Heart and Soul: Tuesday Tryouts

14 Feb

7:24 a.m. — Atlanta

Happy Valentine’s Day, all. You were perhaps hoping I would ignore this particular theme as you are being swamped by cupids and hearts and red. In a way, I am. I am offering a challenge. I want you to write a love poem without using the word love, or any endearments. You may write to someone, or about the topic.

There’s more. Traditionally, a love poem is written in form. In fact, because love was considered that weighty a matter, that integral a part of life, love poems were, classically, written as sonnets, sonnets being considered the Queen of all forms. For those of you who love writing sonnets, have on. For those who think maybe I’ll try, don’t be constrained by the rules, rather work within them, as Keats will tell you. He wrote a sonnet with fifteen lines, once, and Shakespeare had the occasional eleven syllable line, where needed.

However, we have other forms to choose from. Many of you enjoyed writing idylls. If you think of love as place, metaphorically, you can write a love poem. An etheree, in the direction that unrolls from one to ten, or a double etheree, might be fun. For those who love repetition, a cascade would work, as would the quatern form being introduced by Robert Lee Brewer, on Poetic Asides. There is even a Viking form, you can try, over at Joseph Harker’s Reveries. Now, that might be a lot of fun. You have many forms to choose from… haiku? A haibun might be interesting.

If I still don’t have you, how about writing the poem to something instead of someone; or, make the someone from history, or the movies, or fiction.

If you don’t know where to start on such a vast topic, decide who, or what, you will write to, or about, first; list factors that cause your love, or thoughts on love. Remember to include specific details and sensory imagery, in which to ground the poem and the reader. Decide on format.

Don’t forget to post a link in comments so we can all enjoy the poems written. I am looking forward greatly to what you come up with and hope you have fun coming up with it.

I shall see you Thursday for announcements — send them along if you have any; Friday for the roundup; and next Tuesday, we are back to place.

Happy writing, everyone.


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


Tags: , , , ,

72 responses to “Heart and Soul: Tuesday Tryouts

  1. The Happy Amateur

    14/02/2012 at 8:19 am

    Margo, hi, what a great prompt! I’ll certainly be working on it.
    Have a very special Valentine’s Day, Margo! And Happy Valentine’s to Wordgathering!
    If you have a minute, visit me, I have some love music going on my blog, hope you’ll enjoy the song as much as I do. Always perks me up ๐Ÿ™‚

    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 8:27 am

      And a very Happy Valentines to you Sasha. I shall certainly visit. What a lovely idea.


      • The Happy Amateur

        14/02/2012 at 8:45 am

        Thank you, and thanks for visiting and the comment! Do you have Greek ancestors?

        • margo roby

          14/02/2012 at 8:52 am

          I do not, but Skip was posted to Greece twice. We lived 18 months in Kilkis [in the way north] and 18 months in Crete. Our son was born while we were in Kilkis.

          Skip and I both attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey and were fluent in Greek; at least, Skip was fluent and I was pretty good.

          • The Happy Amateur

            14/02/2012 at 9:04 am

            So interesting! Your comment about the resemblance between Greek and Turkish made me smile. My husband is half Greek, half Irish, and I would be careful mentioning this linguistic feature to the Greek side of the family. Although to an unprejudiced ear the similarity is probably obvious… The same goes for likening Russian to Czech… Goodness, why cannot we just all be friends?

            • margo roby

              14/02/2012 at 9:07 am

              I know, Sasha, right? We were fascinated the entire time we lived in Greece at the sabre-rattling between Greeks and Turks. We had to learn to keep our faces straight when a friend would say, in full belief: I can fight a whole army of Turks… with one hand tied behind my back.

            • The Happy Amateur

              14/02/2012 at 9:13 am

              I hope it’ll get better with time, as the world’s getting smaller, maybe the new generations will bury the hatchet.

              • margo roby

                14/02/2012 at 9:26 am

                I hope so, Sasha. I am very fond of both peoples.

  2. viv blake

    14/02/2012 at 8:58 am

    Thanks for this Margo – I was just about to immerse myself in Joseph’s Fornyrฮดislag….I may be some time. My first reaction was to give you my love story sestina, but I thought you might excommunicatye me.

    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 9:04 am

      Out into the snow and the cold, ViV. Immerse yourself and come back to me later.

