Friday, April 16, 2010

Things to Do If You Are the Moon: An Original List Poem

I’ve written a collection of poems titled Things to Do. Most of the poems in the collection are list poems. I’ve posted a few of them—including Things to Do if You Want to Be a Snowflake, Things to Do If You Are a Bell, and Things to Do If You Are a Pencil—at Wild Rose Reader. I’ve submitted the collection to just one publisher (in 2006)—who rejected it. In her rejection letter, the editor wrote the following:

There are some lovely poems here—I especially like “Things to Do If You Are a Mole.” But the “things to do” theme struck me as a bit loose. I felt I had to make big leaps moving from King Kong to nature to a pencil, and found a little puzzled by the whole.

Yes, the “things to do” poems ARE about various and sundry things: a bus, a snail, an acorn, the grass, a mountain, the rain, the ocean, a castle, a grandfather clock, scissors—and King Kong. After I received the rejection letter, I tried to think of ways to keep all the poems that I’d already written and still make Things to Do seem like a more cohesive collection. That’s when I wondered if I should organize the poems into different categories—and include three or four poems in each category.

Since I had two poems about objects in space—Things to Do If You Are the Sun and Things to Do If You Are a Star—I thought it might be a good idea to include a poem about the moon…so I wrote Things to Do If You Are the Moon. But I didn’t like it! It was too prosaic. No matter how much I fiddled with it—I didn’t hear any music. So I put the poem aside…for a long time.

Then, on Wednesday, while I was taking a shower—the beginning of a “things to do” moon poem popped into my head. I worked on the poem on Wednesday and Thursday. It still needs some work—but I think it’s much better than my first moon poem. Here is my second attempt:


Live in the sky.
Be bold…
be shy.
Wax and wane
in your starry terrain.
Be a circle of light,
just a sliver of white,
or hide in the shadows
and vanish from sight.
Look like a pearl
when you’re brim-full
and bright.
Hang in the darkness
and dazzle the night.


Jules has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Seven Impossible Things.


Amy L V said...

Writing in the shower works for you, Elaine! "Be bold.../OR be shy./Wax and wane/in your starry terrain" - this is so darn moony. What a neat idea for a collection - good luck forming it in this new way.
Happy Poetry Friday,

Tabatha said...

I like "wax and wane/ in your starry terrain," too!

Nice job, Elaine.

Jules at 7-Imp said...

I love it! And why is it that our best ideas always come in the shower?

Bridget R. Wilson said...

A great poem, Elaine. I, too, compose some of my best poems in the shower. Good luck getting the collection published. Your pencil poem was one of my favorites in "Falling Down the Page."

jama said...

Love this! Great idea for a collection. Clearly I need to take longer showers :).

Tricia said...

I love this! I wish my ideas came to me in the shower, but they always seem to come in the middle of the night.

Thanks for sharing this.

Linda said...

Elaine, your poems are fantastic. That editor will kick herself someday when your collection is a best seller!

Grace Lin said...

I love this poem and REALLY want you to sell this collection! send it out again!

Laura Evans said...

Elaine, this is a lovely poem. I read somewhere, there are (more negative or positive)(sorry I can't remember which kind) ions in the air when you take a shower. The ions stimulate thinking. So many people do get their best ideas in the shower.

Good luck with placing your book!


Elaine Magliaro said...

Thanks, everyone for all your nice comments. Sorry I didn't respond sooner. I've got a respiratory infection--and spent most of the day away from the computer resting.

There must be some kind of poetic magic in the air when water sprays down on me. I got an inspiration for another "things to do" poem when I was taking a shower this afternoon. Maybe I should take several showers a day when I'm suffering through a period of writer's block.

Amy L V said...

Definitely have a tile desk built into your shower!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

I like this very much! I get good poem idea starts in the shower too. It's really hard to scribble them down with wet hands though so I often loose them again. I really like how your rhyme scheme and line breaks work here. Seems very "moonish".

Marjorie said...

Elaine, it's lovely -I too hope you can find a publisher for your collection. I rather like the idea of the only linl between the poems is that they are all some kind of list - yes, do send it elsewhere!

And I hope you're feeling better.

Mary Lee said...

I like what Laura said about "placing" your book. Or, I think, finding the proper home for it!

And about the shower, all I can say is, "Me, too!" and thank goodness for our new hot water heater!!!! :-)