Our video resource for the day is this lovely animation of Lucy English’s poem, “Things I Found in the Hedge.” One wonderful thing I’ve learned in researching our videos for the month is that poetry seems very often to inspire filmmakers, painters, and musicians, just as movies, art, and music inspire poets. Art likes to make more of itself!
And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always). Today’s prompt takes its inspirations from Christopher Smart’s “Jubilate Agno.” Fundamentally, this is a poem about a cat. It’s also a structurally very straightforward poem – every line begins the same way, and is about some aspect of the cat at issue. But from these seemingly simple ingredients, Smart constructs a poem that is luminously, joyously weird. Just as English’s poem listing things found in a hedge renders the familiar strange by making us focus on each, individual item in the hedge, Smart makes a humble housecat seem like the most wondrous thing in the world. Today, I challenge you to write a poem that uses the form of a list to defamiliarize the mundane.
Wait! It’s in here, somewhere
The things in my handbag
A pair of spectacles, an empty spectacle case
A pack of face tissues, a hand sanitizer
A soft pink lipstick, a rose-red blush
A blue paper folded with vermilion
Dried red flowers from our visit to the temple
And a tissue rolled into a ball with a fossilized gum
that needs to be thrown
A yellow pocket book with a mirror on top
A key chain with the Eiffle tower and a
bunch of keys dangling; one for the car
sold last November. A pen with the cover missing
A boarding card, four movie tickets
‘After the quake’ by Haruki Murakami,
and a spare napkin for ‘those’ days.
Credit card receipts, their numbers long faded
A visiting card browned with the mud
of the Dead Sea; ‘For women by women,’
written on it and a number, nothing more.
Tiny black tweezers, a nail file, a needle
and a spool of dark brown thread
For the ’emergency.’
A few coins, some scrunched up 100 rupee notes
An empty chocolate wrapper,
A small tin of hard-boiled candies
A pearl earring, the one I grieved for.
Two pink hair clips with bows and two
Neatly folded, ‘five hundred,’ rupee notes
Demonetized, three years ago!
P.S. O.k. maybe it’s in the other bag!
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