
Dark Tranquility, With the Flaming Shades of Fall  


Greetings poets, wayfarers and friends, as Autumn sets in I am reminded of the album Skydancer which is the debut studio album by Swedish melodic death metal band, Dark Tranquility. "With the Flaming Shades of Fall" is a particular favorite of mine. There is something incredibly distinct and nostalgic about the way this season carries the human spirit forward as we welcome change and prepare to start afresh with a clean slate.

For this "Get Listed" edition, I want you guys to come up with your own brief creation. Please keep your poem under 150 words. Choose any four words that fit best with the mood/theme/personality of your poem on a topic of your choice.
  • lucid                    fiery                  twilight               silhouette                     despair
  • touch                   plunge                frost                   goldcrest                      wind
  • sleep                   colour                 aspect                murmuring                   coffee
  • gravel                  leaf                    october                branch                          notes

Good luck sketching, honing, and naming your masterpiece. I look forward to what you guys come up with. Please do visit others and remember to comment on their poems. Have fun!🍁

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Tuesday Platform

William Allingham (1821 - 1889)
                                                       
 A Day-Dream's Reflection 

Chequer'd with woven shadows as I lay
Among the grass, blinking the watery gleam,
I saw an Echo-Spirit in his bay
Most idly floating in the noontide beam.
Slow heaved his filmy skiff, and fell, with sway
Of ocean's giant pulsing, and the Dream,
Buoyed like the young moon on a level stream
Of greenish vapour at decline of day,
Swam airily, watching the distant flocks
Of sea-gulls, whilst a foot in careless sweep
Touched the clear-trembling cool with tiny shocks,
Faint-circling; till at last he dropt asleep,
Lull'd by the hush-song of the glittering deep,
Lap-lapping drowsily the heated rocks


Welcome to another Tuesday of sharing! This is where you can poem any thoughts or ideas for our eager eyes and ears. Please share a piece of your choice and don't forget to read and comment on the writings of your fellow scribes. I look forward to reading you and wish you all a wonderful day! 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Fussy Little Forms: Tritina

Hello, Toads! October being upon us, the first month of the last quarter of the calendar year. Which really has not much to do with the short poetry form I’m proposing that we try today, the TRITINA.

Tritina is the more compact step-sister of sestina and villanelle, two forms that I (you?) find difficult! But somehow in this shorter version it seems manageable. Could be I’m wrong, but let’s try anyway. Tritina was invented by the American poet Marie Ponsot, who says about strict poetry forms:

“The forms create an almost bodily pleasure in the poet. What you’re doing is trying to discover. They are not restrictive. They pull things out of you. They help you remember.”

I love this and feel the same--but it’s so good to be reminded as I’ve been a bit distant from my poems and my remembering lately.

So the rules of tritina are as follows. It is a ten-line poem with three tercets and a final line, featuring three repeating, non-rhyming line-end words, like this:  
1-2-3
3-1-2
2-3-1
The final line contains all 3 words as 1-2-3
The tritina does not have a required meter, but it is generally thought that tritina should have a consistent meter or rhythm throughout to emphasize the repetition and musical-refrain quality of the verse. The single end line is a conclusion, so tritina can be similar to a sonnet in that a turn can happen between lines 9 and 10.

Here is a wonderful example by David Yezzi: Tritina for Susannah

And here is a tritina by Marie Ponsot, so beautiful, called “Roundstone Cove.”

The wind rises. The sea snarls in the fog
far from the attentive beaches of childhood—
no picnic, no striped chairs, no sand, no sun.

Here even by day cliffs obstruct the sun;
moonlight miles out mocks this abyss of fog.
I walk big-bellied, lost in motherhood,

hunched in a shell of coat, a blindered hood.
Alone a long time, I remember sun—
poor magic effort to undo the fog.

Fog hoods me. But the hood of fog is sun.

