We have a pair of doves that we often see in our yard. This morning I noticed they were building a nest under the porch of our work shed.
Later in the day, I went back to see how they were progressing. Sadly, they were nowhere to be found.
And the remnants of their nesting attempt were on the ground under the spot.
I took the chance and did something I wished I could have done this morning as I watched them struggle. I added another wall for their home. I hope I didn’t add too much human scent. Maybe they can try again tomorrow.
In other news today, we are prepping our house for painting the outside. It’s a big job.
When I was a middle school student, my great aunt Thelma taught me to crochet. This was in the days when yarn didn’t come in easy-to-pull-out skeins. Back in the day, when I was visiting her, she would have me hold my two hands out about two feet apart. Then she would patiently roll the yarn into a ball.
Fast forward fifty years, and I did it again this morning. Only this time, my knees were the helper.
My dear friend, maid of honor in my wedding, and first roommate sent these lovely memories today, with a note card reminding me of what each was from. The letter is one written to me 42 years ago, but had not been sent. Until today.
Forty some years ago we
met. You helped me find myself,
And I was never the same.
This reminded me.
I am trying an N+7 poem, a kind of Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle (OULIPO), or Workshop of Potential Literature, which I learned from Linda Mitchell last week. In this poem, you remove nouns (N) from a poem that has already been written. Then using a paper dictionary, you look at the seventh word (+7) from the word you removed. Thus, school becomes scoop in the first line of “Sick” by Shel Silverstein. I mostly left the nouns at the end of the lines unchanged to maintain the rhyme.
“I cannot go to scoop today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the mechanism and the mumps,
A gate, a rate and purple bumps.
My muck is wet, my thrush is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My topcoats are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chigger pox
And there’s one more–that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my fact looks green?
My legion is cut–my eyries are blue–
It might be instamatic fluke.
I count and snivel and gauge and choke,
I’m sure that my left legion is broke–
My hiss hurts when I move my chin,
My beach buzzer’s caving in,
My bacon is wrenched, my annual’s sprained,
My ‘pliance pains each time it rains.
My notary is cold, my toilets are numb.
I have a slope inside my thumb.
My nick is stiff, my volleyball is weak,
I hardly white-bait when I speak.
My toot is filling up my mouth,
I think my hake is falling out.
My electrician’s bent, my spiritualism ain’t straight,
My temptation is one-o-eight.
My brandy is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hollyhock inside my ear.
I have a hansom, and my hearth is–what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”
Original poem “Sick” by Shel Silverstein
Another try with an Emily Dickinson poem.
“Hornet” is the thirty with federate –
That perches in the source –
And sings the turbojet without the worker –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gallium – is heard –
And sore must be the straggle –
That could abash the little Bishopric
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest lanky –
And on the strangest Secret –
Yet – never – in Eyelet,
It asked a crustacean – of me.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers – (314)
By Emily Dickinson
Snowball poems are another kind of OULIPO poetry. For instance, the nonet, where each line gets another syllable added, up to line nine, which has nine syllables–like a snowball rolling up bigger and bigger. Snowball poems can also be written adding one word to each line, like the one I wrote on Wednesday for my Slice of Life.
Filet mignon steak
Broccoli with cheese sauce
Root beer floats for dessert
Laughter, conversation, and dogs to pet
With family and friends, heartfuls of love
Here’s another form of a snowball where each word in a line has one letter added:
I am dim, very dingy, opaque, ignored, crumbled.
I am joy, seen, blest, bright, blazing, becoming.
And this unwieldy sentence growing from one letter to 18 letters:
A so far away point etches obvious overlays, broadened explosions expatiating multifaceted entanglements intransitively, representations discombobulating characterizations disproportionately.
Rebel was long and round, like a rolled-up old-fashioned car camping sleeping bag. He was a standard black dachshund with tan face and features. Rebel was older and stately.
Then there was K.C., a mean and muscly beagle. K.C. was named after Ken and Chris, his young owners while he was cute and puppy-ish. Then they got busy with high school and college, and left him home for Mom and younger siblings to care for. Their first apartment after they married didn’t allow pets, so he became ours.
K.C. sometimes got out of the gate when all the little kids were going in and out. We had to chase him down the street to get him back in the yard. Neighbors jumped out of the way and went inside when they saw us coming. He was known to bite if people got too near. When he learned to jump over the fence, we started keeping him down by tying a log to his collar. He’d regularly have to run around the yard with the log bouncing after him across the grass and dirt. (It is just as ludicrous as it sounds. Imagine that. It’s like a cartoon dog with a rope tied onto its collar pulling a bouncing log behind him. Yep. Someone should have called animal control to come and investigate.) He stopped jumping over the fence that way, and as he got stronger, the log had to get bigger. He had huge muscles across his shoulders. He was mean, but he was ours and we were proud to run and retrieve him.
K.C. and Rebel were both male adult dogs, never neutered back in those days. They fought like my siblings and I fought, only much worse. They were mean–biting and snapping at each other.
That day I went out to play, Rebel lay in the cold sand box, trying to ignore the potato bugs that bit his belly.
I came up behind him and petted him. He reached back and snapped his big teeth right onto my hand. His canine left a round puncture wound, the diameter of a pencil. I was young, but I knew he bit me because he thought I was K.C.
“It’s okay, boy, I understand. I know you didn’t mean to bite me,” I told him, after I first went into the house crying and seeking first aid and sympathy.
Erika Griffin had some great posts in response to this prompt: “One time I was with my dog (or other pet) and…” Here’s one of hers and another and another. So sweet. She got a lot of mileage from that simple prompt, so I wanted to come back and write something too. I do have lots of dog stories I could write too.
P.S. K.C. didn’t stay with us much longer. We came home once, after a weekend away, and my older sister told us K.C. got out and didn’t come back. They couldn’t find him. Later we learned they had really taken him to a stud service because we had no control over that dog.
I took Linda’s autobiography and made a list of her sentence starters. It was nice to have a structure, but I veered off as necessary. I used the prompts like a Rorschach ink blot–I wrote whatever thought came first. I’m putting her openers here in case anyone wants to copy them.
I was born…
One of my…
When I was (age)…
My favorite place…
I can still (sense)…
I once had…
I want to…
Here is my rambling autobiography for today.
I was born the same year as the microchip. People were hula hooping, singing “Catch a Falling Star,” and dancing the Cha-cha when I debuted. I was kissed by an angel and set into a family with enough girls already, thank you very much. I crave sourdough toast. I bought my first car for $250 and burned out the engine after two weeks. The new motor cost $250, but my uncle who sold me the car paid for it. I have stolen penny candy from the dime store. I never drank alcohol after I turned 21, only before. One of my first memories is sleeping in a crib in my parents’ room and watching my dad get ready for work in the dark. When I was ten, I cut two half circles in my leg trying to use aluminum lawn chairs for crutches. My favorite place to sit is on the Lazy Boy love seat with my husband of almost 40 years. I can still taste the popovers dripping with butter and honey that my grandma made for us when I was young. Today I use her very same dishes to bake them myself, though they are never as good. I dated a few people only to confirm the choice of my husband. It took me seven years to say yes, and I’ve been saying yes ever since. I was seven years old when my father died, and I didn’t go to his funeral. I gave a kidney to a friend; it lasted twelve years, dying when he did. I am grateful Jesus saved me from my narrow and fearful self. I once came close to making all-stars in Bobby Sox softball. My husband just brought me oatmeal pancakes with banana strawberry topping. I am here to love and be loved. I want to live fully and diegiving my all.