Day 5 #NPM15 – I heard a fly buzz

Today I decided to follow a prompt from napowrimo.net. In short, take an Emily Dickinson poem, remove all her linebreaks and punctuation (especially those fun dashes) so you just have a paragraph of prose. Then reline it, feeling free to add, modify, or delete words.

Here’s my version of her “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—.”

I heard a fly buzz when I died.
The stillness in the room was like the still-
ness in the air between the heaves of storm.
The eyes around had wrung themselves dry,
and breaths were gathering firm for that last
onset when the King be witnessed in the room.

I willed my keepsakes, signed away
what portion of me be assignable,
and then it was there, interposed—a fly
with blue uncertain stumbling buzz
between the light and me—
and then the windows failed—

and then I could not see to see.

***

And the original

I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portions of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

***

I’m not any sort of Dickinson expert and wasn’t particularly familiar with this poem, so for me it was quite easy to reline it into something that felt more modern (i.e., I wasn’t “stuck” in any familiarity with the original). It was interesting to see where I used a couple of dashes in the same place Dickinson had. Some people get distracted by her dashes; I get distracted by so much capitalization as well, so I had to get rid of that.

All in all, the relining of the poem allowed me to stop reading it in such a sing-songy way. As a result, Dickinson’s original words (with one minor adjustment) struck me as remarkably contemporary.

Day 4 #NPM15 – Celebration

Chicken choir sings

Behold the miracle of the day—

Easter eggs!

Yes, chickens like to brag on their egg-laying prowess. “See what I have made!” (That one is not ours. I think ours might even be louder. Just imagine the cacophony when they all join in to praise their sister hen.)

I hope you’re all having a nice Sunday, happy Passover, happy Easter, or whatever holiday or egg-laying event you prefer to celebrate. In our heretical household, we go for Happy Zombie Jesus Day! 😉

Day 2 #NPM15 – Spring Cold

Chicken alarm wakes

me from sick sleep—where the hell

is that snooze button?

***

I wrote this yesterday but forgot to post it. Spent most of the day sleeping as much as I could. Horrible chest cold… Chickens have a very distinctive alarm call—kind of like a car alarm. It usually goes for few minutes then stops, but it’s hard to ignore…

Day 1 #NPM15 – Chicken Haiku & Rimas

Margaret & Anne digging for worms

Margaret & Anne digging for worms

Chickens dig.

Earthworms zig…too slow!

It’s time to eat!

***

Happy April. Happy National Poetry Month 2015 (#NPM15). I figure it’s time to get serious about posting again, so we’ll shoot for a poem a day during the special month of April. But I’m warning you now—they may be mostly chicken haiku.

Incidentally despite my lack of recent posts, I still get some regular traffic. I can always tell when some high school or college Spanish class is translating poetry. Back in 2012 I posted a few translations of Gustavo Adolpho Bécquer’s Rimas. They are my MOST POPULAR POSTS EVER. (I think I’m a little insulted that my own work doesn’t get more attention. Heh.) Some days I think I should hide them and make the poor kids do their own work.

In case you’re interested (and they do make pretty good reading for #NPM15), in order of popularity…

Rima XXI – By far the most popular, currently around 1650 views.

Rima XXIII – Around 650 views.

Rima XXXVIII – Around 400 views.

Rima XVII – Around 250 views.

Almost everything else of mine has well under 100 views. So, this is not a brag fest on how popular my blog is—just an interesting side note on what people are searching for that gets them here. And yes, visitors do seem to look at more than one page. They look at the other Rimas—but only if they’re part of the homework assignment!! After that, I’m pretty sure they never return. You’d think they could at least give me a Like or something…

Victoria’s Stone (haiku)

Mild winter earth is

easy to dig; maple and

azalea bush wait.

Victoria's Stone by Azalea & Japanese Maple

Victoria’s Stone by Azalea & Japanese Maple

We lost our first chicken this past weekend. She’d been noticeably unwell since about Thanksgiving, but we think her condition had been going on for at least a year, when she started drinking a lot of water and laying peewee eggs. We treated her for the typical parasites and infections one finds in backyard chickens, but the other two girls had no symptoms, so we weren’t surprised that she didn’t really improve. We finally took her to the vet, who said it was something more serious, e.g., ovarian cancer, heart disease, kidney disease. We weren’t going to spend the $$ to get a full diagnosis because we knew we weren’t going to treat her beyond offering comfort.

So, for the past couple weeks she lived in the garage (actually on and off for the past couple months). She didn’t seem like she was in pain, but she couldn’t eat much and didn’t seem to be getting nutrients from what she did eat. She just got weaker and quieter. She finally died Saturday. We were glad to be home with her when it happened, and we found a nice spot to bury her in the garden.

She was our little sweetie! Goodbye, Victoria!

Victoria, Our First Chicken

Victoria, Our First Chicken

Another published poem!

I got a nice Thanksgiving surprise—a poem to be published in Stirring : A Literary Collection, Volume 16, Edition 12 : December 2014. And here it is!

Incidentally, Sierra Golden, Raleigh Review‘s poetry editor and a fabulous person to work with, also has a poem in this issue!

Thanks to the Stirring editors for publishing my poem and special thanks to guest editor Janeen Pergrin Rastall for encouraging me to submit my work. 🙂

A published poem??!! Yay!

If you haven’t found Petrichor Review yet, check it out. It’s a short, sweet, attractive online lit mag.

And yours truly has a poem in the latest issue. 🙂

 

Chicken Haiku for Kjell!

Here’s another of my promised chicken haiku for those who contributed to Raleigh Review‘s scholarship fund:

Feathers in the yard

and chickens cringe from touch—

the prick of new growth.

***

We’ve entered molting season at Coop de Kaferberg.

Feathers in the yard

Feathers in the yard

Poor Victoria has lost all her tail feathers! She is very grumpy about that. (“Look away! I’m hideous!”) She doesn’t like to be picked up right now. Having all those new feathers coming in is a little like teething in babies—it needs to happen, but it doesn’t feel good.

Poor, tailless Victoria

Poor, tailless Victoria

Victoria is a faverolle, which is a variety of chicken that has feathers on the feet. You can see where the new pin feathers are coming in. If they get bumped and broken, they bleed profusely.

Pin feathers on Victoria's feet

Pin feathers on Victoria’s feet

Hang in there, Victoria! It will be over soon. (Well, in a few months, if last year is any indication…)

Chicken haiku for Kajsa!

Chicks in the backyard

tumbling down the ramp—

the sun is up.

My three chicks already down the ramp

My three chicks after the morning ramp-tumble

 

One of Kajsa's chicks going down the ramp!

One of Kajsa’s chicks going down the ramp—no tumble this time!

Another of my chicken haiku promised for Raleigh Review scholarship donors!