Today’s Poetry Friday (PF) hostess is Michelle Barnes at “Today’s Little Ditty.”
Yes! Today’s PF hostess is the same illustrious Ms. Barnes who generously hosts a monthly “Spotlight on” author interview, complemented by a monthly poetry challenge.
It is in response to Michelle Barnes’ April/Poetry Month Ditty of the Month Club (DMC) challenge, that I created two “echo-based” acrostic poems.
The first echo photo-poem (a combo acrostic-haiku), posted last week. In that first one, the echo was aural; this time the echo is visual…Here’s how the second poem evolved.
With “Poem in Your Pocket Day” (PIYPD) imminent (April 21st this year), my thoughts reverted to last year’s event and to a particular first grader who kept a copy of her favorite poem in her pocket well past PIYPD.
“I love my pocket poem,” she proudly announced in the library one day. “I know it by heart.”
Then pulling the copy of the poem from her pocket (for moral support, or back-up, I suppose), but without reading from it, she recited “by heart”:
“I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.”
(The remainder of Robert Lewis Stevenson’s My Shadow can be accessed here.)
That child’s high-spirited recitation has stuck in my mind, emerging as the inspiration-genesis for echo poem number two, in which the “echo” is a visual one.
My intent was to create a light-hearted poem, a la Stevenson’s, in which the echo, the shadow, was the child’s visual-projection playmate.
That was my intention…
However, what got projected was more than just the physical shadow. What got projected, as well, as the poem went on, was my deep-seated emotional shadows about having been a relatively playmate-deprived only child…And then, having found the sophisticated (un-childlike) shadow photo used in the photo-poem below, the poem took on an adult life-perspective of its own, with projected “playmate” becoming “companion.”
Here, then, in the context of the adult/”heavy” dawn photo, is the second “echo-inspired” (rather morose, actually) acrostic poem.
Many thanks to Michelle for another invigorating DMC challenge.
And thank you, too, to the PF community for any comments, including suggestions for improvements, you might generously share in response to either/both echo photo-poems.
(My retrospective wonderings concerning this second echo-poem include these two: might/“should” I have capped the initial “c” in “companion,” and might/”should” I have referred to “my” darkness, rather than “the” darkness?)
BTW, I never was a shadow connoisseur as a child (hmmm….perhaps if I had been, I might have felt less lonely!), though I did enjoy creating shadow puppets before falling asleep now and then. Now, as an adult, I really do get a great kick out of seeing myself reflected in the shadow that my car, with me in the driver’s seat, casts–straight ahead of me–at a certain time of the day and year (when that is, I really can’t recall/tell you for sure, but I believe it is Metro NY Fall mornings).
Am wondering…Did you have a childhood shadow playmate/buddy? (Such a childhood friend couldn’t really be classified as an invisible friend, could it? …And do shadow friends, do you think, match the gender of the shadow-maker? Or can the shadow-maker decide the echo-friend’s gender? …In that regard, I half-expected the first grader to change Stevenson’s “him/he” to “her/she.”)
To all those who take time to read this post:
May your shadows always be welcomed, cooling sunlight-respites, not unwelcomed, spiritually-deafening sunlight-blockers!
Anticipatory Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day for next Thursday!
Hi cb, I’ve been waiting all week to here the backstory to this second echo poem, and it didn’t disappoint! I loved hearing about the enthusiasm of the poem-pocketed first grader as well as the interpretation you bring to your shadow echo as an adult. I remember many childhood walks home from school, silently conversing with my shadow along the way. 🙂 And re: your “retrospective wonderings,” I wouldn’t make either change. I like it as is.