--Marie Ponsot, from Springing, New and Selected Poems

Marie Ponsot, American poet, born 1921
Ready? Let’s try tritina! 1-2-3 and go!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Wordy Thursday with Wild Woman: Un-Fairy Tales

Original source of picture unknown


In 2011, Kerry created a prompt titled Un-Fairy Tales. I love the whole idea of rewriting those old tales and  thought you might enjoy it, too.  I asked her if it was okay to repeat it. She said yes. Yippee!



So, my toadally awesome friends, choose any fairy tale you wish and re-write it. Give it a better or worse ending, switch it up, make it current, or write a new one of your own. The prompt's wide open. Have fun!



Title: Into the Woods
Magazine: Vogue US September 2009
Model: Natalia Vodianova
Photographers: Mert Alas & Marcus Piggot


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Tuesday Platform

Source

Wheels of baled hay bask in October sun:
Gold circles strewn across the sloping field,
They seem arranged as if each one
Has found its place; together they appeal
To some glimpsed order in my mind
Preceding my chance pausing here --
A randomness that also seems designed.
Gold circles strewn across the sloping field
Evoke a silence deep as my deep fear
Of emptiness; I feel the scene requires
A listener who can respond with words, yet who
Prolongs the silence that I still desire,
Relieved as clacking crows come flashing through,
Whose blackness shows chance radiance of fire.
Yet stillness in the field remains for everyone:
Wheels of baled hay bask in October sun.
- Robert Pack, Baled Hay


Welcome to the Tuesday Platform, the weekly open stage for sharing poems in the Imaginary Garden. Please link up a poem, old or new, and spend some time this week visiting the offerings of our fellow writers.

SHARE * READ * COMMENT * ENJOY


Saturday, October 6, 2018

Camera / FLASH 55!

It is time to strike a pose with our photographic challenge for October.


Lines Meeting (1932)
Pierre Dubreuil



This challenge comes with a wide angle and any filter of your choosing.

As an added extra to this challenge, you may write a Flash 55 inspired by the photograph, or on a subject of your choice, as we keep the memory of Galen alive, and send our love and support to Hedgewitch, during her time off from hosting.


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Artistic Interpretations - A Whale of a Tale


For deeds of true valor... we may safely point to the life of a whale man and dare the whole world to produce a parallel!

Can you imagine this is all you had beneath you
as you pursued a whale?
Bravery and valor are not words to be used solely for sailors, but I've toured a few schooners and such, a replica of the Santa Maria, boats I shudder to think having to spend one night on in a calm and  gently rocking ocean, let alone weeks or months - not to mention endure storms of any kind.  I really can't think of anything that would need more bravery than whaling.

I know the oil gotten from these gentle creatures was/is important in our world and as I often do, I think of the beauty of these creatures and can't imagine harming them.  However, I would like for us to contemplate what products came from these huge beasts and how they helped make life better for humans.  Think of the people of Alaska and other countries that relied upon them to survive - harvested them without waste.  Or if you prefer, think of the waste and how humans have not honored these creatures.

I visited Nantucket, Massachusetts this past summer and walked through their whale exhibit.  Nantucket today is a very fancy and expensive place to live (I admired a mere $35,000,000.00 summer home from afar)... but back in the day it was a whaling town.

We poets here in the Garden live all over the world and I'd love to pull together a poetic narrative of what whaling once meant to native people and the cities/countries that all border the ocean in one way or another.  Or think how the products made it to the inner parts of the world ... how they changed lives.  Perhaps you have toured a coastal town with a link towards whaling (or fishing - I could accept that) like I did in Nantucket and would like to share it with us.  Perhaps you have a family link / heritage you can explore.  Perhaps you live in or near a town that is steeped in such history and you are a walking encyclopedia and are bursting with information.  If the focus isn't whales, perhaps something else related to the ocean or sea?

Perhaps you own an artifact or trinket from the whaling past and can write about it in a poem?

