Blood Will have Blood: Response to Reverie Six

14 Feb

Hello again. If this is the first post you see from me today, my regular posting is a couple of hours earlier, with attendant prompt.

I am posting in response to Joseph Harker’s ‘bloody Vikings‘ exercise. And, he’s not kidding: there are body parts and blood all over our part of the cybersphere. The least frightening part of his instructions says: You should be able to read your poem aloud and feel the music of waves crashing on rocky shorelines, storms overhead and a roar building in your throat. That’s the goal, at least.

Process: I think if I had to write the first one from scratch, you would not be hearing from me. I went back through drafts and found one whose topic seemed to suit this form. Then, upon advice, I went for the alliterations. I tried, gamely to keep syllables roughly within bounds, have what I think are caesuras, and have lifts [although not necessarily where they should be].

What I know is that now I can try one from scratch. And I shall be able, maybe, to include the all-important kennings.


The Changing of the Guard: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

On a grey ghost day || a gull flown day,
crowds wait, stand silent || the only sound stillness.
Black birds fly over || wheel back in formation
for soldiers unknown || to stillness surrendered.


Yes, I do encourage everyone to throw themselves into the exercise[s] [all of them]. I am learning so much about writing, just from my attempts. Read the whole and do what you can. We will be all over the place in our abilities to do the exercise, but it will be great to see how we each do.


Posted by on 14/02/2012 in exercises, poetry, writing


Tags: , , ,

22 responses to “Blood Will have Blood: Response to Reverie Six

  1. MiskMask

    14/02/2012 at 12:06 pm

    I would try it, Margo, but I have no clue what he’s saying. I re-read his instruction twice; didn’t know up from down, so I tottered off to the kitchen and baked a cake.


  2. wordsandthoughtspjs

    14/02/2012 at 1:01 pm

    Show off!!! 🙂 This is really good, Margo. (I need some aspirin, I am going to the pharmacy). Seriously, seeing what you have done has possibly helped me???? Be looking for an email in the next few days with a big help note attached.


    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 1:03 pm

      I’ll be here, Pamela. I’m not convinced I know what I am doing here, though 🙂

  3. viv blake

    14/02/2012 at 2:22 pm

    I think you’ve done a great job. It even seems like a poem to me! Which mine absolutely doesn’t, but I went through the motions.

    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 2:57 pm

      Thanks, ViV. That’s partly because I tend to cling fiercely to poem first form after. I’ll be interested in what J says, as I can’t tell what I have/don’t have, except vaguely.

  4. The Happy Amateur

    14/02/2012 at 2:36 pm

    I like the solemnity of it very much, I think you’ve captured the spirit of the place and the ceremony. I took my kids to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier last summer, and I’m very glad they got to see the changing of the guard.

    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 2:55 pm

      Thank you, Sasha. We were there this fall. I love how silent everyone remains even while waiting. We were about half an hour early and during that half hour not a single person spoke and not a single phone rang.

      • The Happy Amateur

        14/02/2012 at 3:28 pm

        We were not that lucky…remember all those monuments to the cities-heroes that lead to the Tomb? There were people from one of those cities visiting, and they thought it would be appropriate to sit on those stones, hug them, and have their pics taken..This is an exception to the rule though. And the guard blew a whistle at them right away, and they stopped. Completely oblivious to what they’ve done wrong..

        • margo roby

          14/02/2012 at 3:33 pm

          It’s the oblivious part I don’t understand, even more than the action in the first place. What are they thinking!? Of course, they aren’t.

  5. Connie

    14/02/2012 at 7:08 pm

    EXCELLENT- I could hear the stillness- I could feel the reverence. You’ve captured it as a photographer captures a glimpse of a moment.


    I love reading through the comments and I think Miskmask’s comment was a winner!

    • margo roby

      15/02/2012 at 7:51 am

      Connie, Thank you! The stillness is what I remember the most about being there.

      When I do the rounds, reading comments is a huge part of the fun. Makes me wish we could all get together. Can you hear the conversation?

  6. b_y

    15/02/2012 at 8:56 am

    I see you have done what I wound up doing. Repetition. I like “stillness” on stillness.

    • margo roby

      15/02/2012 at 10:26 am

      My favourite part of the verse, that is. Playing with repetition is one of the things I love playing with most.

  7. Joseph Harker

    15/02/2012 at 10:02 am

    You talk about including kennings, but “gull-flown” gets pretty close to the concept, I think. 🙂 This is a dandy little fornyrðislag (that is just so much fun to type), with all the form and theme and image elements therein. You knocked the form dead, in fact.

    I think what might be confusing about the lifts is the comparison with stressed/unstressed… the lifts are more musical, which you can hear in readings of Beowulf or other epics. It’s less important to get the alliteration on the “strong” syllables than to just get them to stand out. (But I think you did fine here with that.)

    So… maybe one of the longer ones next? With more kennings? 😉

    • margo roby

      15/02/2012 at 10:24 am

      Never satisfied are you? Thank God 🙂 I understand the lifts but had not put the word musical to them. Of course, they are musical. Before I wrote mine I hunted down Tolkien’s stuff. The rhythm and musicality stand out.
      Thank goodness for gull flown. I was happy with that. I enjoyed this and love Barb’s second one. I may take that as a model and try something. Yes, longer. Kennings? Mmmmm. Maybe I’ll go look at what the American Indians called things not part of their culture. That would be good training.
      The viking thingy [easier than the f-wording, although, if I read it enough times I may shift over] is pretty cool. Any excuse to read Heaney’s Beowulf is good.

      • Joseph Harker

        15/02/2012 at 10:38 am

        I meant in Old English, like at this site. 😉

        • margo roby

          15/02/2012 at 10:52 am

          It’s a good thing you are, now how does Barb put it: a drop-dead-sexy-poet. Oh yeh, that’s not going away for a long time.

          However, I am heading back to the site to see what I make of it. Toad-child 🙂


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