Today’s NaPoWrIMo prompt is to write a poetry form called the ” Bop, a kind of combination sonnet + song. . In the basic Bop poem, a six-line stanza introduces the problem, and is followed by a one-line refrain. The next, eight-line stanza discusses and develops the problem, and is again followed by the one-line refrain. Then, another six-line stanza resolves or concludes the problem, and is again followed by the refrain.” For the A to Z Challenge the authors name will begin with letter J from GoodRead’s quotes. Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for last week’s writing prompt and picture.
“I don’t think it had ever occurred to me that man’s supremacy is not primarily due to his brain, as most of the books would have one think. It is due to the brain’s capacity to make use of the information conveyed to it by a narrow band of visible light rays. His civilization, all that he had achieved or might achieve, hung upon his ability to perceive that range of vibrations from red to violet. Without that, he was lost.” ― John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to “write a poem that is a portrait of someone important to you. It doesn’t need to focus so much on what a person looks (or looked) like, as what they are or were.” The corresponding GoodRead’s Author’s Quote for the A to Z Challenge, begins with the letter I. Thanks toNEEKNERAJ of MindLoveMisery’s Menageriewho provided the wonderfully creepy photograph.
“If I’d been born a ghoul, I think I would’ve killed people. I just happened to be born a human. That’s the only reason why I’m allowed to live a moral life.” ― Sui Ishida
I knew her as a little girl,
Though others thought her odd.
She had that “something” about her,
People either loved or abhorred.
At first, I thought, she was enormously strange,
But her quirks endeared me to her.
She protected me from those cruel girls,
One smile from her, they stumbled away on their heels.
She had shocking violet hair on one side,
She was never quite a blond.
Always experimenting with new looks,
Trying to glean from her appearance,
Who she was inside herself.
Her eyes a brilliant cornflower blue glimmered,
When some person made her enraged.
Her friends all knew some stupid student,
Would soon regret their actions;
She only had to smile.
And some bullies face turned violet, rouge, or primrose.
My friend was odd but lively,
Never afraid to do anything.
Dragging me along, to be a part of her drama.
Of her wicked practical jokes,
Others whispered she was a bit ‘Tim Burton,’
Calling her the ‘corpse bride.’
But she would always smile,
In a way that scared many,
Who never knew the truth about her —
She was passionate, kind, and loyal.
If you could get past her walls, her insecurities,
She was most lovely and grew to be a beauty.
Her hair still half-purple — it was her thing.
How we knew her for her.
Her terrifying smile gleamed,
She could now afford braces,
For teeth that had scared everyone.
And when the braces disappeared,
Her teeth stood in straight white rows.
Her grim frown had turned forever upside down,
She was no longer that weird girl.
Though there was still ‘something’ about her;
Strange became a talent, something sought after,
When she transformed into a swan.
She became a cut diamond, no longer rough, she was —
Today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo is to write a ” poem with a secret – in other words, a poem with a word or idea or line that it isn’t expressing directly. The poem should function as a sort of riddle, but not necessarily a riddle . . .” As well, my GoodRead’s author quote will start with an author’s name beginning with the letter D, for the A to Z Challenge.
“A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.” ― Diane Arbus
On precious plush lips, she rests her hand,
She’ll never tell you what thoughts she’s had.
Preferring mostly, to let you wonder,
To pillage her plunder,
Yet to never understand who she is.
The secret so hidden and complex; this —
Illusion she portrays, by and by, everyday.
You can search through her closets array,
Of clothes and shoes, or her jewelry gleaming,
With her nothing is as it seems.
You’ll never find it hidden in kitchen drawers,
Packed away in the cupboard’s coffee tin or —
When you find out her password to her page,
Or look in private documents, bills or her wages.
It’s not in some box in the garage,
And begging her won’t assuage —
What you can never seem to pin point,
What you can never find in her poise —
The grace of her movements, her brilliant blue —
Eyes, searching yours, praying that you’ve a clue.
She’ll let you touch her how you like,
She knows your confusion without spite.
She’s hoping you’ll find it, but will you ever know?
Since the beginning of the campaign in the US for the final Republican and Democratic nominees, I haven’t been able to get this poem out of my head. Perhaps I had such a wonderful professor for American Poetry that Robert Frost’s “The Mending Wall,” made such an impression on me.
Thirteen years after I’ve graduated, I still think about this poem and what wisdom Frost imparts to people in his own time and ours. Mainly he suggests his poem is less about literal walls or fences, but about how neighbors should treat each other. Whether you’ve read the poem or not, you may find certain correlations between Frost’s poem and the current political situation in the US.
I think the biggest issue Frost’s poem highlights is why we build walls in the first place. The line at the beginning of the poem: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” implies not all of us enjoy having walls between us and our neighbors (1). Frost isn’t merely talking about physical walls or fences but about the walls that exist in relationships between people.