      I’m working on Joseph’s whatsits [easier than finding the marks], at the moment. Have typed a draft, four lines, each with a caesura. It sounds fine until I read Joseph’s, or Barb’s, but as he says the criteria include: “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,” I’m not unhappy.

      • b_y

        14/02/2012 at 10:05 am

        I am almost invariably shocked at how bad my things sound aloud.

        • margo roby

          14/02/2012 at 10:09 am

          Alright, Barb, now I have to add “reading Barb’s poems aloud” to my day. I am curious.

      • viv blake

        14/02/2012 at 10:10 am

        I am (unhappy, I mean) with this ghastly attempt at Joseph’s Norse thingy: and that weird collection of percentages is what WordPress makes of that fancy delta sign.

        • margo roby

          14/02/2012 at 10:14 am

          ViV, can’t wait to see what you have. I may go ahead and post mine as in progress.

          The percentages is interesting, but having learned through the television drama Numbers that an algorithm can be written for everything, I am not surprised to see it.

  3. b_y

    14/02/2012 at 10:03 am

    I got to confess: This was for Poetic Asides’s love prompt on November 14, and I was working on it last week, too. It still isn’t right. I know it should be shorter. Don’t know if I should remove the strictly individual references, or if they add something.

    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 10:11 am

      Cunning woman. You noticed my threat to toss ViV into the snow, but as you are still working on it and not yet happy, then you’re safe. I’ll come over in a bit with my coffee in hand.

    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 10:38 am

      Hi, Barb! Am I supposed to end in a field of sedge?

      • b_y

        14/02/2012 at 11:29 am

        Sorry ’bout that. I was playing eith appearances and forgot the reset.
        Got started revising and lost track of time. Wound up clocking in late.
        Doesn’t “list” count as a form? Okay. I’ve got four hours at the audio tour desk, on a rainy Tuesday. Surely I can form up some love.
        Although, I do love the sedge

        • margo roby

          14/02/2012 at 11:32 am

          Absolutely, list counts as form, Barb, but the only thing I see is a photograph of sedge with a boy photoshopped in. What am I missing?

          I love lists.

        • margo roby

          14/02/2012 at 11:33 am

          Okay, this link takes me to the list and I am happily reading.

          I love sedge too.

  4. The Happy Amateur

    14/02/2012 at 10:40 am

    Here’s my attempt at a sonnet. I have no idea where it came from, but it did ๐Ÿ™‚

    ~Beware of the Sunset~

    The shadows turning long, the sunset nears,
    And leads the frightened night, she holds his hand,
    He lights the candle, takes away her fears,
    And on her finger puts a wedding band.

    The shadows dance awakened by the flicker,
    The eyes of night are dark, her pupils large,
    She hears the silence speak, her ears trick her,
    The words that ring: โ€˜betrayal,โ€™ โ€˜pricey charge.โ€™

    She will not listen, will not want to know,
    All that she knows and wants is solely him,
    The fire burns, the face of night aglow,
    The stars emerge to sing their glorious hymn.

    The sunset leaves, he does not say โ€˜adieu,โ€™
    She longs for him until the morning dew.

    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 10:51 am

      It just did!? Wretched woman — this is me jealous. I have written one sonnet; it took me three weeks, and even then it was not terribly good. Both my children can write sonnets on command. Jealous.

      I like how the poem sounds both older and modern.

      it just did… mutter, mutter…

    • viv blake

      14/02/2012 at 11:04 am

      That is excellent! I think I would change solely to only, simply because it’s easier to read aloud with the extra ell sound. But everything else reads beautifully.

  5. California Ink in Motion

    14/02/2012 at 11:10 am

    I have written many sonnets. But this one will suit your requirements. Happy Valentines Day

    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 11:17 am

      Good to hear from California ๐Ÿ™‚ I am on my way over.

      • California Ink in Motion

        14/02/2012 at 4:13 pm

        Yes, it’s been a while Margo, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Happy V. Day!

  6. Janet

    14/02/2012 at 11:19 am

    Thank-you Margo. I LOVE this prompt. and to the Happy Amateur.WOW! Very intense by what is not written:)
    Here is my attempt in Sonnet Form.

    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 11:22 am

      Janet, I love how excited you get. You, too, whipped a sonnet out that quickly, huh? Mutter…

      I’m on my way.

