Thursday, September 28, 2017

Midweek Challenge-- Thinking of the Little Things

It’s become a truism (and a tired one) to talk of what a hard year it’s been, even for those in the world of blogging poetry.  Still, it affects us.  In the face of so much threat and bombast, sturm und drang, it can simply be hard to feel that anything nuanced or thoughtful or small (yet longer than 150 characters) has much a voice. This has sometimes brought me, and I’m sure many others interested in poetry, to a despair often coupled with the question, “why bother?”  

The only answer I can come up with: that, for many, writing, poeticizing, making art, is part of who you are.  Which means that the question also is why bother to be your fullest self?  And the answer for me, is that I am simply happier when I give the effort a bit of a shot. 

Still, even if you think you SHOULD make the effort to “bother,” that is, to go on giving writing poetry a shot, how do you actually do it?  How can you get yourself to get back into some kind of swing when you have fallen onto rocky ground!

For me, the answer is to focus on the little things, the moment-to-moment that is actually the “stuff” of living, the hum that makes up each day. I tend to the think that focus--which can sometimes help people get through major personal losses--can also help one’s wounded writing. 

By little things, I mean--a cup of tea drunk out in the sun, a flower that has bloomed later and longer than expected, marmalade.  (If you happen to like marmalade.) 

The “little things” can also be big things---a new baby, an act of kindness, a smile, the shape your body makes in the bed after you’ve lain in it all night. 

Because, of course, the little can also contain the huge.  As William Blake wrote in The Auguries of Innocence

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand 
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour”

Perhaps my favorite poet of small things is Pablo Neruda. (By the way, I am pretty sure that I’ve written about this very subject and about Neruda as a prompt before, but it still works for me so I hope it works for you! )

Neruda wrote a large variety of Odes--(Ode to Artichokes, Ode to the Smell of Wood, Ode to Broken Things) , one of the most famous being Ode to My Socks. which finishes with the lines

“The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.:

So, today, pretend for a moment that you are at a loss for something to write.  If you are me, you won’t have to pretend very hard.  Others of you may have to stave off one of your go-to themes. Then, think of a little thing, which may, of course, actually be colossal--or not--it may just be a little thing--and write an ode to it.  

Your ode can take whatever shape you wish, and it doesn’t have to include the word Ode in the title or poem.  (However, please try to do something new for the prompt.) 

And now, sorry for the pitch, but I have a new book out, which was one I have been sitting on for months, too depressed to just call done!  It is definitely about a little thing that is colossal--that is the love between dog and girl.  It’s called Doggone!  Or Sally & Seemore and the Escape from Flufferdom. Check it out!  And finally, sorry to be a little late posting!  And all the pics, such as they are, are mine.  Thanks so much for your patience!


Outlawyer said...

So sorry to be a little late getting this up, and thanks, I think, to Kerry, to putting in Mr. Linky. And sorry that it's repetitive of old prompts! So, sorries done! I look forward to seeing people's poems. k.

PS _ when I comment, I will probably comment as Manicddaily.

Vivian Zems said...

Thanks,Karin for the prompt. Delighted to join and congratulations on the book! I've written an ode to my car- I'd be lost without her!

Kerry O'Connor said...

A wonderful prompt, Karin. It's the little things that keep us going some days. I am very partial to the comfort of socks.

Angie said...

Karin, I adore the mock butterfly girl on the trapeze! I've put together a little something (or is it a big something?) like you said, it's the little also contains the huge. Thanks!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Congrats on the book, Karin. Dogspell is wonderful, and I imagine this sequel is another highly enjoyable read. Yay! Also, I love the prompt and I experienced one of those small moments this morning, an hour ago. Perfect!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on both book and a fab prompt. Off to see what little things I can find to write about.Back soon.

brudberg said...

I feel that whenever you feel at a loss for what to write you can turn to Neruda for inspiration... I remember writing ode to my briefs and to my jeans... I will sleep on this and come up with something.

Kim M. Russell said...

Congratulations and well done for both book and prompt! I will be looking up the book and linking up to the prompt!

Kay L. Davies said...

So wonderful—your poetry prompt and its very appropriate (to me) message. I've been completely unable to write poetry recently...and my recently is a long, long time. I love to see familiar names: Sherry, with whom I'm always in touch, and's been a long time, Kerry. Now, the least I can do is prove I'm not a robot, then give the whole idea of poetry another thought, keeping your prompt in mind.
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Outlawyer said...

So great! So happy to see you Kay! k.

Susie Clevenger said...

Great Prompt! Thank you!

Susie Clevenger said...

Oh, and congratulations on your book!!

Outlawyer said...

Thank you, Susie. k.

Magyar said...

a now thought
rains through my fingers
pencil's storm


Outlawyer said...


Gillena Cox said...

Nice prompt; posting late though

much love...

Alison H said...

just added a small thing. xx

Marian said...

Super late but... it's the little things I guess. :)

UplayOnline said...

So, sorries done! I look forward to seeing people's poems. k.