It’s practical and helpful for to us to avoid petty arguments by having physical fences around our yards. But Frost suggests in “The Mending Wall,” it is not helpful at all, to have walls and distance between people and their relationships with one another. This can cause large rifts between people when they don’t agree or share a similar opinion. Communication and negotiation need to be encouraged, instead of building bigger walls. We forget many other people in this world are the same as us, going through similar trials. It doesn’t matter their religion or ethnicity, we’re all human.
Open communication and friendly communication is a necessary key to life. While physically we may have to “set the wall between us once again,” or have certain boundaries, I don’t recall stone walls every setting to right differences of opinion or thought (14). We can’t stop talking because we don’t agree, reaching for the best compromise available is vital.
Erecting a wall between the US and Mexico will affect US relationships with other nations, not only Mexico. It also makes the US government appear isolationist. Moreover, it affects other countries who would think it was okay to support their own selfish ideologies which are not democratic.
Isolationist countries and governments do not prosper in themselves or in helping their citizens prosper. In today’s world it is critical for us all to have open communication and at times compromise and not always get ‘our own way’ with other countries for the good of all; the current US government goes against this globalized view. Trump stands for himself and if you’re a lucky American who supports a view he does, he might stand for you too. But it’s not something I would count on in a person who is extremely unpredictable.
In Frost’s poem, the lines: “There where it is we do not need the wall: / He is all pine and I am apple orchard. / My apple trees will never get across / [and] eat the cones under his pines, I tell him,” show the utter absurdity of having such a thick solid wall between the narrator and his neighbor (23-27). Frost’s point in these lines is if the speaker and his neighbor acted neighborly, they wouldn’t require a fence between them. It’s absurd to have a wall between them because the narrator’s apples don’t eat his neighbor’s pine cones and vice versa. The neighbor lacks insight into the situation.
He is similar to Trump who wants a wall between the US and Mexico beyond the border which already exists. Trump is akin to the neighbor insisting ” . . . good fences make good neighbors.” Truly walls break down relations between people and invite people to spew hatred and feel they are entitled to act badly and Trump’s actions are encouraging this behavior (27). People have choices to act how their conscience tells them, but when the government decides on input-less actions that destroy relations with other parts of the world and with US citizens, this government is self-serving.
Frost’s speaker also wonders about this wall he and his neighbor always fix in spring. He asks “. . . why do [fences] make good neighbors . . . ” commenting that “[before] I built a wall I’d ask to know / [what] I was walling in or walling out, / [and] to whom I was like to offense” (32-34). For me, these lines are shockingly apt in current US politics.
In Robert Frost’s poem “The Mending Wall,” the wall is not only a physical wall/fence it’s symbolic of relations between neighbors and metaphorical walls between people, in a broader sense, all sovereign nations. Trump insists on building a wall because it will wall out drugs from entering the US. He also believes he is keeping out illegal immigrates as well as crime. I think Frost would say, Trump is missing the bigger picture.
To my knowledge, Obama never had outstanding issues with Mexico. Most of us are aware of the drugs going back and forth across the border from Mexico and the people who want to leave Mexico for a better life. I would argue as many have, one way or another, the immigrants who want to get through are going to find a way through.
We also know for a fact, there are already tunnels to bring drugs into the US. If Trump wants to stop drug cartels from selling drugs, maybe he should focus on his own citizens involved in the purchase and selling of drugs. If you take away the market, perhaps you stop drug trafficking; however, my hunch is if Mexico sells fewer drugs, those who want or need drugs, will find another source.
Additionally, Frost’s line about giving “offense” is relatable to Trump not caring what Mexico thinks about the wall (34). He wants to make them pay for it and he doesn’t care that their President refused. He offended Mexico and its citizens; hopefully, he doesn’t plan on vacationing there anytime soon as many US citizens like to do. He’s going to make it difficult for US citizens wanting to vacation in Mexico and other places around the world in general. I’ve meant many wonderful American citizens on vacations but I know there are places where they still have to wear a Canadain flag on their outfit, so they are not thought be Americans. I would hate for this to be worse because of current affairs.
He’s going to make it difficult for US citizens wanting to vacation in Mexico and other places around the world in general. I’ve met many wonderful American citizens on vacations but I know there are places where they still have to wear a Canadain flag on their outfit, so they are not thought be Americans because it would be dangerous to them or their cash supply. I would hate for this to be worse because of current affairs in the US.
As well, Trump offended the Mexican President who refused to visit the US after Trump announced the wall. He’s set back relations with his physical and symbolic wall with Mexico. I believe US dealings with other countries will suffer setbacks as well because I think other nations will see US actions and be less inclined to trust their government and Trump.
