It’s poetry month again!

 

I’m doing GloPoWriMo / NaPoWriMo again this April, since I had such a great time of it last year.

It’s kind of fitting that I’m at a writer’s retreat this weekend. So I’m looking at the Alps (above) from my hotel room window, but I’m thinking about my life back in Sydney because I’m doing this writing course about memoir.

This poem came from the GloPo prompt, which was to write a poem in the style of Kay Ryan, the US poet laureate from 2008-2010. According to GloPo a Kay-Ryanesque poem is: short, tight lines, rhymes interwoven throughout, maybe an animal or two, and, if you can manage to stuff it in, a sharp little philosophical conclusion. (I actually think a lot of my poems work out like this anyway, so this wasn’t too big a stretch!)

My course prompt was to write using your special knowledge of something. I thought about the walk I used to do everyday from home to school along a straight street, listening to my music. Then, a few years later, my walk from home to work along another long, straight street – Wilson Street in Newtown/Redfern – usually listening to Elephant by the White Stripes. At the end of this walk, one morning in Februrary 2004, I passed through the aftermath of the Redfern riots over the weekend.

Plus – the added bonus of spoken word! (link below)

After today, I’ll put this explanatory stuff at the bottom, underneath my poems. Enjoy!

 

Elephant

 

the steps I took

to walk to school

were only mine

no other fool

could walk it as I did

listening to songs

my footsteps

tapping along over

concrete where

my name was scratched

several times

then

on another tread

the street beside

the railway tracks

where at the end

the bricks

did meet

and clash terrible

while

I

(and Jack & Meg)

strode on by

with our nice lives

 

 

Soundcloud link: https://soundcloud.com/user-808707280/elephant

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9 comments

  1. The Fool card suggests a way of walking to and through in a harmonic which is here yet more essentially the speaker’s where, wherever that elsewhere be. Walking to one’s own beats, on streets washed clean by song. Glad you offered this to the Imaginary garden!

  2. Oh, those lovely walks home from school. A mile in rural Nebraska. Of them I have memories, some still laughable, others made me cry at the time. I hated it when the big kids ran away. They knew, my cousin and one other big kid would rescue me.
    Your writing seminar sounds wonderful, such a beautiful setting. Mrs. Jim and I spent three vernice days in January, 2025 at Sydney. If I ever run away Sydney will be my stay again.
    I’ve noformal courses in writing. My text was “The Poetry Repair Handbook” by the ex Poet Laurate of Nebraska.
    Thank you again, best wishes on the next twenty-nine.
    ..

  3. I must have another look at Kay Ryan! Didn’t like her stuff on brief acquaintance, but this spare style is actually very effective. Lovely little sting in the tail too. (I’m an Aussie, so I get the implications of the Redfern riots.)

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