Reverie Seven: memento-hunting

Joseph Harker of naming constellations has put together some amazing and challenging prompts lately.  I’m already a devoted fan of his poetry, but these prompts . . . let’s just say this is the first one that said, “Go ahead!  I know you can do this.”

Use the link above for all the details in how to create a memory-filled memento of words.  Here is mine:

Looking Through the Windows

on a coffee table in the forty window house
a steel ball wears a path around a wooden maze
up one staircase
to a freckled centaur’s room, still lingering notes of “I’ll Fly Away”
down the back staircase
rubbing the rabbit netsuke, rosewood smooth and signed
around the corner of thoughts
where mother’s creeping peach cobbler cools
to ivory noted “How Are Things In Glocca Morra?” on monochromatic keys
beside the piano, underneath the stairs
a door to a secret room, a passage to an envelope
a house within a house
heavily wooded and walls of windows
looking out, looking back, looking forward
rabbit emerges
to find the escape at the end of the labyrinth
leaving poems across out-of-tune keys
baking peach scented sighs and regrets to feed
the ghost of a lost constellation
and trusting in the year of her birth

About T A Smith

Just one of the literacy scholars on this site who wants to explore writing in all its complexities.
This entry was posted in Free Verse, Interesting Blogs, Poetic Rabbit, Poetry, Prompts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Reverie Seven: memento-hunting

  1. tigerbrite says:

    I just love finding secret doors and secret rooms. I still have my favourite rabbit too:) I didn’t find the fairy queen though.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      It took me a long time to find the queen, and that fey creature is never certain, never categorizable. You meet her, and you know it. You are forever changed, but you cannot say just how or just why or how much. Thank you for stopping in and sharing in the story.

  2. Wonderful chain of symbols.. and truly tied to that labyrinth I never managed… that steel ball always went down the rabbit hole for me. quite fantastic.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Björn Rudberg,
      Welcome. So glad you stopped in to read and share your thoughts. The labyrinth may not have been your forte, but I’m sure you excelled in other games which would put me to shame. Very happy you enjoyed my writing. Look forward to seeing you again.

  3. Lindy Lee says:

    Rich as a billionaire with symbolism; fine fancy ride on the Yousei Hime train. Long time since I’ve commented over here at your place. Lack of comments does not mean lack of interest. I don’t know how some poets keep up-to-date here on WordPress. They must never sleep…

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Lindy Lee,
      Welcome back. 😀 This poem is indeed full of images. As to keeping up with comments and reading, I’m with you all the way. It’s hard, but we try and live our life with the rest of the time. Here’s to more writing and less sleep. 😉

  4. Sheila says:

    magical and so many symbols that I wouldn’t know where to begin even if I knew your whole life story. enjoyed this.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Welcome. Because so many of the images are recognizable, even personal for some readers, the symbolism will work differently for each reader. Yet it does work. That is one of the things that delights me the most about writing and reading, all the different meanings that are created by all the different readers. Thank you for taking time to read and fashion your own with this poem.

  5. Not only did I get lost in memories about waking life but also dreaming. I have a collection called Cryptic Architecture that is based in these dreams. This poem creates its own magic, mirroring the levels and layers of the game, of memory, of experience – so wonderfully done!

  6. I knew what game immediately! Did you also have the one with the large steel ball and the two steel rods set on the incline? and mother burning something in the kitchen…simple, good memories.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      I remember the steal balls, but I’m not sure about the rods. What I remember looked very much like the picture. I really loved that game–precursor to video games, right? I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. Thank you for sharing in the fun.

  7. tashtoo says:

    A wonderful weave. All senses engaged, and the spirit of childhood revisited. Mementos, that maze…I am now awash in my own memories! Thank you 🙂

  8. I remember this and rereading it in relation to the symbolism prompt made it even more meaningful. Glad you linked it.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Thank you for your prompt and for rereading. I still enjoy this one which suggests I did a better job on it than many other writings. Thank you for the opportunity to share it again.

  9. This is quite the poem. Reminds me a bit of the chaos in Alice through the looking glass. The symbolism in this is everywhere. Rich in it. I love a good maze though 🙂

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Mazes make great symbols as well, don’t they? I enjoyed the prompt that provided the recipe for the poem. You should take a peek, if you haven’t already. Thank you for reading and sharing. 🙂

  10. Claudia says:

    very cool…love the baking of peach scented sighs…and intriguing images..the forty window house….monochromatic keys..fascinating..

    • Yousei Hime says:

      You probably read this when I first posted it, but I appreciate your reading and commenting again. It’s filled with personal symbols, so I’m not certain it meets today’s criteria exactly, but it will do. The Alice echo was a partial intention, but the fact that I have lived in two very “windowed” houses (and of course the rabbit persona) make the echo stronger. Thank you again for your words.

      • claudia says:

        smiles.. enjoyed the re-read indeed… and funny that the peach scented sighs were the part that stood out for me again… very cool on the symbolism.. it’s cool to weave part of our lives and parts of ourselves into our poems..

