Poem with an explanation: walking nowhere

walking miles
but getting nowhere

 

This poem is specifically about a person trying to lose weight by walking on a treadmill.  Over time, the person walks many miles but loses no weight.  The “getting nowhere” part refers to the person not achieving what they desired, but also to the idea that they are in the same place while walking on the machine.  The idea was to use the phrase symbolically and literally.

More generally, the poem is about effort without result and could be symbolic of many experiences.

Poem with an explanation: what’s the hurry?

walking outside
with someone
what’s the hurry?

In this poem, two people are walking outside.  They are walking quickly until one realizes that they have nowhere in particular to be.  They are walking simply for the sake of walking and have no destination other than to return to the place that they started from.  They have nothing in particular to do at that place, and so when they arrive is inconsequential.  When one of them realizes this they question why they are walking so fast.  The poem reflects on the idea of appreciating the moment rather than focusing on the next one.

Poetry topic idea: walking

Today’s poetry topic idea is walking.  A poet could write about:

  • Walking to get from one place to another.
  •  

  • Not being able to walk.
  •  

  • Pain while walking.
  •  

  • Walking for exercise.
  •  

  • Learning to walk.
  •  

  • Walking during work.
  •  

  • Walking dogs.

 

Here is an example poem using the idea walking:

walking in a circle
around the backyard
measuring a lap
seventy steps
so
at seven thousand
three hundred
there are twenty seven hundred
left to go
to reach ten thousand
each lap
at seventy steps
with twenty seven hundred to go
that means
doing the math
still doing the math
a little more
than thirty eight laps
all right
that’s far
just keep walking
just keep walking
thirty seven left
just keep walking
just keep walking

Poem with an explanation: steps

walking in circles
around the driveway
neighbors watch
and don’t understand

counting the circles
doing the math
letting the mind wander
as the steps continue

at times
it feels pointless
many journeys
to a beginning

at times
when there is less
and then less
and then less
and then less
there’s a point

 

This poem is about a person walking to lose weight.  The person has a pedometer and is counting their steps each day to reach a daily goal so they can lose weight.

In the first stanza, the person walks repeatedly around their driveway in a loop.  This seems odd to their neighbors.

In the second stanza, the person tries to take their mind off what they are doing, to help it go faster, all the while realizing that as they are trying not to think about it, they are continuing to walk.

In the third stanza, the person does feel strange doing all this walking without some sort of tangible result.  They are not walking for work for example or to reach a location.

In the fourth stanza, as the person continues to lose weight they understand the point of what they are doing.

Poem with an explanation: flying through the walk

sparrows fly each day
ten hours across the field
turtles look and walk

 

This poem is about ease and difficulty.

For some people, certain things are very easy.  They do them effortlessly.  For other people, those same certain things are hard.  With great difficulty they accomplish their goal.

In this poem, the sparrows do something easily.  The sparrows fly.  This is nothing to them and they do it each day.

The turtles though find traveling hard.  It takes them ten hours to cross a field.  This is contrasted with the speed and ease of the sparrows’ travel.  The turtles notice this and continue.  They accept their situation although it weighs upon them.

The idea of the poem is to show a human feeling with animals.  This situation can often come up in life.  A person can struggle to do something, and then see someone else do it effortlessly.  Seeing this, the person feels worse about their situation.  They feel their lack of ability is amplified.

This poem is a 5-7-5 haiku.  The second two lines go together.

Poem with an explanation: Pound ounce

Pound ounce,
pound ounce,
the eyes close,
in silence.

Pound ounce,
pound ounce,
the statue changes,
its expression.

With the chain,
around the leg,
the rock nearby,
seems like the moon.

In the shoes,
for the grain of sand,
the hands are held,
and eyes open.

Pound ounce,
pound ounce,
waiting for the day,
without pound ounce.

 

This poem is about a person who hurt their foot.  They hit their foot on something and are in considerable pain days later.  They have not sought medical attention, and, despite the pain, they believe their foot is not broken.  They try to go about their day as best they can.

