Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Personal Challenge Number Three!

Hello, dear Toads, and welcome to Personal Challenge Post Number Three. My challenge was provided by Grace/Heaven, and despite its relative simplicity, I managed to muck it up, as you’ll see below. But welcome to my post, in all its convoluted glory.

Grace’s challenge was for me to write two poems, in sonnet or cinquain form. I’ll spoil this right up front and tell you that I ended up writing three sonnets. (Argh.) You might remember that I wrote cinquains with great fury a while back, and I seem to have burnt myself out on the form. Plus, I find sonnets extremely challenging, so I figured I should really take on Grace’s challenge for what it is: CHALLENGE. Sonnets!

For the first poem, Grace asked me to choose among the recent work of a fellow Toad (as Michael/Grapeling has previously challenged her), and write a response that may be totally different or showing a different point of view. I decided to respond to a poem by dear Susie Clevenger that particularly struck me. Susie’s poem is called Fist Held Verses. Please click through and read Susie's wonderful, inspiring poem. My response is a Kyrielle sonnet:

She Wishes to Loosen the Verse-Grip
Now that you’ve fairly exorcised
every Demon courting you last
night, last week, or yesterday’s lies,
as if your Verses could surpass

The reality of your Truth,
virtue spilled on the page, forecast
cold with a chance of where-are-you
in the simpler Time just gone past

Your prime, your Words resonating
but flying, coming very fast,
sketchily approximating
the Saddest years, already passed

Like yesteryear’s iconoclast,
you stay stuck, scribbling down the Past.

The second part of Grace’s challenge was for me to use the title of the poem Metamorphosis by Sylvia Plath or get inspiration from her work to write a response. Here is where I messed up: though Grace helpfully provided me with a link to the poem to which she wanted me to respond, I unhelpfully did not notice said link, and responded to a wholly different poem. Did you know that Sylvia Plath has TWO poems with "metamorphosis/es" in the title? Well, now you do.

So I wrote another Kyrielle sonnet for poem number two, responding to the very beautiful poem Metamorphoses of the Moon by Sylvia Plath:

For Sylvia, By Moon-Light
In a wish for barren Night
or light or want of foresight,
unbelieving she’d be seen
between the Moon and a dream,

Unleashed, her callous fervor
set lust against lust once more,
but more is not what it seems
when begging the Moon for dreams.

Too soon her spit uncovers,
flits away from Light, lovers
& Night indulgence to breathe
where the dampish Moon meets dreams--

She might wish for simple dreams,
but Moon-dreams aren’t how they seem.

(Actually, the above poem has seven-syllable lines and the Kyrielle requires eight. I claim poetic license.)

Thinking I was all finished, I was reviewing Grace’s challenge over the weekend and discovered her link, to a different poem. Eek! So, I decided it was my own tough luck and wrote a third Kyrielle sonnet, responding to the poem Metamorphosis by Sylvia Plath, as Grace intended:

Unspeakable Pleasure
& In the longest, coldest month,
you’d assume sustenance within,
but she relied on amaranth
to absolve her plentiful sins--

If frozen Heart, still immortal,
caught wind of any beats human,
it lunged like a cur, distorted,
not minding tending many sins

Born in sullen February,
grown in a Crucible of wind,
nurtured amber’s never wary
of her temptation, boozy sin--

Much tragedy, unfading in
a Month of cold and ample Sin.

The title of the above poem refers to a poem called Bereavement by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Don’t ask how I made these connections, because I really don't think I can explain. But, whew! My challenge is (more than) complete.

We do not provide a Linky for personal challenge posts, but if you are crazy enough to be inspired to write sonnets, or are inspired by any other part of this long, long post, feel free to write and share a link with us in the comments. I promise to visit you if you do. And if you are still reading, thank you so much for indulging me. Love & XO, Marian


Jim said...

You had fun, Marian. Probably you won't hear from me again on this but Kudos(!) for Marian !!
I will read the two Metamorphous poems but not tonight. Sylvia had a hard life, what there was of it. She is my kind.

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, Marian, you are amazing. And your circuitous route to Shelley is equally amazing but ever so very you.
I would say you did all Grace asked of you, and more, with variations.
Luv, K

Grace said...

WOW, 3 sonnets dear Marian ~ I am very impressed with choice of rhyming words~

On the first poem, I specially admire the ending couplet:
Like yesteryear’s iconoclast,
you stay stuck, scribbling down the Past.
Lovely tribute to Susie's work ~

Now I didn't realize there were two of the same name ~
On the second poem, your passion shows very clearly:
Unleashed, her callous fervor
set lust against lust once more

And again that ending couplet:
She might wish for simple dreams,
but Moon-dreams aren’t how they seem.

And the third poem: stellar title and particularly these lines:
but she relied on amaranth
to absolve her plentiful sins--

You make it look so easy but writing sonnets are SO challenging ~ Thanks for the time and effort of responding to this personal challenge ~ Goodness, you have raised the bar on writing sonnets so beautifully ~

Kerry O'Connor said...

