Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Word List with Grapeling - Day 30 NaPoWriMo 2014

In a pot, so the gopher didn't get it.

We reach April's end.

Showers were promised, perhaps to rinse the stench of 30 consecutive days of raw poems published without heed to clinging dirt whence they were dug. Of course I speak of myself, as I found the some-thousand pens I read this month (and many more comments, if fewer by me) to be alternately inspirational, melancholic, funny, chilling, grandiose, brilliant, sweet, stoic, emotional, raw, polished - but overall, authentic. (The pens, not my comments. I need new synonyms - Roget's is burned up by now.)

Originally I was thinking to bring Rainer Maria Rilke back into the garden. He is frequently cited and much admired, but fortunately chief Toad, the inimitable Kerry O'Connor (Skywriting, Skylover) chose to highlight him a few days ago as the inspiration for Open Link Monday, with these famous lines:
You ask whether your verses are any good... This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? 
I invite all visitors to read her post and the comments, and, of course the offered poems and those comments - contributing where you can, and when you must.

As honored guest and contributor, the brilliant poet Brendan noted in those comments:
Rilke was perhaps the only poet EVER to entirely exist upon his writing of poems -- never taught, had any day job, nothing but writing poems. Few can live even close to his example. A god? Perhaps, but certainly a bell on Sunday ever reminding us of this love, this task, this burden inconsequential to everything else a human exists for. Who else can we address such things to except the poets in each of us, and the ancient one deep down inside who bid us Write?

However, despite popular acclaim and a vote of ones, I've chosen a different road on this final day of National Poetry Writing Month (which I follow both here in the garden, and at Maureen Thorson's blog, NaPoWriMo 2014.)

I look forward to those who voted in favor to highlight M. Rilke (Herr Rilke?) for a future challenge (Helen, Shay, Hedgewitch, Margaret).

from wikipedia, fair use

Instead, as your inspiration for the final day, I proffer an old chestnut: The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, first published in the US for the princely sum of $2.00, on 6 April, 1943 by Reyanl & Hitchcock (with questionable license to do so), later by Harcourt, Brace, and World. (Currently, 1943 editions range in price from $15 to $1,600, with an original signed copy fetching some $32,000 last year.)

Saint-Exupéry disappeared in a Lockheed P-38 Lightning on 31 July, 1944. (My father learned to fly in a P-38 as a Lieutenant in the VNAF, and gave me my first copy of the book (in French) sometime around the age of 9. That he disappeared in France for a while before returning to the US near the end of his life, is neither an echo nor a comparison to Saint-Exupéry, but, remains a curiosity to me. My two sons loved the book when I read it to them in the closing minutes before bed - as my 15 year old just reminded me, when he asked me what I was doing.)

The Morgan Library and Museum in New York just concluded a 3-month run of exhibits, lectures, films (one with Gene Wilder as the Fox), and a (canceled) concert in celebration of Le Petit Prince.

The "official" website The Little Prince notes that beginning in May 2014, there will be a month long celebration at Olympian City in Hong Kong.

Our diminutive ami remains a best-seller, trailing only Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities and Tolkien's Lord of the Ring series, per wikipedia, in total global sales. (I mention this because of my fascination with numbers.)

He gets under the skin of some. Others take it a bit further

fair use
To me, he represents whimsy, curiosity, the willingness to question authority, the spirit of exploration, flowers and planets and elephants and snakes and the inherent flexibility of points of view, and how I continually forget that to remain child-like in outlook is infinitely preferable to becoming a ledger entry. 

And so when I return to the pages, it's as much as to remember what was, as to remind me to continue to invite wonder.

For your word list challenge today, I ask that you write an original poem (or re-work an older pen) in the spirit of the book, using at least 3 of these words, post to Mr. Linky, and then return to visit and comment on all the other posts. I'll be sure to visit periodically in the days to come in case you choose to join later.

The list: primeval, adventures, grown-ups, clad, reputation, ephemeral, flower, lucky, poison, stars, bank, forget, odd, million, reflective, trouble, baobabs, silence, naive, explorer.

"All men have the stars, but they are not the same things for different people. ... You-- you alone-- will have the stars as no one else has them--"

Thanks for playing along, and congratulations to everyone who tussled through NaPoWriMo - and to those who didn't, too.

~ M


Anonymous said...

This turned out to have nothing at all to do with the little prince... But thank you for a great prompt and for the challenge!

Kerry O'Connor said...

I have so enjoyed reading your post, M. It is always interesting to me to see how books weave their way into the lives of so many people, taking on special significance, like the stars, we have our books as no one else has them.

Anonymous said...

Hey Michael-- great prompt. I have been stuck on a last poem for the month and this actually was the spur I think I need. I love st. Exupery-- sorry on phone-- I work not terribly far from the Morgan and saw the posters but was too busy over the last months to see it! Agh! But I once was able to handle a couple of his letters which was incredibly exciting to me. I also love the book. Thank you. I will not read your till I get mine up which will probably be late tonight or early tomorrow am . Meaning after midnight but will try for earlier. Thanks again to you and Kerry and all the toads. K.

Sumana Roy said...

Thanks M for the nice prompt...

Susan said...

Wow, Grapeling, you write a little like Saint-Exupéry here, with the loops and visits that lea us to your love. I enjoyed the read and the association which immediately leapt into my mind and wouldn't let go--something to do with Micah 4:4.

hedgewitch said...

I remember reading this in high school French class, in French, and being so happy a) I could understand every word, and b)that it was what it was, how all the words were simple and yet sang in a sort of prose that became poetry through content and idea, the best kind. Love the prompt, but don't know if I am capable of doing it honor today on the last day of Burnout in April--if not, it will show up later. Wonderful choice, M.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I can't resist a baobab.

Margaret said...

Not my best effort - but it is the last of the 30 day challenge which I somehow did… Off for a few days to celebrate our 24th anniversary - will be finally albe to catch up on my commenting - but I won't be posting any new poem for a few days.

Thanks for the challenge and the introduction to a new book I need to share with my children.

Kerridwen said...

Synchronicity! I just wrote a poem mentioning Rilke a few hours ago! I love Rilke, and his Letter To a Young Poet contain so many amazing quotes. Love love love. I also love The Little Prince, having read it both in French and English, and finding the poetry tantalising. It also has such amazing quotes that never leave me. Thank you for this! I will be linking very soon :)

Hannah said...

This made me SO happy!! Thank you M!

Congrats to all PADers and's been a wonderful month and I have much gratitude for all the inspiration and support.

Kerridwen said...

No edit button? His LETTERS, not letter!

Susie Clevenger said...

What a delightful challenge for this final day of NaPoWriMo. I am so behind on reading others work, but I will catch up!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks-- I am late I fear, but up. k.

Grandmother Mary said...

I know I'm late but I re-read the book and pondered on the list until now. Great article, M.