When the person walks, they step heavily with their good leg in attempt to move themselves forward and support their weight.  They step lightly with their hurt foot because of the pain.  The heavy step is symbolized with the weight “pound” (which also symbolizes the pounding of the step into the ground) and the light step is symbolized with the weight “ounce”.  Each “pound ounce” set (except for the last) refers to the person taking a step forward.

In the first stanza, the person takes two steps.  They feel pain and close their eyes as they cringe.  They don’t make a noise, as holding the sound in, in some way, holds the pain in.

In the second stanza, the person takes two more steps.  The person, being relatively immobile, is described as a statue.  Their facial expression changes because of the pain.

In the third stanza, the idea of relative distance is examined.  The person has trouble walking.  This is symbolized as them having a chain around their leg.  Because of this, something that is nearby seems as though it is far away.  This is symbolized by the idea of the moon.  The moon looks nearby when it is bright and full, almost as if it were a few hundred feet or a few miles away.  In reality, this is an illusion, and the moon is very far away.  It looks close, but is at a considerable distance.  This relates to the object the person wants, that is in reality close, but because of their ailment is as if it is a considerable distance away.

The person’s condition has taught them empathy.  The person, so to speak, is “walking in the shoes” of someone who is disabled.  They are experience what having a disability is like, even if only for a brief time (for the grain of sand – as in one grain of sand falling in an hour glass, which represents a very small amount of time).  This causes them to feel a connection to the disabled (the hands are held) and they open their eyes (metaphorically) to their situation.

In the last stanza, the person takes two more steps, and in their pain, they feel like they are waiting for the day when the pain is gone and they can walk normally.

Poem: Walking along

Walking along,
seeing the billboard,
reading the words,
and thinking some thoughts.

Walking along,
seeing the sign,
seeing the pictures,
and wondering some things.

Walking along,
seeing the speaker,
hearing the words,
and contemplating some things.

Walking along,
seeing the door,
holding the handle,
and pondering some things.

Walking along,
seeing the inside,
observing the contents,
but leaving the place.

 

P. S. This is the one hundredth “singular” poem on this blog. It is the one hundredth poem that wasn’t in some way part of something else, like a poem series, a post series, a poem with an explanation or so forth.

Experimental Poetry Form: cutting a deck of cards

This experimental poetry form is based off of the idea of cutting a deck of cards.  The base of the poem is five lines long.  Each line is different.  The base could be represented as:

A
B
C
D
E

After the base is written, the first two lines are moved as a set to the end of the poem and the poem is written out again.  It could be represented as:

C
D
E
A
B

This movement of lines is then repeated and the poem is written again as:

E
A
B
C
D

The movement is then repeated one last time as:

B
C
D
E
A

 

All of the pieces should be written as one poem, with each piece serving as a stanza, such as:

A
B
C
D
E

C
D
E
A
B

E
A
B
C
D

B
C
D
E
A

 

The main difficulty in the poem is finding lines that make sense in all the rearranged orders.  To help with that, punctuation, capitalization and indention can change from stanza to stanza.

Rearranging the lines as shown is not the same as mixing the lines up.  All that is happening in each set is that some part of poem is moved from the beginning to the end.  In each of the sets, there is one movement that would put the poem back in order.  For example, in the set EABCD, if the E line was moved to the end, the poem would be back in order.  This idea is part of the poetry form.  The idea is to examine moving lines instead of mixing up lines.

The main idea of the poetry form is to see how the expression changes when the lines are rearranged.  The tone of the poem can change depending on line order, and this change is part of the idea.

Here is an example poem written in the form:

The heat beat down,
upon the worn shape,
as images of collapsing filled the mind,
cars drove by,
and one took pity.

As images of collapsing filled the mind,
cars drove by,
and one took pity –
  the heat beat down,
  upon the worn shape.

And one took pity –
  the heat beat down,
  upon the worn shape,
  as images of collapsing filled the mind,
  cars drove by.

Upon the worn shape,
  as images of collapsing filled the mind,
  cars drove by,
  and one took pity,
the heat beat down.