Backyard trees grow tall to offer shade throughout the spring and summer
Children play digging their way to China before vacation ends
Palo Verde – green stick bursting with yellow flowers in April
NaPoWriMo Prompt – In a prompt originally posted this past February, Poets & Writers directs us to an essay by Urvi Kumbhaton the use of mangoes in diasporic literature. As she discusses in her essay, mangoes have become a sort of shorthand or symbol that writers use to invoke an entire culture, country, or way of life. This has the beauty of simplicity – but also the problems of simplicity, in that you really can’t sum up a culture in a single image or item, and you risk cliché if you try.
But at the same time, the “staying power” of the mango underscores the strength of metonymy in poetry. Following Poets & Writers’ prompt, today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that invokes a specific object as a symbol of a particular time, era, or place.
Good morning and welcome to day twenty two of #NaPoWriMo. I’m not exactly sure if I’m on prompt but when I read it last night the palo verde came to mind. Gretchen wrote a lovely poem about sitting in the backyard for her poetry class and the professor commented that her shade was generic and could be anywhere. I told her we have a lovely palo verde tree in the backyard, if you mention the tree by name he can’t fault you for being generic. So I think having a palo verde tree in my poem invokes a specific place. Also Gretchen and I were sitting in the backyard yesterday and it was very windy. I told her, you could have yellow flowers raining down on you in your poem. She wasn’t particularly impressed with that; Yellow flowers are shitting on us. Well okay (yes it was very windy) but I told her that’s not very poetic.
The middle part of my poem is a memory of when Robin and a friend dug a big hole in our backyard one summer. Pretty much in the same locale as Speedy’s summer residence. I’m not sure if their goal was to reach China, but I remember as a kid thinking it was a possibility if one dug straight down through the center of the Earth. Robin’s friend just thought it was cool they were allowed to dig in the dirt. The other reason for this poem besides trying the sijo form again is I told Gretchen yesterday I write poems about the backyard every April but haven’t written one yet this year. Oversight corrected Lol! If you read the link to my previous backyard oasis poem, I talk about how they are getting snow in April back east. Yesterday I saw all the lovely snow pictures from Buffalo. If you ask me that would be the proper usage for shitting on us.