|The Shipwreck on Northern Sea|
Ivan Aivazovsky (1865)
Emily Dickinson (1830–86). Complete Poems. 1924.
Part One: Life
GLEE! the great storm is over!
Four have recovered the land;
Forty gone down together
Into the boiling sand.
Ring, for the scant salvation!
Toll, for the bonnie souls,—
Neighbor and friend and bridegroom,
Spinning upon the shoals!
How they will tell the shipwreck
When winter shakes the door,
Till the children ask, “But the forty?
Did they come back no more?”
Then a silence suffuses the story,
And a softness the teller’s eye;
And the children no further question,
And only the waves reply.
Shipwrecks were common in Dickinson's time, and in this poem she contrasts the joy that the storm is over and four people were saved with the sorrow that forty people lost their lives. Notice how Dickinson uses punctuation marks to emphasize feeling. The sombre tone in the final stanza is an appropriate response to the pointed question of the children. We seem to live in a society increasingly hungry for stories of other people's suffering, and often forget that individual lives are a part of those news headlines.
Thus, today's challenge is to write about what it means to be shipwrecked in our times, either literally or figuratively. You may choose your own point of view: are you a witness, a survivor, or one who will go down with the ship?
Wow--- shipwrecks is just about my favorite themes in poetry... I will not take one of my many previous ones but try to do something new.
Hey Kerry--thanks for cool prompt! k.
Sorry to have dropped the ball. Thanks for standing in for me, Kerry! The watery theme is especially apt for me right now, and of course I adore Dickinson. I will come back to this on the weekend!
Shay, hope you are well. Great prompt, Kerry. I am badly under the weather this week, but will see what I can do with this.
Kerry--I may post a prose piece if that is okay. k.
I have been so negligent her lately - I miss everyone here, truly. I think I am back on track and the last of the clutter and moving boxes have been cleared out and given away. I moved form 4000 sq ft to about 1600. I love it - had to purge and it feels great! Anyway, my kids are in school and now I just need to squeeze in working out every day (50 has come and gone and I need to lose a few pounds) but I want to devote time to writing poetry again.
So anyway, I stretched the challenges rules a bit... but I think I can shimmy under the bar. :)
Good morning, Kerry and thank you for an inspiring prompt. I salvaged some pieces of previously posted scribbles that got washed up on the beach and used them in this new poem.
I hope I'm not too late.
Late but I'm hoping our teacher will allow late work. It's also on for the Tuesday Platform.
A great prompt, Kerry.......
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