Welcome to Quillfyre

Moi at the Ginger cafeWho am I? I ask myself this all the time. I am a poet. Retired bean counter. Cat lover.

I write stuff. Mostly poetry.  And sometimes I blog about it. Other times, I post about events going on in and around Ottawa, Ontario. I live just outside there, in Carleton Place, on the banks of the OTHER Mississippi River.

Why do I write stuff?  I suppose because I am a poet. I express myself better in writing than any other way. And when the words and phrases that become poems spring up in my brain, I have to write them down or lose them.

That’s me over there, pondering.  Perhaps a poem was brewing then. Or maybe I was just waiting for that Moroccan soup to cool down. I prefer to think it was poem-pondering though.


Day 24 Na PoWriMo Write a Lipogram

Day 24 NaPoWriMo says: “Today’s prompt is a bit of a doozy . . . so if you feel like you don’t have it in you, feel free, as always, to take a pass! Today’s challenge is a lipogram/Beautiful Outlaw/Beautiful In-Law. A lipogram is a poem that explicitly refrains from using certain letters. The most classic letter to swear off, at least for English speakers, is “e.” A Beautiful Outlaw is a variation on a lipogram, wherein you refrain from using any of the letters in a certain name. For example, if you chose the name Sarah, then you could not use s, a, r, or h. A Beautiful In-Law is another variant, wherein you only use the letters in a certain name (better pick a long name!)
You might think that any lipogram would end up having to be short, but some people have been successful at virtuoso performances in this vein — check out this excerpt from Christian Bök’s Eunoia, in which he uses no vowels except i. It goes on for nine pages!”

I guess the weather has got me down a bit, still cold although the sun,as it sets, is at its brightest so far today.  Still, the day made me think of storms and cold.

So for the prompt, I chose not to use the letter “i”.  Here’s my effort.

That Sort of a Day

A vacant acorn husk
spawns dream of tree, the oak
drops seed on ground to feed

Acorn hoarded by Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn hoarded by Acorn Woodpecker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

woodpeckers and jays as they watch for the soak
of groundwater under trees that tease
yellows and reds to dance under

the faffer of breeze, scuddy weather
set free today the greys and blues of sky.

A storm comes on, then gone before
wet drops reach the lawn.
Today the best place to be

a warm bed or curled upon
the sofa where a fat furry cat
warms the soles of cold feet.

Carol A. Stephen
April 24, 2012

Day 6 NaPoWriMo and my 100th post! An Elephant poem

So today’s prompt is to write an animal poem, incorporating some factual material. This prompt coincided with a forward from a friend about elephant rescue, and the link at NaPoWriMo to elephant facts. Besides, I have always had a special fondness for elephants, ever since childhood, when my favourite was a stuffed elephant, not your usual stuffed bear. I remember the little lullaby it played. And I remember my mother washing it to clean its dirty white, only to have it turn pink when the dye from its  red parts ran in the water (what WERE those parts? I can’t remember that now!) I had written an elephant poem draft awhile ago, which I have incorporated into a new draft today.

Elephant, Okovnago Delta, Botswana, Africa.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Giant of Africa

This cumbersome beast brought low behind zoo walls
gazes at gawkers with a sad wrinkled eye. A solitary grief.
Perhaps he mourns his lost savannah, his herd back home,
too far distant to hear his low-frequency laments.
Instead, his growled rumble greets captive companions,
gathered at shared water source, rubbing each other
with tender affection, their raised trunks in salutation,
or gentle tusks left or right, whichever each may favour.

While he grazes on grass, lunches on leaves, teases down
his feast of twigs, bark and seed pods, he remembers
days of freedom, years of circus dancing, just another
trained bear, driven by animals of lower intelligence.
Though equal in cortex and neuron, his human master
inferior in self-knowledge and compassion.

Imagine altruism in this giant of Africa. What fear twists
in the human mind that allows us to torture and degrade?
We poach him to extinction, stand motionless as
the majesty of Elephant fades into natural history—
one more once was.

Carol A. Stephen

Carol A. Stephen

April 6, 2012