Monday, December 16, 2013

Rodak's Writings: a Poetry Challenge Successfully (?) Engaged


Yesterday, a Facebook friend and fellow poet named Gail Wolper issued a poetry challenge to a set of her friends. That challenge was to compose a poem, consisting of four stanzas, in any style, based on the prompt, “earth air fire water.”  I immediately remembered that I had already written a poem with that title and went to my files to see if I could use it to meet the challenge. Upon finding the poem, it was evident that it consisted of only two stanzas. I briefly considered trying to make those two stanzas into four, but saw almost immediately that this strategy was not going to work. The original poem is here:

Earth, Air, Fire, Water

Were it all only forms

of fire-laced mineral—

creatio ex nihilo

there’d be no one at whom

to bitch—no one to please—

no one from whom

to hide…

Yet supposing one needed

to have a Whom—

My Whom I would imagine

to smell much like you

in the mounting morning


moving mimic

of the sea.

Having realized that I would either need to start from scratch and compose an entirely new poem, or would have to drastically revise the existing one, I chose the latter option.  This is what I came up with:

Earth, Air, Fire, Water

Were it all only forms

of fire-laced mineral --

creatio ex nihilo--

there’d be no one for whom

to yearn—no one to please --

no one toward whom

to strive …

The roiling clouds of dawn --

dense in their blackness --

could only vent their wet

against flanks

of enervated stone--

its mute indifference

a mockery…

The lightning flash

would ignite vast stands

of tethered timber

that sacrificed

their fragrant vapors

to a faceless void

sans appetite or nostril…

Yet posit there a lonely I

who needed to have a whom—

I would imagine that whom

to smell much like you

in the mounting morning

—tidal—moving mimic

of the Sea…

So, gentle reader – which version do you prefer?