September 8th, 2009


Poetry Fishbowl Open!

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open! I will be checking this page periodically throughout the day. When people make suggestions, I'll pick some and weave them together into a poem ... and then another ... and so on. I'm hoping to get a lot of ideas and a lot of poems. (The permanent landing page for the Poetry Fishbowl project is here.)

In this online version of a Poetry Fishbowl, I begin by setting a theme; today's theme is folk tales. I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme. Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems.

EDIT: The Poetry Fishbowl is now closed. Thank you for your enthusiasm.

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Fly Free

Poem: "The Moon in a Silver Cup"

Here is today's freebie poem, courtesy of a prompt from jolantru. It is a true story. Sometimes the old tales are made new again, for they live in us and we give them shape through our lives.

The Moon in a Silver Cup

Old were the folktales,
Sweet on my lips as honey,
And when he said to me,
“What do you desire?”
I could not resist.

I said to him,
“Bring me the Moon in a silver cup,”
Thinking him wise enough
To know the old answer to the folk riddle.

Instead he brought me a coin –
No larger than my thumbnail,
Minted with maria on one side
And wee words on the other
Telling its own tale –
A coin struck from silver
That had flown around the moon.

And my heart overflowed.

Call for Cosponsors: "The Cuckoo's Song"

From a prompt by marina_bonomi I got the couplet-rhymed ballad "The Cuckoo's Song" about a faery wife and her mortal husband. This poem is partly sponsored with a call for cosponsors going out. Sponsors so far: marina_bonomi, janet_miles, and dormouse_in_tea.

96 lines, Buy It Now = $48
Donations so far = $48
Read the whole poem in this later post:

Here is the free sample from the beginning of the poem: Here are the verses that have been sponsored thus far:

The Cuckoo’s Song

A young lord went riding through hills rolling green,
As lovely a land as he ever had seen.
Then softly a song touched his ears and his heart,
More comely than any of his minstrels’ art.

      What song is that song in the meadow I hear,
      That’s ringing out boldly, so sweet and so clear?
      I must find the singer and rest my own eyes
      Upon the fair source of this wonderful prize!

A maiden danced there with her hips all a-sway
Beneath a green gown that proclaimed her as fey.
The points on her ears were as sharp as a sword
And lightly she bowed to the mesmerized lord.

      O suitor, O suitor, what’s this that I hear?
      You want a good wife for the span of a year?
      Last night as I walked from our hill to the down,
      I heard it three times – it’s the talk of the town.

The young lord was halted and pulled from his course
And, dazed, he dismounted and strode from his horse,
‘Til square in the space of her dancing he stood
Between the high hills and the low river-wood.

      Your song is the song in the meadow I hear,
      That fetched me here boldly, so sweet and so clear.
      Fair maiden, it’s true that I seek for a wife,
      Yet I have no wish to be tied down for life.

Long feathers she wore in her hair, brownish-grey,
And sweet was her voice as the dawn of the day.
Then gently she took the young lord by the hand
And laid him upon the soft bed of the land.

      O suitor, O suitor, it’s this you must hear:
      I’ll be your good wife for the span of a year,
      And you must swear likewise to raise as your own
      What child I bear for you, after I’m flown.

His head was so muddled, he scarcely could speak –
Her hands and her lips make him feel strangely weak –
But gamely he swore he would do as she bade
And raise up the child of his faery maid.

      Your song is the song in the meadow I hear,
      That fetched me here boldly, so sweet and so clear.
      We’ll get a priest later to do what is right,
      But now let us love in this warm summer light.

For three months they lived as most newlyweds do,
And hopped into bed soon as each day was through.
Then early one evening she turned him away,
And when he reproached her, she softly did say:

      O husband, O husband, it’s this you must hear:
      For I am with child in fall of the year.
      Go fetch me some eggs and some beef and some ham
      For my belly swells and it’s hungry I am!

The young lord ran off to go fetch what she craved
And all those nine months, how he worked and he slaved
To bring his dear wife what she asked for each time –
Rare spices, and rich meats, and fruits in their prime.

      Your song is the song of our family I hear,
      And gladly I answer, so sweet and so clear.
      Good wife, here’s the salt and the sausage and cheese;
      I hope you’ll stay full … for five minutes, dear … please?

She ate her lord out of his house and his home
Until through the cold, empty pantries he’d roam.
Then one day she summoned him back to her side
And told him to saddle his mare and ride.

      O husband, O husband, it’s this you must hear:
      Your child is coming, it’s that time of year!
      Go down to the village for their midwife now –
      And while you’re out, bring back a goat and a cow.

The young lord rode down to the village in haste
And brought back the midwife with no time to waste.
He fretted and worried; he paced ‘round the room
Until a new cry pierced the grey morning’s gloom.