Saturday, April 19, 2014

DAY NINETEEN!! "Free Verse" for 30 Poems in 30 Days" #NationalPoetryMonth

Today is FREE VERSE - let me say a few things before you just leap for joy and say - "Oh goodie, no format to follow." Well, that IS entirely true - Free verse has no set pattern of rhyme or rhythm, no rules about the number of lines or how to divide it into stanzas or verses . . . or not. Everything is up for grabs and so suddenly, "Free Verse" becomes one of the easiest and at the same time, one of the most difficult forms of poetry to write.

YOU are in charge - if YOU say it's poetry, then it's poetry. Once you have finished it - read it aloud and see if it flows. If not, you can make your lines shorter - or longer - or adjust things so that when you read it aloud it becomes like spoken music. THAT'S free verse. 

It can be heartfelt, silly, serious, educational, spiritual, sad or simply tell a story or relate a feeling. It can describe an object, animal, person, place or whatever you decide to write about.

Since there is no format - examples are endless. I'm going to be brave and share a favorite free verse I wrote years ago when my children were small and then I re-worked it about 7 years ago. This is one that I haven't shared much, at least not publicly - just with family and close friends. It makes me feel rather vulnerable to share it, but I really like it so here goes. PLEASE do not use it (even in a church lesson or something) without my permission. See email address when you click on "About Me" 

Dishwater Redemption

The house is quiet.
My husband and children are asleep.
The silence of the room is interrupted
Only by the sounds I make while washing the dishes.

As I pick up each dish and rinse away our dinner,
I am reminded of the meal we enjoyed together.
The chatter of the children as they spoke of their day
Lingers in my mind and I feel a sweet contentment.

I’m nearly done when I notice my well-used cookie sheet,
Standing at the back of the dish drainer;
Even though I have washed it thoroughly,
It really doesn’t look very clean.

The evidence of so many batches of cookies baked
Over and over again until it looks tarnished and brown.
When it was new, it sparkled and shined.
Now it is discolored and scratched.

And for some reason, tonight, this bothers me.
I take the cookie sheet from its resting place and
Plunge it back into the warm, soapy water.
But I am unable to rid it of the baked-on grime.

I reach in the cupboard for an S.O.S. scouring pad
And go after the suspect brown specks with renewed vigor.
I pay special attention to the inside corners of the cookie sheet.
This proves to be especially satisfying and I continue until it shines.

It has been reborn and I can see my reflection in it.
And suddenly, I realize… I am like the cookie sheet.
I’m not dirty by any means, but perhaps,
Not quite clean enough either; I have lost some of my sparkle.

Leaning against the sink I know what I must do.
I will take upon me the S.O.S. scouring pad of repentance
And work and pray hard to be shiny and clean,
Until the Savior’s image shows in my countenance.

I plan to keep my cookie sheet as bright as it looks today
And with a few repairs here and there, and a heart full of love,
I can do the same for myself, that I might be more useful
To those I share this earthly space with.

Who knew? Sometimes, there’s not much difference between
A neglected ol’ cookie sheet and a life too busy to notice
Some of the sparkle and shine has faded.
Yes, S.O.S. pads are a beautiful thing.

                                 ~ © Stephanie Abney 2007


Tanya Parker Mills said...

Loved your poem, Stephanie! Here's mine based on our recent move:


The boxes help incorporate
A kind of order to the waste
Compiled over years, and mounting
In closets, drawers, and dusty files.

Some boxes are for things that
Warm the heart and pull surprising tears
From eyes so tired of scanning
Possibilities on

Others help to cull the ever growing
Library of books that sag from disuse
Or abuse, or scream out, "We no longer
Belong in your collection!"

The rest are for the necessaries,
Even if they aren't;
Whatever fits will go,
And what does not will be released.

How do you pack a life?
In boxes, one by one.

Heidi L. Murphy said...

Please go here for my poem:

You'll like what you see, I hope.

Vicki said...

I really love your poem, Stephanie, it's wonderful!
Now here's mine, a day late!

As I contemplate the meaning of Easter
I consider all that occurred long ago
How our brother chose to save us
Because of His great love.

I know I can be with Him again
But I must do my part
By living my life as he did
My reward is Eternal life.

My family is eternal
And together we will be
Forever in His loving arms,
This is my greatest desire.

Heidi L. Murphy said...

I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this poem of yours, Stephanie. It's so homey and heartfelt. Isn't it a good thing we have that SOS pad to scour away our mistakes? Wow. So grateful.

Makenzie Abney said...

By: Makenzie Abney

There once was a man in a tree,
Who wanted to marry me,
He bought me a cat and a pretty purple hat,
And then he shouted, “Whoopee!”

The very next day,
On his Facebook page,
He found someone was married to me,

He ran to my house,
(With his ex- spouse),
And tried to brew jealousy