The most curious part to me is how one man can destroy relations with other countries around the word so quickly through his lack of diplomacy and unwillingness to cooperate. I don’t want the US, Canada, or anywhere to be larger targets for radical terrorists or desperate criminals because Trump is blocking people from migrating to the US from the Middle East. Many people there are like us, regular people who don’t deserve to be labeled terrorists due to their religion. Some of those people require help due to actual terrorists such as ISIS, who are making it difficult for them to meet their basic needs.
Frost also writes in his poem about those who don’t love walls and would like them down. His narrator sees no need for the wall and thinks he could tell his neighbor, “‘I could say “Elves” to him, / [but] it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather / [he] said it for himself (35 – 38). Frost implies the neighbor needs to recognize for himself and ‘say’ for himself, that the physical and metaphorical wall between them is absurd.
I think the same principles apply to Trump and his wall. The wall is a thoughtless law as well as the symbolic breaking down of US relations with other countries such as Mexico and realistically, several others. The current US President won’t ever admit he is wrong.
In the end, I find the situation with Trump and the US government much the same as Frost describes the neighbour in his poem: “In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed./ He moves in darkness as it seems to me, / [not] of woods only and the shade of trees (40 – 42). To the narrator of Frost’s poem, rebuilding the wall between his neighbour and him is a game.
He even wonders if he could put “a notion” in his neighbours head and say “[elves]” made the stones fall out of place (29,37). But to the neighbour such as the US government, this is no game. While the rest of us mock Trump and have “mischief” in us as we read daily what Trump’s decided to do now, we are also somewhat afraid.
Trump walks around as Frost’s speaker’s neighbor, “an old-stone savage armed . . . [moving] in darkness . . . (40-41). This darkness is as an ignorance and not only of “woods . . . and the shade of trees (42).” I cannot imagine all the duties a President has; however, I do know about starting a new job as I’m sure many people can relate to.
Often, it is best to let things be done the way they have been done, to learn the experience and the wisdom behind the methods people use currently, before implementing massive change. At times, we think our own way of doing something is better. Then one day it hits us why something was done a certain way, how much easier it is to keep doing it that particular way. Once you learn how things are done, then changes can be implemented with reason and with experience behind that reasoning.
With US relations with its own citizens and the citizens of the world, we can only hope Trump ends his walk in darkness and ignorance. Perhaps one day he will step into the light and see why past Presidents acted how they did in certain matters? That he was elected by citizens and speaks and acts for them.
It’s my hope he searches beyond his own experience, what he’s been able to do freely as wealthy and powerful man. I hope he listens to the people who elected him and acts with discernment, that he learns to think before he acts. One encouraging thing about Trump I did hear was his admiration of Winston Churchill.
In conclusion, Frost calls his poem “The Mending Wall” because he hopes each year relations with his neighbour will improve, that eventually they won’t need a wall between them. Can we hope this much of the new US government? That they will not build walls to isolate their country? That they will not only think about themselves in this diverse, multicultural, and globalized world? I hope so. I’d hope Trump eventually learns to mend relations with his neighbours and not to snub them or God forbid, cause war. I hope he learns to see beyond the saying, ” . . . [good] fences make good neighbours” (45).
Timo and Erica had been stranded in the desert when their small plane crashed near Cairo. Sunburnt, exhausted, and thirsty, they were shocked to see an Oasis.
“An Oasis Timo, we’re saved. There’s water and even a chalice to drink from,” Erica yelled.
“You’re seeing things Erica, there’s no water and no chalice.”
“Really look, it’s only a few steps away — we’re here,” Erica said rushing forward to drink from a beautiful pale blue spring; however, whenever she tried to cup the spring water with her hands, it slide away.
“It won’t let me drink and I’m half-dead,” she cried.
Timo rubbed his eyes, finally believing the blue spring underneath a palm tree existed. A chalice made with a human skull sat in the middle of a stone alter as well. It gave him a feeling of dread.
“Erica, to drink the water you need the chalice but don’t do it. There’s something terrifying and evil about this cup.”
She turned to Timo, giving him a dark stare, “I’ll drink from the chalice if I want.” Erica strode to the alter, bowed mockingly and lifted the chalice to kiss the skull on the mouth.
Timo grimaced as she scooped it into the water and drank. It was an Indiana Jones’ movie come to life as Erica’s life force was sucked from her body which disintegrated until she was dust.
He decide to try drinking from the spring without the chalice. Timo drank all the water he could then sat down beneath the large palm tree in the shade. He wondered why cupping his hands worked for him and not for poor Erica as he drifted asleep.
When he awoke, Timo heard the blessed noise of rescuers in the distance and hollered for help. To his amazement the Oasis had disappeared along with the chalice.
He contemplated what he should say happened to Erica as no one would believe the truth.