I feel so very privileged to be allowed such insight into a writer's process, and dedication to her art that this post allows. I take my hat off to you for really accepting the challenge part of this feature and choosing the more difficult form. This is after all how we progress as writers - by expecting more of ourselves than others do.

The Kyrielle sonnet is made all the more tricky with the recurring lines, but you have wrought the 'rules' to your own poetic vision and produced 3 amazing poems - all different and so unique. Through all shines the voice of Marian Kent. I shall not pick a favourite, but carry them all with me through the day.

Susan said...

WOW! Marian-multiplied and Marian-in-conversation with amazing poets bring three of the more amazing sonnets I have read in present day--poets/women living on the edges of reality and creation. I will be back to read these more than once. You know I LOVE sonnets, and your craft and diction lift these to extraordinary!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Marian, what a ton of brilliant work you did rising to this challenge and soaring right off into the stratosphere. I am in awe (and very scared of what my challenge will be - be kind, whoever you are, the neurons are not firing well this winter!)

Your response to Susie's beautiful poem is wonderful. My favourite is the second poem, especially "more is not what it seems in begging the moon for dreams." Sigh. Exquisite!

Susie Clevenger said...

Marian, first of all I must say a humble thanks for choosing my poem. That last line struck me with so much truth. My past does pour from my pen at times. I exorcise my demons through ink and by rubbing elbows with such talented poets I find a new voice risen from my ashes.

How brilliantly you have responded to the poetry of Sylvia Plath. You took Grace's challenge full on and such beauty came from it. I must agree with those who have spoken before me I so love the ending to the second one..."Moon-dreams aren't how they seem"

Marian said...

Susie, your poem is so inspiring. To me, it is a cry of relief for allowing words, stories, truths to come out, instead of harboring them inside. I was trying to respond from a different place, that of fatigue from all that, and sometimes wishing to go back inside, to become numb again, to not feel, to release the burden of the pen, for relief.

My favorite is the second poem, too. Imagine my horror when I realized it was a response to the wrong poem. Oh, well.

Thank you all for your kind words, and especially Grace, for this fun and challenging challenge. xoxo

Gail said...

A bang-up job you've done. I couldn't even begin to do that well.

Good writing to all.

Ella said...

Marian wow, you really stood up to this challenge! So many great lines I actually felt the gravity of some of your words pulling at me. I love begging the moon for dreams~
Grace you brought out the best in Marian-she shines!

Bravo Marian, you really raised the bar! (hugs)

Helen said...

I love how you ended this (extraordinary) post with ... 'if you are still reading' ... how could we not be? What an incredible job Marian! I've just returned from a few days away and trying hard to get back into the swing of all things poetry. I'll get there.

kaykuala said...

That's great,Marian! You've very bravely taken up the challenge with flying colors. Sonnets have not been easy for me. I've tried a simple one here to follow your challenge:


Margaret said...

Oh, yes. That poem of Susie's is amazing. I really like how you wrap you thoughts around and don't' end with each line. Perhaps that isn't new to sonnets, but this poem flows, careens really, feels free. I guess that is what happens when we confront and air out our past.

Sonnets can often be flowery and sappy - but these have grit and I feel like I'm reading a personal page from a journal.

You caught a mood that I now equate with Sylvia Plath, beauty wrapped with desperate longing.

The third poem fascinates - from the title all the way to the delicious description of February.

Well done! Your efforts are being applauded!! (add a few whistles :)

Lolamouse said...

Wowza! Three gorgeous sonnets for the price of one! I especially love the middle one. "Between the moon and a dream" is a gorgeous line, and I love how you repeat it in each stanza in a slightly different way. Bravo!

Kir said...

I don't know how to respond or where to start.
All the poems spoke to me on a different level and as it is with your words, I felt some pieces of them ..
"Lust against lust"
and the second poem struck a cord with me because I am in a cold, passionless place right now. In between grief and I was born in February. I always feel like it has a burden to my own emotions, having the sunshine in my heart but being a child of the winter.

I can't read your words without feeling, on an enormous level, feelings I was not even aware of.
These three poems were no exception.

hedgewitch said...

I am impressed with your application and seriousness here, Marian. I certainly hope when my time comes I don't have to face this kind of intensely specific and demanding challenge--there's no way I could write anything meaningful to all that body of others' work--Susie's poem was a wonderful choice, though, and you responded to all of them really well.

Marian said...

thanks, lovely friends, for reading and for your lovely comments. much appreciated. xoxox

and now who will be next to be challenged? bwah hah hah!

Anonymous said...

sorry for the late response, marian and Grace.

first, marian, my favorite is the third, but that's only because I'm February born :)

you've fashioned several memorable lines - virtues spilled on a page; lust against lust; and the final couplet in the 3rd poem - each fit like hand in glove internally to the piece, and to the prompt poem.

Grace, you were mean as me! :) And Susie, that initial pen is wonderful.

looking forward to the next PC ~

Hannah said...

Brilliant work and I love how richly you rose to the challenge...your second is striking to me especially the title. Awesome work, Marian!

Marian said...

thank you, lovely people. xoxo