        • Yousei Hime says:

          Welcome back. Thank you for re-reading. Weaving part of one’s life, you do it so deftly every poem you write. Happy to share this one with you (more than once). 😉

  11. Thomas Davis says:

    I am so happy to read a full-length poem that I feel as if I’ve landed in a river of stars flowing up the mountain and spilling into the silver face of the moon, Yousei Hime.
    And what a great poem this is! The moment I read:
    a steel ball wears a path around a wooden maze
    up one staircase
    to a freckled centaur’s room
    I knew I was, in your words, “so cold no fire can ever warm me.”
    Part of what makes your poetry so special is the fire of its imagination, dancing always on the edges of the surreal, but still caught in the everyday of images common to life lived.
    Joseph Harker is an excellent poet, though I don’t really understand the prompt idea so many of your follow. My beard is probably too white, but if Joseph brings this quality of writing out for you, let the moonbeams dance!

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Thomas Davis,
      “Full-length poem” . . . why, whatever do you mean? Just teasing. In some ways writing haiku is like practicing Czerny’s piano exercises. They are shorter than most traditional pieces, yet build skills necessary for playing more difficult classical music. Yet they are still interesting and melodic in their own right, at least to me they are. I like both, just as I like both short and long poetry (short stories and novels for that matter).

      As to using prompts, I think I’m just out of practice observing and contemplating the outside world. I tend to spend so much time in my head, that I miss the detail that spark writing. I’m improving though. Today, I captured a bluebird and was happier for it.

      Thank you for sharing my writing and your thoughts. I think of you and your wife often as I write now. You’ve both become inspirations to me.

  12. rdl says:

    love this:
    rubbing the rabbit netsuke, rosewood smooth and signed
    around the corner of thoughts
    where mother’s creeping peach cobbler cools
    and this:
    rabbit emerges
    to find the escape at the end of the labyrinth
    leaving poems across out-of-tune keys
    baking peach scented sighs and regrets to feed
    the ghost of a lost constellation
    and trusting in the year of her birth

    quite wonderful

  13. Shawna says:

    These are my very favorite parts:
    “a freckled centaur’s room”
    “creeping peach cobbler cools”
    “leaving poems across out-of-tune keys
    “baking peach scented sighs”
    “the ghost of a lost constellation”

    Beautiful work!

  14. jinksy says:

    underneath the stairs a door to a secret room, a passage to an envelope a house within a house

    This is so evocative of the place where we all store memories.. I loved your writing..

  15. Brendan says:

    There’s an established psychiatric therapy called EMDR used to treat traumatic stress cases, as well as victims of child abuse: Basically the patient starts by naming a bad feeling (and rates its intensity), and then watches this device where lights move across and back, somehow emulating the movement of the eyes in REM sleep. Soon there is a flood of images that come from all over the house of history, cascading out of all sorts of locked places. Somehow afterward the bad feeling isn’t as intense, as if re-engaging the memories in that fleeting way of the dream — or this poem — cleaned out the psychic gutters by some measure. I felt harrowed in the best sense of the word reading this poem, somehow encountering an entire history as the speaker watched the ball roll round the maze of that old house of childhood … Fine work … B

    • Yousei Hime says:

      That’s fascinating. It’s like a form of hypnosis. I’m so glad you shared this with me. It makes sense. It’s almost like staring at my computer screen thinking about memories to write from did some of what that treatment does. Of course, many of those memories shared in the poem are good ones, at least the early ones. I’m very grateful to have shared this with you. Thank you for your comment.

  16. The details in this poem makes it come alive, and that is the stuff of which memories are made.

  17. Sheila says:

    interesting. I must go check out that prompt – you have made me curious (smiles)

  18. brian miller says:

    wow you really did well with this…using the game as the container as well for the memories as well is a great touch….i even found some of my own in there….

    • Yousei Hime says:

      I know this has happened to you too–you stumble on a framework for the poem and everything just seems to fall right into place. I’d like to claim I planned it that way, but it took me a few lines to see the possibilities. I’m so glad you some of it resonated with your own memories. That’s what makes writing powerful. 😀 Thank you so much for letting me share it with you.

      • brian miller says:

        smiles…i remember this one…really tight example of the symbolism…again i love the framework of the game and how you use it to drive this…also the maze and the minotaur…dont know that i caught that before….

        • Yousei Hime says:

          Because its so densely packed, it has those hidden corners. I forgot about many of the images myself. Sometimes too many are distracting, but I think they work in this one. Thanks for taking the time to read and share once more.

          • brian miller says:

            third time is a charm….smiles…i def used to play with one very similar to the one in your picture….takes dexterity for sure….dont fall into the wrong hole…and getting that ball to do what you want is not so easy…smiles.

            • Yousei Hime says:

              You’re a sweetie to come back and read again. That really was one of my favorite games. I got pretty good at it and always wished it had another level. Happy you came by.

  19. Amy Miller says:

    Lovely, detailed images — a feast for the senses!

  20. viv blake says:

    You have woven a magical tapestry of memories, that I shall come back and appreciate again. Joseph’s prompts seem daunting at first, but seem to come good in the end. Yours has, anyway.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      viv blake,
      Thank you. I enjoy Joseph’s writing and posts in general. I have wanted to write to his prompts, but lack of time and confidence have been the villains here. I’m so glad I could share this one with you. I’m pleased with it, truly.