Have you read a good book about whaling?  (Of course Moby Dick comes to mind... but I don't put that in my category of "must reads" - sorry, I haven't ever been able to get past the first few pages)  But perhaps you can put it in a compelling poetic format ... or another book about the sea and bravery.

Or... you can just give me a "Whale of a Tale"... one that rivals the amazing tales told upon such ships to while the time away... to keep haunts and superstitions at bay?

Perhaps you want to write to one of the photos I have supplied... poetic non-fiction or fiction.

You may also want to google "Scrimshaw" and write to one of the many images carved on whale teeth (ivory).  Truly gorgeous artwork!

You may supply your own photos if you have them or use mine for inspiration.  Consider linking us to websites that can further educate us... or take us in a completely different direction and surprise us.  After all this is Artistic Interpretation!

Please post, visit and comment on Mr. Linky below.  I will be traveling over the duration of this prompt, but I will try and visit and comment if I can get my hands on a computer.  Otherwise I will visit each of you when I return!  Thank you.

Note: I've been having trouble posting my comments to many of your blogs.  I can't even get the chatroll to appear from IGWRT's.  I've spent over an hour commenting this past weekend (and Monday - Wednesday) realizing most weren't going through.  I hope this all works itself out soon - I have this love/hate relationship with computers... ugh. Has anyone experienced this?  Will it straighten itself out soon as I have NO idea who to contact with this problem.   I HAVE been trying to comment on the IGWRT's poems. 

Spermaceti
Spermaceti was gotten from the large cavity in a sperm whales head.  It was used for lighting, lubricating machinery, and candles.  This spermaceti came from the sperm whale that washed ashore in Sconset on Nantucket in 1999 and is displayed in the Gosnell Hall.  (below)

This was a young whale - take a look at the size of the boat used to harpoon adult whales and haul them to the big ship! And those harpoons on the wall don't look that big to me but I'm sure they were sharp... 
An image below of what it was like...



Sailors and others loved carving whale bone:

Victorian Lady - Scrimshaw Tooth


Adam - Scrimshaw - Whale Tooth












Eve - Scrimshaw - Whale Tooth

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Tuesday Platform: Sing a song by way of ...


.....  and to whet your appetites, a dynamic selection to savour, before we get down to business.





Ode to Hope
Oceanic dawn
at the center
of my life,
waves like grapes,
the sky's solitude,
you fill me
and flood
the complete sea,
the undiminished sky,
tempo
and space,
sea foam's white
battalions,
the orange earth,
the sun's
fiery waist
in agony,
so many
gifts and talents,
birds soaring into their dreams,
and the sea, the sea,
suspended
aroma,
chorus of rich, resonant salt,
and meanwhile,
we men,
touch the water,
struggling,
and hoping,
we touch the sea,
hoping.


And the waves tell the firm coast:
'Everything will be fulfilled.'

Pablo Neruda




So welcome to Tuesday - 

Here is the platform for you to sing your song - share one of your poems, as per your choice. Choose from your repetitoire and Link up with the system and then, pop back around in the next few days and see what fellow poets have shared. Comment and appreciate in the community.

Happy Poeming\Penning People!



Saturday, September 29, 2018

Physics with Björn: Gravity and Space-Time curvature

Hello all, today I wanted you to inspire you again with a bit with Physics.


Or maybe scare you… he he.


For those that remember we did cover the theory of special relativity a while ago, and we had some cool poems on its consequences and the concept of space time. Today I want to mention the general theory of relativity.


From his early successes Einstein continued to develop his theory of general relativity where he tried to add the concept of gravity.


The theory up till this point had been proposed by Newton and could actually explain everything we can observe. It can predict satellites, postulate the presence of undiscovered planets, worked well with missiles and ballistics. So, Einstein’s struggles with the very complicated math involved was to start with more a cool exercise of combining all theories into one. So to start with it was more a set of equations with some pretty cool predictions that wasn’t possible to verify until way later.


