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Of poetry and ninjas

Poetry is a slippery thing. In many ways, poetry is ninja-like.

Disciplined and requiring attention, focus, and skill.
Sometimes dangerous.
Able to pierce your heart and mind.
Capable of sneaking up on you when you least expect it, and able to leave you breathless in astonishment at its fluidity and movement.
Lithe and lean, carrying with it no more than it absolutely needs to accomplish its mission.
Here one minute, and gone the next.
Agile, nimble and deft.

My recent poetry-writing experiences have been interesting, in a semi-frustrating kind of way. Last Thursday, I set off on a writing date. After two hours, I had precisely nothing, save for the knowledge that what I needed was not a single poem about Jane's home in Southampton, England, but two different poems - one sonnet, one shorter and more playful.

On Thursday evening, I started my sonnet. After two hours, I had six lines. That I couldn't use.

On Friday evening, I started my sonnet. After an hour and a half, I had two good lines.

Over the weekend, I tried to make some more progress. Nothing doing.

Last night, I wrote three lines, all unusable. And then, just before midnight, I noticed that it didn't seem particularly dark outside, what with it being almost midnight. The sky was completely cloud-free, and many stars were visible even with the light pollution of my suburban neighborhood. And there was a hunter's moon. So bright that it cast distinct shadows. The bare trees made spiderweb shadows on the lawn, and everything seemed washed in bright white light.

This morning, I wrote a haiku about the moon. And then, I met a friend for writing. I started with my two good lines, and wrote six that won't work. And then, I started with my two good lines again, and despite some meanderings and mistakes, I've got eight that really, truly do what I wanted them to do. They sneaked up on me like ninjas. And so I offered them some tea, and they have stayed.




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Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
carriejones
Jan. 22nd, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)
What sort of tea are you coaxing them with? I need to get some.
kellyrfineman
Jan. 22nd, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
Black tea, which is probably verboten for you. Sorry.
seaheidi
Jan. 22nd, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)
great post. you had me at ninja.
kellyrfineman
Jan. 22nd, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
:)
robinellen
Jan. 22nd, 2008 08:53 pm (UTC)
I really admire anyone who has the discipline to write poetry with any consistency. I tend to write only when the mood strikes me (so about once or twice a year). I think what amazes me most about people like you, dear Kelly, is that you can put yourself to the task and still turn out a beautiful, flowing, perfect poem.
kellyrfineman
Jan. 22nd, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, how I hope for a beautiful, flowing poem. But often, that doesn't happen. Still, thanks for your lovely words.
lurban
Jan. 22nd, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
love this. congrats on the lines.
kellyrfineman
Jan. 22nd, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks and smooches.
(Deleted comment)
kellyrfineman
Jan. 23rd, 2008 01:29 am (UTC)
Tea with Ninjas would be an awesome title for anything. A poetry collection, an album, a novel . . .

I sure hope there's a sestet of fresh friends to be found. Because the starting octet took a lot of time to form, but they came together really well.
slatts
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:33 am (UTC)
grasshopper....
poet-goddess as ninja....
kellyrfineman
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:36 pm (UTC)
Re: grasshopper....
I would look very silly in ninja-wear. Very silly indeed.
slatts
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:48 pm (UTC)
Re: grasshopper....
Maybe the tight "pajama" outfit they so often show but the flowing black robe and pants more common in Aki-ju-jitsu w/ your black hair, blue eyes, red lips...

Stunning, stealth and dangerous!

I can see it working quite well, indeed....


liz_scanlon
Jan. 23rd, 2008 05:11 am (UTC)
Those sneaky little buggers. Sugar 'em up and convince 'em to stay...
kellyrfineman
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure that a bunch of sugared-up ninjas is a good idea. Nor sugared-up poetry. Nobody really likes too much sugar-sweet poetry.
slayground
Jan. 23rd, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
I'm now singing, "Ninja, o ninja..."
kellyrfineman
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:38 pm (UTC)
I do not know that song. But ninja songs sound, generally speaking, like a good idea.
slayground
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
Hee hee. It's not a song, just the connection between ninja and poetry.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 24th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty impressed with your Ninja Poetry thing, much less the rest of your Search for the Sonnet.

-MotherReader
kellyrfineman
Jan. 24th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks, MR. I'm still searching for those last six lines, even after several hours of writing and many lines, none of which are quite the right ones. But they will come padding in on Tabi-wearing feet sometime soon and fall into line.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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