  21. ladynyo says:

    This is a tremendous poem. It’s complex, layered, but I could follow it through. The imagery is like magic, but also simple and common enough to know. The imagery was so enchanting I didn’t know where to ‘lay my eyes’ but it weaves so well into one solid poem.

    This was so beautiful. And haunting. I’ve lived in a house with that secret room under the staircase…in fact last night, way before I read your poem this morning, I dreamed (can see it now) of a small attic apart from the house somehow. Mystery, indeed.

    Lady Nyo

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Lady Nyo,
      Those blessed with a favorite house have always found some magic in it, right? Children see that magic easier than we adults, I think. I’m so glad you liked the poem. It fell in place fairly easily, so much so that I was afraid it was too personal and not accessible. You’ve relieved me on that point. I’ve really enjoyed the new tales, though I’m late in reading them. I took secret pleasure in seeing the moon rabbit in the one image you used on the most recent post. Looking forward to hopping over for the next one. 😀

      • ladynyo says:

        LOL! Hopping over for the next one! LOL!

        Yes, the Rabbit is quite the cultural object in the Moon in Japan. I found other pix that were more Rabbit and were lovely.

        As to your poem, it affected me emotionally..and deeply. I grew up in a pre-Revolutionary War house, with all sorts of secrets behind panels, up chimneys, and behind mantels. It was haunted indeed, as I experienced when I was 12.

        I loved your poem and it went deep. It is an amazing poem, one of the best I have read in a long time…

        Lady Nyo

        • Yousei Hime says:

          Lady Nyo,
          Ok … you’re my new favorite person. You laughed at my joke and flattered me shamelessly. Need another rabbit-in-waiting? Seriously though, I’m very happy the poem touched you. One of the most magical things about writing, and poetry in particular, is that words from a brilliant poem can cast a spell and words from a modest poem can as well. It all depends on that secret ingredient, the reader. Thank you so much for being such an appreciative one. It’s one thing that keeps is writing, n’est pas?

          • ladynyo says:

            Absolutely, Yousei Hime! You got it.

            Poetry weaves such magic on the heart and mind of a reader.. Exactly….a spell!!

            And we know about spells, right? Any venture into Japanese Mythology will get us caught up….captured by the EARS!!! (as in rabbit ears….LOL) by those kami!

            I deeply appreciate a good poem and a good poet. I am so new to this medium, to writing in general, that I am just head over heels in love with most of what I read, and I am also deeply impacted by the same.

            “Need another rabbit-in-waiting?” LOL! YOU have just given me a great idea for another story in this saga….a Tengu for Lord Nyo and a rabbit in waiting for Lady Nyo.

            The monsters are moving in!!!

            Lady Nyo

            • Yousei Hime says:

              Lady Nyo,
              Keep foxes in mind as well. They are notorious in Japanese mythology, just as the tengu.

            • ladynyo says:

              there is a wonderful book: “Fox Woman” that must be read. Beautifully written, have you read it?

              Lady Nyo

            • Yousei Hime says:

              Lady Nyo,
              The one by Kij Johnson? Yes! I loved it. I always thought that minus the sex (which would make it difficult to script) Miyazaki might make a wonderful movie out of it. I believe she has other books out too. I’d like to read those as well. What about the The Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn? Your poems remind me a lot of those books.

  22. Oh man, we used to have one of these in my house. I enjoy how you took the game and turned it into a metaphor for memory, growth, and the life path… loved seeing all the moments and focal points that have populated your life. Glad to see you jumping in on these too. 😉

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Weren’t those great! I remember spending so much time playing it. I didn’t plan to use it as a framework for the poem, but it became evident pretty quickly that it should. Ironically, that favorite house in the first part really did have two staircases. The one I live in now has one three tiered internal staircase, a ladder to the loft, one garage staircase, and two exterior staircases (main floor of the house is “second” floor). This poem is definitely one I’d like to revise later when I can look at it with fresh eyes–more emotion, more connective tissue for the readers. I’m so glad I could share it with you. I’ll do what prompts I can. Until summer comes, kid passing classes comes first. *huge sigh*

  23. slpmartin says:

    Quite an interesting format to use…enjoyed what you did with this.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Thank you. It was different but not really difficult. I think the difficulties came in making it cohesive and communicating emotion. Glad I could share it with you.

  24. cloudfactor5 says:

    WOW ! this is amazing like Raven says. Fantastic imagery ! So many layers and such depth here!
    This poem speaks to my imagination and says, come back for another helping of dessert!

  25. Raven says:

    This is an amazing poem. Interesting … this is the second time in one or two weeks, the mention of “mother’s warm peach cobbler, or was it grandmother’s last go around.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Yes, I guess I have cobbler on the brain. Better cook one, 😀 . Glad you enjoyed the poem. I really liked the exercise, but I’m not sure I invested it with all the emotions Joseph was looking for in mementos. Still it was a good start. Thanks for stopping in for dessert.

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