Late in May I read a post from April Halprin Wayland describing a new form of poems she’d been writing. She called them “In One Word” poems. There was a puzzle-y aspect to the form (think Word Scramble) that immediately appealed to me. April’s linked post outlines her step-by-step description of the process, but essentially, to write an “In One Word” poem, you
- choose a word
- list words that you find within that word
- choose words from that list
- write a poem in which each line ends with one of those words
Not quite. I immediately began fiddling around with the form in my notebook. Initially, I got stuck on step one: Choose a word. It was hard! I wanted to choose the perfect word. But what was that? Did I want a word that annoyed me or one that was personally meaningful or one that held surprising words within it? Then, though I can word scramble with the best of them, constructing a meaningful poem from the resulting words added yet another layer of difficulty. Eventually, I put the form to the side for a while.
When I was faced with writing a Summer Poetry Swap poem in August for the mighty Tabatha Yeatts, I turned to this form again. This time the one word choice was easy: Imperfect
If you forever seek perfect,
you may instead discover a recipe
for dissatisfaction–a price
too high to remit.
But within imperfect is a permit
to take risks, light a fire
of creativity, to be bold and fierce.
When you embrace imperfect,
you set yourself free.
Then, this month Catherine Flynn suggested writing an “In One Word” poem for our challenge. Sharing the poem I wrote for Tabatha felt a bit like cheating, so I fiddled a bit more. Ultimately I decided to work with the word “gardens”, as mine have been such a source of comfort for me this summer.
Within my garden
A spider darns,
repairs its web, an intricate snare
for unwitting victims who dare
to cross the sea
of leaves and blossoms, to rend
those delicate threads, drag
them with feet and wings, and end
web-caught amidst the fragrant sage
bordering the garden.
Hmmmm…..Sometimes a poem moves in a different direction than you anticipate. So much for solace in the garden!
To see other “In One Word” poems, check out these blogs:
This week Carol Varsalona is hosting the Roundup at her blog, Beyond Literacy Link. Carol is a tireless poetry ambassador and nature enthusiast who, among other things, creates fabulous virtual seasonal galleries of photographs and poetry to share. She’s unveiling her Embraceable Summer Gallery with a few sensational highlights in her post and a link to the full gallery. Make sure to stop by and check it out!