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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Ode to Delos

I thought I would go out on a limb here and post one of the rare poems I've written. While visiting Delos, Greece this summer I was struck by the windswept, barren beauty of the deserted island. The winds at the top of the island's mountain must have been 75-80 miles per hour, but I kept pulling out my notepad to jot down little phrases of inspiration. When we got back to our boat I pulled them all into this little poem. For all of you rhymers out here- I can't rhyme to save my life. I think I must have missed out on that gene.


Ancient staircase to the gods, rambling up the mountain,
lilting, cobbled, strewn with orange lichen.
Bridal veil of a wedding long since past,
steps loose, cracked, weather beaten.

Cracked terracotta trampled into earth,
pale cactus luxuriating in a corner.
Pot shards crunch under feet,
cicadas' arguments pierce the wind.

Delicate periwinkle blossoms triumph,
o'er parched and gritty thorns.
Spiked purple stalks clamber up long-dry wells,
faces burned by the sun.

Forlorn columns stand eternal sentry,
merciless winds defacing statues.
Silent lions brace themselves,
witnesses to time's mosaic.

So, do you write poetry?


Amalia T. said...

I like the forlorn columns standing eternal sentry. You have some great images in there.

I did write poetry. Until I took a creative writing class that focused on it. Suffice it to say, the class turned me off from poetry completely, and I haven't looked back. I barely even read it anymore, which is too bad, because I kind of enjoyed it at one point. Certainly I enjoyed writing it. I don't even trust myself to critique it, anymore.

Maybe someday I'll recover from the experience of that class, but until then I'll just stick to noveling. :)

Stephanie Thornton said...

Aren't those pictures great? They're not mine! :)

I have some fantastic pics from Delos, but my new computer doesn't want to take any pictures from my digital camera- only our phones. It's a little inconvenient, to say the least.

Amalia, your poetry class sounds like my draw and design class. That's when I decided I didn't want to be an animator for a living. Drawing was my creative outlet and once I was forced to do it for a grade it killed the creativity. I don't think I'll ever take a writing class for the same reason.

Amalia T. said...

My writing classes for fiction weren't nearly as impossible to enjoy. I felt a lot more confident in them, but by the time I was done with college, I really also felt that I had wrung my professors dry as far as how much I could learn from them. There's definitely only so much you can get from the classroom, and if you write genre instead of literary fiction, there can be a real stifling of voice, in my experience. In the end, I got a lot more out of my critique group than my classes.

And the imagery I was referring to was in your poem :) but the pictures are nice too.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Hehehe... I wasn't even thinking of the imagery in the poem. Silly me!

I think historical fiction is interesting because it's one of those genres that lends itself to literary fiction fairly easily. Well, maybe I shouldn't say that- there's a fair deal of historical fiction out there that isn't literary. But I think it can lean that way much easier than some of the other genres out there.

Hmmmm... That was off-topic. Oh well!

Stephanie L. McGee said...


Someday I'll go back to my poetry. Just not right now.

Susan R. Mills said...

Very nice. I used to write poetry when I was an adolescent. I recently found a notebook of my poems in a box with all my high shcool memorabilia. It was hoot. I was definitely a rhymer at the expense of making no sense.

Valerie Geary said...

Lovely. :) I dabble in the occasional poem, but never with the intention of publication other than on my blog! I like to use it as a way to play with language and imagery. But mostly they end up terrible. :)

Terresa said...

Greece sounds divine. My fave bit of your poem, "Spiked purple stalks clamber up long-dry wells, faces burned by the sun."

I traveled to the UK last month and it was just as much a cultural journey as a literary one. It inspired many poems and essays and future settings for my WIP.

PS: My poetry doesn't rhyme, either. Not my style. :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I tell my students poetry is MEANT to be personal - it doesn't matter whether it rhymes or doesn't rhyme, as long as it somehow voices the emotions inside you and creates the vehicle to take your readers there, too. Your poem has some beautiful visual imagery, Stephanie. I like the silent lions bracing themselves.

Yes, I do write poetry in addition to my kidlit. Some of my favorites are over on my blog. :)

L. T. Host said...

Nice poem :) Makes me want to go to Greece even more!

Just to chime in, my class that I take at my community college is GREAT. It's not really a class at all, more like a writer's critique group. You turn in word count for a grade, and the teacher reads it, but she doesn't grade the pieces themselves, just that you wrote them-- and you have all semester to turn stuff in when you want. It's very liberating. I love my teacher and classmates, they're all really intuitive and excellent writers.

Stephanie Thornton said...

LT- That's a great concept for a class! Kind of a like a math teacher who doesn't grade on right answers, but just on the process.

Shannon and Terresa- I'm glad you agree about the rhyming thing. I've tried, but my rhyming poems never make sense.

Stephanie L. McGee said...

My poetry rarely, if ever, rhymes. I've tried it before and it just comes out feeling forced. There's so much freedom in poetry these days that it really doesn't matter whether you rhyme.

Amalia T. said...

Yeah, I didn't get graded on my actual writing either. We got graded on participation and the short stories we read and did short analysis of. Mostly it was workshopping, which was great.

Gary Corby said...

I love it (of course...how could it be otherwise?).

Delos is one of those mystic places.