Sunday, December 16, 2007

Refugee - a poem for Read Write Poem

This week's prompt from Read Write Poem:

Choose a book that calls to you.
Go to the end of several chapters, and find the final noun or verb.
Make a list of 10 or so words, and then write a 10- to 20-line poem using those words.
Maybe the feeling or tone of your poem will come from your emotional connection to the book you choose. Maybe not.

I thought it was a clever idea for an exercise but it didn't speak to me particularly. But anyway, I was choosing which novel to read next and thinking about this exercise drew my eye to Anne Michael's wonderful novel Fugitive Pieces (not that I'm going to re-read it just now but it spoke to me for the exercise). I cheated slightly with the words, there are two nouns from one chapter and the second to last verb from another chapter. So, this is the poem I came up with, the words from the novel are listed after the poem.


a radio crackles below deck
outside nothing but sea ............ waves
of nausea alternate with hunger
thirst to return to the world
that now only curls a memory
in my heartbeat the history
of my given name ............... there are too many
of us who need too much

waves, refugee, thirst, return, world, name, heartbeat, hunger, crackle, need

oh and for the record, it does work for me, and I may very well use this idea again! I may even find myself doing this exercise after every novel I enjoy reading!
A novel idea for Read Write Poem


Danny Wise said...

I like the way you put yourself in the place of the refugee - you convey a lot of feeling.

Anonymous said...

I also had a hard time trying to see if this type of writing would work for me. You picked out some great words. I enjoyed your poem. Unfortunately I wasn't as brave as you!

Linda Jacobs said...

I almost got a bit nauseous in that dip before "waves"! What inspired spacing! Loved it!

Anonymous said...

The lonliness of a refugee, yet there are so many of them. This poem could also speak to a refugee in spirit.

sister AE said...

This is a powerful little piece. I'm not familiar with the novel - does the tone of the poem have anything to do with the book - or how you feel about it?

Crafty Green Poet said...

Linda - thanks! I've finally worked out how to get Blogger to show spacing like that, glad it worked for you!

Sister AE - the novel is about a refugee, so yes the poem does reflect my impressions of the book, though its a while since i read it.

Sweet talking Guy, Birdswords, Mariacristina - thanks

gautami tripathy said...

It works. You used the words so well.

better judgement

susan said...

I like the additional space; it enhances how I process the read your word choices flow well and the tone, well, it speaks to me. Thanks for the read and I just might read the novel, but my tbr is embarrassingly long.

Crafty Green Poet said...

susan - you should definitely read the novel, its wonderufl, one of my favourites! My tbr is embaressingly long too!

Gautami - thanks!

S.L. Corsua said...

When I think of the word, I remember the phrase "fear of being persecuted" (part of the definition adopted in a UN Convention relating to refugees). Reading your poem, I get a sense of other species of fear which a refugee may harbor; the lines "thirst to return to the world / that now only curls a memory" makes me think of the fear of being separated, disconnected, cut off... till death.

A thought-provoking piece.

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book, loved your poem... and the spacing like everyone else..

My fav is

"there are too many
of us who need too much"