One of these predictions was that gravity could be seen as curvature of space-time. If this sounds wacky this what I thought at first too. But effects of this curvature has been seen.


Since light has no mass, normally it would be expected that light would be unaffected by gravity, but if gravity affect space and time itself also light would be affected since the straight path that light would normally take would bend.


This has been seen as an effect when light from a faraway start passes close to a massive object such as black hole (yes that is strange too) it will bend from its straightest path.


So today I would like you to think of things like black holes, space-time curvature and gravity, and come up with a new poem that have at least some connection to the theme.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Wordy Thursday with Wild Woman ~ Earth Grief

A statue in Berlin, by Isaac Cordal 
entitled "Politicians Discussing Global Warming"


The topic of climate change is on our minds and on the news these days as never before.  Floods, hurricanes, wildfires, a heating planet, melting poles:  Mother Earth is struggling desperately under the heavy load of human and corporate demands. Those of us who are aware may be carrying what I call"earth grief" as a result.



This past summer, the whole world witnessed the grief of the mother orca, Tahlequah, whose calf died soon after birth. The mother orca carried her dead calf on her head for seventeen days, with assistance from her pod, in an unprecedented display of grief felt around the world. 

This pod of orcas, who live in the Salish sea, at the south end of Vancouver Island, is starving for lack of salmon. This was the first live calf born since 2015. She lived half an hour. Over-fishing, contamination from fish farms, toxins, warming seas and boat traffic are imperiling their survival. 

WE are doing this, with our relentless and voracious demands on a struggling planet.

It is our task, as poets who love all life, to put our pain, our fears and our hopes into words. Using as many or as few words as you need, write about earth grief / climate change in general.
or

Pick one facet of the planet's struggle and give voice to it: wildfires, elephant massacres, extinctions, plastic garbage dumps in the sea, dying coral reefs, grieving mother orcas - whatever you are most moved by in this moment. 

or

If this is too depressing, write your poem about the beauty of the natural world, all that you hold dear.

Let's sing our pain and our love to our suffering Mother Earth.

I look forward to reading your offerings.




Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Tuesday Platform

Life is so unpredictable. We are here one minute and the next thing you know we are packing our bags and moving to another place. Greetings poets, wayfarers and friends, it's a beautiful day here and I am really excited to be travelling back to my home country. Below are a few pictures which I thought would be fun to share with you all.
Frere Hall, Saddar Karachi
Mohatta Palace Museum, Clifton Karachi

Bagh Ibne Qasim Park, Clifton Karachi


Somiani Beach


And if you think the scenery is good wait until you try the food! Local delicacies such as briyani, chicken korma, haleem, nihari, and kheer are just a few that come to mind.

I must confess there are a million thoughts running through my mind, I am reminded of 2014 when I left home and moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, due to unsafe city conditions, little did I know that in a few months I would be stepping into the world of Poetry and would be writing my first poem.

Fast forward time and two years later I entered into the vibrant city of Kuala Lumpur, as I recall a dear friend and fellow poet said; "From desert to tropics" smiles. It was here that I continued my poetic journey and it was here that I evolved, and it is from here that I head back and take you guys along with me. I am so happy!

If you have any thoughts to share, ideas you wish to release into the wild or a world view to express then you have come to the right place. Please share a poem of your choice and enjoy the company of your fellow scribes. We look forward to reading you and hope you have a wonderful day! ❤️

SHARE * READ * COMMENT * ENJOY

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Weekend Mini Challenge: A Rainbow of Sonnets


Welcome to the Weekend Mini Challenge with Kim from Writing in North Norfolk.

We haven’t had a sonnet prompt for a while and I recently discovered a beautiful one by Sylvia Townsend Warner, who was born in 1893 and died in 1978. Although she's best known for her historical novels, Warner was also a poet. 
Image result for sylvia townsend warner
Image from Wikipedia
This particular sonnet struck me because of its exploration of the colour blue in the first stanza and the emotions expressed in the shorter second stanza.