    • The Happy Amateur

      14/02/2012 at 1:10 pm

      Thank you, I’m blushing…happily. I had no idea the poem would take me where it did. It was fun ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Janet

    14/02/2012 at 11:20 am

    Oh and of course Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

  8. MiskMask

    14/02/2012 at 11:58 am

    Hello everyone. Here’s mine attempt at a sonnet. Hope you enjoy it!

    – Misky

    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 12:01 pm

      Okay, now everyone is showing off ๐Ÿ™‚

      Glad to have another sonnet. Thank you, Misky!

  9. wordsandthoughtspjs

    14/02/2012 at 12:49 pm

    Margo, came to see what was in store for us. Love poetry, but not mentioning love? I think Joseph’s symbolic frolic would work for this, what do you think? I am still trying to decipher Joseph’s viking prompt, ugh! Tomorrow I start a technical translation with my work partner for one of the automobile companies here. I need more hours in the day, dang!
    Well, I will see what I can come up with in a day or two. As always thanks for everything you do.

    Sasha, your poem is lovely. How did you do that so quickly?

    Feliz dia del amistad y amor por todos!


    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 1:02 pm

      Yep, Pamela, no love! Joseph’s symbolic frolic would be perfect.

      Something I found helpful with the viking thing was to go back and find an already written poem draft I thought might work, so I didn’t have to worry about coming up with something. That helped. And, Barb told me to get the alliteration in place first. I also tried to keep the syllables down. You will notice, I kept it short ๐Ÿ™‚

      Everything sounds lovely in Spanish. The same to you.

      See you in a couple of days.


    • The Happy Amateur

      14/02/2012 at 1:11 pm

      The kind of gal I am..thank you, Pamela!

  10. b_y

    14/02/2012 at 2:20 pm

    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 2:58 pm

      Syllables? Would I do that?

      You gave me a second poem even when I found the list. Thank you, Barb.

  11. Joseph Harker

    14/02/2012 at 2:56 pm

    I could dig through all the mopey and exuberant ones, or I could just toss up this one written for WWP today: Pilgrimage II: Mudra, for now. Perhaps one more specifically to this prompt will follow…

    • Joseph Harker

      14/02/2012 at 2:58 pm

      …and it’s not really in a form. You know what, just ignore this one. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • margo roby

        14/02/2012 at 3:02 pm

        Yes, I am laughing, Joseph. I shall ignore it, of course. I am not even slightly tempted to wander over and look at something you wrote, now that you have told me not to… the young are so gullible.


  12. markwindham

    14/02/2012 at 3:33 pm

    OK — no ‘love’, not terms of endearment, it is in a form, it is a love poem (sorta). All boxes checked. Luckily you did not say anything about it having to be good. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Your Eyes

    In your eyes is where I found peace,
    in that nervous exchange of vows,
    first wedded kiss at the alter,
    beginning of a lifetime dance.

    Through early years of life’s struggles
    In your eyes is where I found peace;
    financial struggles forgotten
    as you lay dreaming in my arms.

    New adventures with growing brood,
    hurry, scurry, racing the rats —
    In your eyes is where I found peace,
    as nights calm settled on our home.

    Age will surprise us when it comes,
    but one thing I will know for sure;
    when the end comes, I will know that
    In your eyes is where I found peace.

    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 3:58 pm

      Gee, Mark, and I thought that part went without saying ๐Ÿ™‚

      A quatern: nicely done. I love your refrain line. The repeating of it makes me feel increasingly peaceful.

      • markwindham

        14/02/2012 at 4:15 pm

        Alas, it is a cumbersome, ugly thing in its first draft. But, most of my attempts at form and/or ‘the lighter subjects’ usually are. Practice practice practice…..

        • margo roby

          14/02/2012 at 4:22 pm

          Most of my first drafts are that way, Mark. I have only become brave enough to post them with the advent of wordles and reveries. Okay, fine, second drafts, but still.

          I’m thinking, now that you have the form, you want to go back and look at tone of voice of the speaker, mood, and word choice. Just a couple of things, but they work together, so it’s hard to leave one out.

          • markwindham

            14/02/2012 at 4:32 pm

            Lets see…tone, mood, words…that’s pretty much everything in the poem. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, teacher.