Thank you so much, Michelle, for taking time to read the post and to share your insights. I love that you had a shadow companion with whom you conversed on your walks home from school–another kind of alter ego:) I suspect we poet-types, even as youngsters, did a lot of walking/thinking/introspecting, conversing with those who wouldn’t stop or mess up the creative flow. Thank you, too, for sharing your reactions to my “retrospective wondering” (a.k.a. second-guessings); I’m glad the poem stands on its own, as it is, for you! …Looking forward to seeing what the DMC has in store for us next month. Meanwhile, happy Poem in Your Pocket Day next week! Every blessing. Thanks again for everything.
I know most of the “shadow” poem by heart too, a grandfather read many poems to me when I was young. What a beautiful story of that first grader, and then your own journey from the young to a more introspective poem really for yourself I think. I love that you found the perfect image for the poem, and that it has such a strong voice.
Thank you for the time you spent reading and relating to the post. It was my father who read to me and made up rhyming stories, I’m sure, who–like your grandfather–planted the seeds in us of loving words, rhymes, ideas, and most of all the sense of closeness that comes between and among individuals, thanks to the shared spoken and written word. Thank you for your kind words about the journey that the poem drew me into. As you sensitively gleaned, the photo “did it” for me–coalesced all I was thinking and feeling, though never in a million years would I have described that image as the image I would have thought of on my own; what a blessed surprise it was to find! God bless you. I bet that first grader would have loved sharing a “My Shadow” recitation duet with you!
I always love hearing about first graders and their little stories. It’s great that she shared that poem. Your echoed acrostic seems mysterious to me. Also, my daughter always talks about her twin (shadow).
Thank you for taking time to read the post and for sharing your most welcomed comments! I love that your daughter talks about her twin (shadow)! Bet she’s a good, introspective writer:) God bless you! Thanks again!
Oh the memories that flow with that Robert Lois Stevenson snippet… I hear myself, with the high pitched voice of childhood, ringing in my ears… Your poem is perfectly poignantly matched with that image, CB. I have puzzled over the Chambermaid, but can’t yet make the link. I’m wondering if it’s something I’m missing because I’m on the other side of the earth? (Now there’s some echo!) Am I rude to ask about it? Or just silly not to know!
Thank you so much for taking time to read and to dignify my poetry attempt, honoring me by caring enough to share your honest inquiry! Sometimes I try to be too word-clever; I actually wondered about whether “Echo Chambermaid” worked. Here was my thinking. A shadow is a visual echo. A shadow is created by the Sun. In aural terms, there is an “echo chamber.” In visual terms (I decided) that the Sun (in the feminine) would be the “Echo Chambermaid.” …Please, if you have time, let me know if that explanation makes any sense. And, speaking of making sense, I am SO SMILING, because if I’ve written something that doesn’t make sense, maybe I can pretend, instead, that my poetry is deepening/is moving away from the childlike simplistic. Hooray! 🙂 God bless you and thank you again. Please! I welcome criticisms; I really want to improve. … So glad that the Stevenson snippet resurrected some bubbly childhood memories. God bless you for all the sharing you’ve done in response to the post!
Ah. Yes. I see it now. I was looking at it too literally. 🙂
🙂 thank you asking and re-looking!
cb, I do like the shadows in this photo and the words dispel the darkness work beautifully. Are you working on a #SpringsSeeds offering for my newest gallery. Maybe an echo poem would be lovely.
Thank you for taking time to read this second echo poem!..Thank you, too, for asking about your #SpringSeeds gallery. I actually have 3 possibilities, inspired by your gallery theme (though none is an echo poem). The photo in one of the photo-poems is very much like the photo in your PF digital poem, though I have a different “take” on the burgeoning buds. I’ll do wrap-around posts over the next couple of weeks, but am happy to share just the photo-poems with you now, if you would like. As always, I welcome suggestions for improvement, and leave it–of course–to your discretion which–if any–of the photo-poems might fit your #Spring Seeds gallery vision. Thanks again for reading and commenting on both echo poems! I value and appreciate your insights. God bless you!
Thank you for the shadow wish at the end of this post!
🙂 My pleasure! God bless you. Thank you for taking time to read and to share your feedback!