‘To no believable blue I turn my eyes’

To no believable blue I turn my eyes
Blinded with sapphire, watchet, gentian,
Shadow on snow, Mediterranean,
Midsummer or midwinter-moonlight skies.
Unstained by sight, unravished by surmise,
And uttering into the void her ban,
Her boast, her being – I know not a man!
Out of all thought the virgin colour flies.

After her, soul! Have in unhaving, peace,
Let thy lacklight lighten upon thee, read
So well thy sentence that it spells release,
Explore thy chain, importune suns to cede
News of thy dark – joyed with thy doom’s increase,
And only by distinction of fetters freed.

Sylvia Townsend Warner

This weekend I would like you to write a NEW sonnet based on a colour of your choice. It could be your favourite colour, a colour that has a special meaning, a seasonal colour – it’s up to you. The challenge is to write it in two stanzas: in the first, explore the colour and in the second, express emotion(s) awakened by the colour. It can be a classic sonnet or a modern sonnet.

Join our rainbow of sonnets by clicking on Mister Linky and filling in your name and url – not forgetting to click the small ‘data’ box. And please remember to read and comment on other toads’ poems – otherwise they’ll be blue.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fireblossom Friday : Say The Word

English is a funny language. A lot of it came from other languages, and some of those words retain their foreign sound. Some remain foreign and not strictly English at all, but are used much in the manner of "Voila!" Moreover, some of them roll off the tongue very poetically, it seems to me. Even without knowing what they mean, they just sound cool. Add the meaning, and it's pretty much nerd heaven. 

What I want you to do is to take one of the following words and build a poem around it. Don't just jam it in some place where it sticks out like a sore thumb. Make the word you choose central to your poem. I think we may get some interesting results. Write, link, enjoy!

The words:

1. Schadenfreude. (German) The experience of joy, pleasure, or self-satisfaction that comes from the learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures or humiliation of another.

2. Bete Noire. (French) A person or thing that one particularly dislikes. 

3. Sturm Und Drang. (German) Storm and stress.

4, Saudade. (Portuguese) A deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves.

5. Mox Nix. (German) Bastardization of "Es macht nichts", used by American GI's in WWII Europe to mean "It doesn't matter" or "It makes no difference."  Some of them brought the phrase home with them.

6. Fahrvergnugen (German) Driving pleasure. Used in 1990 ads for Volkswagen automobiles. "Say the word!" I got the whole idea for this post from listening to a tape I made of songs off the radio from around 1990. Amid the Howard Jones and Toto songs were ads featuring "Fahrvergnugen" (for VW) and Joe Isuzu, not to mention Tubby's Submarines "No Place For Wimps." So I ran with it.



Form, length, subject? Mox nix, baby. Just get writing. :-)




Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Tuesday Platform

bukowski
Charles Bukowski
the flesh covers the bone 
and they put a mind in there 
and sometimes a soul, 
and the women break vases 
against the walls 
and the men drink too much 
and nobody finds the one 
but keep looking crawling in and out of beds. 
flesh covers the bone 
and the flesh searches for more than flesh.
there's no chance at all: 
we are all trapped by a singular fate.
nobody ever finds the one.
the city dumps fill 
the junkyards fill 
the madhouses fill 
the hospitals fill 
the graveyards fill

nothing else fills

By Charles Bukowski


Greetings to all poets and friends and visitors….from a ‘still-clutching-to-summer'-London, UK!
As one of my favourite Tv shows  proclaims, “Winter is coming!”… and yes, there’s a definite crisp chill in the night air - so all the more reason to warm up with lots and lots of poetry.
This is we where we eagerly wait to discern your dreams, visions and pearls …as you cast them forward. Feel free to share your poem and please, don’t forget to read what your fellow poets have been up to.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Weekend Challenge: Resistance


Tina Modotti, "Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in the May Day Parade, Mexico City, 1st May 1929"


Years ago I read a couple of lines of poetry by L.S. Asekoff which has lingered in my working mind, like tones of a darkly resonant bell:  "Avoid what tempts,/ move toward what threatens." 

