Stretching toward tedium, I look out the window.
Squirrels run across the stones outlining my flowerbed—
pieces of petrified wood that hold ancient secrets,
old stories that rattle with feather and song.
Thomas Little Shell looked out the hole of a sweat lodge where his friend
walked toward an aspen grove before the edge of sight.
Thomas blinked and a deer was there, blinking back at him.
It lifted its chin toward Thomas, then vanished beyond the grove.
Pieces of petrified wood carry lost stories and whisper
against the rain of forgotten years.
I am the stones that line my garden. I am Thomas. I am the deer.
It is April and it rains all day.
Mary Oliver wrote of rain. and stone. and deer.
I remember holding her tree filled with stars.
I am the stars. I am that tree. I am Mary Oliver. I am rain.
I am dreaming. Away from this garden, I fly. Above
this poem rising from petrified forests morphing into deer
where squirrels give chase to stories past my window.
Brenda Warren 2016
Notes: The block announces itself whenever I sit down to write. Today I tackled it with an old prompt that I first used in 2011. It’s strangely convoluted, and grappling with it this morning was both arduous and fun. Of course, I took plenty of liberties with it.
If you feel so inclined, take the prompt and give chase. Let me know if you do. I’d love to see what it helps you produce.
1. A feeling
2. Observe the scenery of your immediate surroundings
3. Personification of an inanimate object
4. Use a metaphor
5. Spend four lines recalling a prominent memory
6. Use symbolism in a statement
7. Associate some form of weather to the feeling in #1
8. Tell a lie, about anything
9. Make a reference to a holiday or season
10. State a fact about a favorite artist or poet
11. Compare yourself to a specific piece from the artist/poet you used in #10
12. Negate the lie you told in #8, or further support or restate it
13. Describe a daydream or parts of a dream you’ve had
14. For the last two lines, refer to a vacationing location
I’m also writing at Elizabeth’s place this month, where she has been providing helpful daily fodder.