            Off for some wooing. Getting out of dodge while the gettin’ is good. In other words, no one is looking.

            • margo roby

              15/02/2012 at 7:52 am

              Hope all wooing went well. Unplanned alliteration, but try saying that fast, aloud, three times.

              • markwindham

                15/02/2012 at 11:09 am

                It was good. We stay home rather than fight the crowds. A nice dinner with the kids, some treats, then ship them off to bed early. No computer for me (gasp! it was hard to breath), not ‘House Hunters’ for her.

                • margo roby

                  15/02/2012 at 11:13 am

                  Skip and I are of the stay at home school for just about any holiday.
                  No computer. No television. Hard core. I hope you are both recovering ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. JulesPaige

    14/02/2012 at 4:16 pm

    Since a solicitors’ phone ring woke the sleeping Son of Son – I’ll have to come back later for reading others posts… Enjoy

    • margo roby

      14/02/2012 at 4:23 pm

      Hi Jules! Am going to read yours now. Congratulations on the link ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Connie

    14/02/2012 at 7:20 pm

    wonderful challenge. I so enjoyed reading through the comments on this one and seeing the great efforts made and accomplishments.

    • margo roby

      15/02/2012 at 7:49 am

      Thank you, Connie. I love reading through comments!

  15. purplepeninportland

    14/02/2012 at 11:20 pm

    Happy Valentine’s Day, or not. Mine is up.

    • margo roby

      15/02/2012 at 7:49 am

      Happy Valentine’s yourself, even if it is the day after! I’m on my way…

  16. Yousei Hime

    15/02/2012 at 8:54 am

    Well here you go. Just so happened I did just that before visiting you. Not sure how romantic the second one is, unless irony is an aphrodisiac.

    • margo roby

      15/02/2012 at 10:28 am

      Clever woman. I shall come over with my second coffee!
      I know people who would find irony quite aphrodisiacal.

      • Yousei Hime

        15/02/2012 at 10:39 am

        Nothing attracts me more than a sharp mind and wit, Roxannish that I am. Hmmm, except maybe Hugh Jackman.

        • margo roby

          15/02/2012 at 10:48 am

          Oh well, Hugh Jackman is a whole ‘nother matter.

          • Yousei Hime

            15/02/2012 at 10:53 am

            Complete and perfect package, right?

            • margo roby

              15/02/2012 at 10:56 am

              Oh yes. He sings, he dances, he’s, well, you know!

              • Yousei Hime

                15/02/2012 at 11:05 am

                You know, if he ever does Shakespeare, my marriage will be in trouble. ๐Ÿ˜‰

                • margo roby

                  15/02/2012 at 11:09 am

                  Well, warn your husband:
                  Although he hasnโ€™t started performances in the new drama A Steady Rain yet, Hollywood hunk Hugh Jackman already has his eye on another stage project: Shakespeare! In an interview in the September issue of Vogue, Jackman is said to be ready to fulfill a longtime dream by starring in a yet-to-be-chosen Shakespeare classic for director Trevor Nunn.
                  I’m laughing.

                • Yousei Hime

                  15/02/2012 at 12:30 pm

                  I am soooo lucky. He’s supposed to do something else I was really excited about, but now I can’t remember what it was. I enjoy his acting and his personality. Easy on the eyes too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. MiskMask

    15/02/2012 at 9:45 am

    Lannet form of a sonnet. Not exactly Valentine’s Day red hearts and luuuuuuv, but ….

    • margo roby

      15/02/2012 at 10:25 am

      Lannet? If it’s easier than a sonnet, bring it on!

  18. Annette

    18/02/2012 at 12:35 pm

    • margo roby

      18/02/2012 at 1:44 pm

      I love your enthusiasm, Annette! I shall be right over.


  19. Yousei Hime

    19/02/2012 at 12:30 am

    Just found it online. Jackman should be doing a part in The Kingโ€™s Speech director Tom Hooperโ€™s movie musical Les Miserables. Not Shakespeare, but a musical and classical lit too. Going to be a very good next few years for him. Had to share it, sorry.

    • margo roby

      19/02/2012 at 8:53 am

      I rechecked the Shakespeare. It’s dated 2010, so something must have happened. That’s okay. I’ll watch him in other stuff ๐Ÿ™‚


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