As poetics go, it's a word to the wise: You are often fooled by what you think you know best. Resist such certainties in order to go deeper, to get to the heart of the truth.

Implicit in the notion of resistance is that the best—the pièce de résistance, so to speak—is yet to come. We must avoid the temptation of completion; our poems are ever only in their latest draft. There is always another room in that dream.

Temptation is an idea old as the hills, or at least the Garden of Eden with its serpent-woman conundrum. Humankind was perfect until tempted with that shiny sweet-looking apple in Eve's Venusian palm. Succumbing to the desire for immediate reward, we did the one thing we weren't supposed to do—taste of the tree of knowledge—and got ourselves evicted from Paradise. Original sin is the failure to resist. (And the temptation, patriarchs, comes from within.)

But what of poetic resistance? What aesthetic temptations do we indulge at our peril? I am at my creative worst when indulging in short cuts, old tropes and redundancies—easy solutions which usually wreck me offshore of the sublime. There's a rote voice in my ear, ticking off in iambic pentameter, dictating the old soundtrack by which I write the same poem every time—damn! How did I get back on that same old singsong bangagong Muzak track? I've become Swinburne, swimming naked in tidy couplets; Keats without the urning, pocket Ginsburg howls without untidy burning.

Mailer once said you should never fall in love with your own writing, because when that happens it means you're writing crap.  But how are we to resist the very lamp leading us through the labyrinth? That's quite a rub. In his poem "Man Carrying Thing," Wallace Stevens tells us that the poem must resist the intelligence / almost successfully."  That "almost" is the qualifier: we are writing, right? We are chained to medium and imuse. Resist too much and you're blocked, silent, dead, turning to the TV or the daily Sudoku.  And however much you try, resist, revise, remake, remodel, you never know if your work is any good. Ever.

Resistance is a way of not going too easily or heedlessly into one's Voice. There's a sequence: first the apple of temptation with its immediate satisfying result, and then there's the greater thing which comes of refusal, patience, waiting, and cultivation. Then finding what's behind the found and the known. The secret country, the hidden paradise we can't see, can't sing, because our next sentences are too chained to their first.

Jack Gilbert lived and wrote this way, refusing the easy career for one largely of isolation and near-poverty, getting close and closer to the insides of his words. He published a book a decade in his 40 year career, taking all the time in the world to get to the truth.  This, from Gilbert's poem "Tear It Down":

We find out the heart only by dismantling what
the heart knows. By redefining the morning,
we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
We can break through marriage into marriage.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond
affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars...

Can resistance become a habit, a way of chasing words almost successfully?  Rilke wrote in one of his Letters to a Young Poet: "...If only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience."  To Rilke, the very face of beauty can only be revealed in the shadow of its alternate, the one turned toward death. How else are we to fully appreciate the rose window, the blushed secretive smile, the angel singing above the grave?  In his late masterwork series "Sonnets to Orpheus" and "Duino Elegies," affirmation and triumph are found down a long road of resistance.

But here's the rub: Such an astringent is not readily or headily applied. Ever. I am constantly fooled by softer, easier ways of resistance—suburban approximations of Eden at best. The result is neither hallowed or harrowing.  You can liken it to the dialogue about resistance we've been hearing in American politics these past few years. Midterm elections are approaching, primary election results indicate that the #MeToo movement is mounting an effective resistance to the hard-right politics of Donald Trump. There has been a surge of women for office, and more than half of them running have won their primaries. If your sympathies go that way, your Facebook feed is garnished with Resistance memes.

Last week, an anonymous senior White House official penned a op-ed for the New York Times about a quiet internal resistance against an elected President of no moral and scant mental capacity. She or he wrote that the real business of the Republic was being carried on behind his back, keeping the country out of war and criminal debacle by diverting the nation's business from him. An immense flood of comment and critique has arisen from all sides. Is such resistance traitorous? False? The secret oath of every Republican in love with present policies despite the man? Cowardice? Pragmatics of the Fall? Et cetera.

The best thing I've read on the topic (and very germane to this challenge) came from Teju Cole, photography critic for the New York Times Magazine and Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard. He compared our current cadres of Resistance on both the American left and right as carrying on too much in the disembodied squawkbox of social media. He compares that the legacy of the French Resistance during the Second World War, where the stakes were bloody, merciless and real:

... A dangerous commitment to resistance made by hundreds of thousands, tens of thousands of whom died in France alone. For a spell in the early ’40s, whenever the members of the Resistance killed a Nazi, the Nazis would execute 50 innocent French; an unspeakable calculus, but it did not stop the Resistance (its Communist wing in particular) from killing Nazis. It was a terrible time. The Resistance recognized that what was as stake was not just political power but also human dignity, which, all question of tactical efficacy aside, the resisters saw as nonnegotiable.

This history looms each time the word “resistance” is evoked in the current American political crisis. It judges the triviality of our responses. The sacred word has been made banal, its intensity dulled. The triviality is not in the predicament — so many have died here already, and many more will die — nor is it in the serious work being undertaken by so many people far from the spotlight, but in the voices of those who set the public tone. How I long now, on behalf of America, for Beckett’s aridity, for Melville’s gloom, for Stéphane’s desire to bear witness, for a sobriety of affect that matches the enormity of the crime. How are we to live in this? How are we to inhabit the principle behind the word “resistance” when the meaning of the word itself has changed so much?

Refuse a resistance excised of courage? Refuse the conventional arena and take the fight elsewhere? Refuse to eat with the enemy, refuse to feed the enemy? Refuse to participate in the logic of the crisis, refuse to be reactive to its provocations? Refuse to forget last year’s offenses and last month’s and last week’s? Refuse the news cycle, refuse commentary? Refuse to place newsworthiness above human solidarity? Refuse to be intimidated by pragmatism? Refuse to be judged by cynics? Refuse to be too easily consoled? Refuse to admire mere political survival? Refuse to accept the calculation of the lesser evil? Refuse nostalgia? Refuse the binary of the terrible past and the atrocious present? Refuse to ignore the plight of the imprisoned, the tortured and the deported? Refuse to be mesmerized by shows of power? Refuse the mob? Refuse to play, refuse decorum, refuse accusation, refuse distraction, which is a tolerance of death-dealing by another name? And when told you can’t refuse, refuse that, too? (Teju Cole, "Resist, Refuse." New York Times Magazine, Sept. 8, 2018)

Sorry to belabor the quote, but Cole I think gets to the deepest sense of resistance. How much are we willing—no, adamant—to refuse in the name of living and loving more genuinely, more truthfully? Are we citizens not only of nations, but of a world with an ecology with vastly different purposes than suburban blight, than cities of night? And beyond politics, how does resistance inform our poetics? Resistance nails the crucial difference between a hobby and an art. It's the difference between today's revision and tomorrow's, between a hollow trope and a newly arrived truth. Do you write because you like to, or because your existence as a soul on earth depends upon it? What temptations bar the way, and how many of them are you willing to sacrifice?

In French tradition, the chief dish in a meal is the called the pièce de résistance—
"the best or most exciting thing," usually the last in a series. We have to work through the quotidian and stereotypical, the bland and the wrong to arrive at the heart inside the heart of the matter.

For this challenge, write about resistance. Resist the theme, struggle with it, go down with it, come back with what saves you. Resist your poetic, your politics, your body's politic in love, your failure and death. What temps you to say nothing, or worse, too little? Conversely, why does poetry matter? What can it alone say to the world? 

What is your pièce de résistance—the poem you can't live without? I mean for today ...

Viva la Resistance!