d.i.y. Using Poetic Words

Gabriel-Joseph-Marie-Augustin Ferrier (1847-19...

Gabriel-Joseph-Marie-Augustin Ferrier (1847-19140, “Oberon and Titania” (Photo credit: sofi01)

Using words (always a challenge) from the Poetic Words list at flipside records and writing tools d.i.y. list (very cool–check for yourself) at naming constellations, I present an odd little poetic tale.

And never, since the middle summer’s spring,
when dying tree roots whispered endearments

into their pillow books of litterleaf,
embroidered with white mycelia and
intricately illuminated with black shoelace,
never, since we grasped those seeds, double-blind,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind
about ripe earthstars unhoused from their universal veil

now burst in expectant anxiety, until passion spores,
culturing our nightly fairy-ring in joyous coral constellations,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb’d our sport.
Your German merlin garrisons devotion’s amateur stipe,

drowning it in righteous oysters and dark, gilled mandate stews,
which unpalatable, thicken the very air in humid constraint.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
hark the merlin’s screams of fungus unbefitting,

straw housed yearnings without root or trellis
abated with raptor eye and talon, heed them and
As in revenge, have suck’d up from the sea
jellied regret and lobster shackles, and still

deeming thus inadequate chastisement, they breathe bitter,
Contagious fogs; which, falling in the land,
infect each ancestral cell until

stirring memory to lachrymose psychedelia,
Hath every pelting river made so proud,
so impassable an azure cataract

between our hearts, migraine deepening,
until only a merlin ascending regards
That they have overborne their continents.

 (Italicized lines are from A Midsummer Nights Dream Act 2 Scene 1)

Sharing this older poem at the imaginary garden with real toads for Shakespeare’s birthday prompt.


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, Poetry, Prompts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

114 Responses to d.i.y. Using Poetic Words

  1. ayala says:

    I enjoyed revisiting this lovely poem! I hope all is well.

  2. Mary says:

    I do hope you will take the time to write a new poem for the dVerse prompt. This seems to be one from your archives.

  3. Very fun how you wove in so many Shakespeare quotes, Yousei. You may want to add on dVerse comments that you posted an old poem so people will know they are in the right place!

  4. Oh. I feel like I’m dancing with Puck on a midsummer’s night.. probably seeing stars from Magic mushrooms or something like that.. I enjoyed the ride a lot..

  5. claudia says:

    nice… shakespeare is cool and i like how you embedded his lines here – and how you have cooked up a very interesting verse as well… i once went to see summernight dream and it started raining halfway through… so i never saw the close…smiles

  6. “pillow books of litterleaf” what a beautiful phrase. You have captured the Bard’s voice within your own. Beautiful piece!

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Susie Clevenger,
      Shakespeare is a long, long time favorite. Your comment is the highest praise, and I’ll endeavor to reach his heights every time. Thank you for reading and flattering.

  7. Margaret says:

    Sorry- I realize my previous link to my blog was broken. I think it is fixed.

  8. Margaret says:

    into their pillow books of litterleaf,
    embroidered with white mycelia and
    intricately illuminated with black shoelace,

    I think your whole poem could be painted beautifully …. such rich words, and yes, litterleaf is astounding!

  9. Susan says:

    I think this is my first trip to your blog, Yousei. I’m glad you decided to post at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads, but I ask you to link back to there in an obvious way. I can not see that you acknowledged the prompt. Further, the prompt calls for a new poem and I see that this one has traveled for many months now. I would love to read a new response from you.

    That said, I want you to know I join the many commentators in enjoying your poem. It took me into new territory and new (to me) vocabulary, but its tone is in keeping with the confusion and lack of control of the characters in the forest on the Midsummer Night. Dream like and surreal in its images, it made me float like the White Rabbit and Jefferson Airplane. I like the “dying tree roots whispering endearments” in the fairy ring night and from there on, just about everything. And I like mushroom soup too. Bravo.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      I apologize for not reading the prompt properly. Many of the links at dVerse had posts responding to your Shakespeare prompt. I thought, “Ah, I have a post flirting with Shakespeare.” I’ll link back to your site, and I’ll work on a new Bardic concoction just for you.

      I appreciate you reading the poem despite my shortcomings. If I remember correctly, I used a specific word list (thus all the mushroom references) in creating this poem. I can get carried away trying to use every word, but in this instance, I think the finished product was on the magical side. Thank you for sharing it with me and commenting honestly. I’ll have something new for you soon.

  10. wow and aloha Yousei Hime – yeah, it took me longer to get back to this than i thought it would (typical).

    wow. again. i have to confess you were way beyond me on this. i understood what you were doing but could not follow it. …until, i dove in deeper and deeper and read and reread your work more and more.

    eventually i got the picture of what was happening and how it came about – and yeah – wow.

    i explored the flipside records blog – which i found way fun (and naming constellations too). i initially had ideas on the post i first landed on in flipside records. that is to try that list. i didnt get to it. altho it’s still floating in my skull. i did get to one in the last day or two. …altho… it is not in a form i’m willing to publish. yet.

    working on that however lead me to a much greater understanding. of what was going on, why it was going on and what you are doing in this work (which is why all the wows are in this comment).

    i also remember two things (actually more) about my understanding Shakespeare. or rather when i first began to understand. one – it was hard for me. i had a great high school teacher for english however – she could read aloud IN old english and she knew what she was doing in English. and she read old english to the class (seniors and juniors). the sound of those readings was amazing. …altho it did not make understanding any more easy for me. well. not exactly. it was studying his work from a multitude of angles that lead to my break through. i remember that wow, now, a long time after (thank you Mrs. Garner).

    i just now, after studying what you did here, after cruising flipside records site and after thinking about two different word lists and attempting my own poem from a list – broke through in your poem much as i did long ago with Shakespeare’s work. i reread your poetry for the 97th time (okay not quite that many but almost) and it wasnt the words that made sense it was the sense of the words together that made sense. …if that makes sense.

    that is what clicked in place for me, because i remember the same thing happening after time after time reading Shakespeare’s work and realizing i still did not understand the words word for word – but i got the bigger understanding picture. the over all understanding that soaked through from the words and suddenly – WOW. i got why his work is so amazing – because that is exactly how it works (at least for me). the words lead to a saturation point where the meaning has soaked and leaked into me to such a point that the sloshing around simply overflows into meaning. yeah. it’s like that for me. line by line, sentence by sentence i do not understand. putting it all together in a flow and wow – it becomes an understanding that amazes me – how did that understanding get there? wow. no doubt tho, it IS there. and it is WOW that it is there.

    …just like reading what you’ve done here. wow. Wow. WOW. and that goes right along with way cool.

    what i’ve done (and yes it’s not completely worked out yet) is not on par at all with what you’ve done here). i know that. it’s just that doing it helps so much on my way to understanding what you’ve done – that it’s become way fun. …and it’s all the things similar to it that i’ve attempted at other times that helps – the coming at it from a multitude of angles – that gets me to the point where i can at least understand what you’ve done.

    way cool. way fun. way wow. mahalo and aloha.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      I couldn’t help but smile at your comment. Your excitement and delight in discovery are so evident. I understand what you mean, about how experiencing Shakespeare is part of understanding the play. I’ve always felt his writing is best when it’s performed. There are things the performance expand that the written word alone cannot hope to achieve. Given that you are a visual artist first, I can understand why repeatedly approaching something until it manifests on the the stage of your mind is the way to glean meaning. I’m certain that there are poor cells in our brains, sloshing away to make meanings behind the scenes. We think we don’t understand, and then they get it and flip on that light switch for us. Under-appreciated, aren’t they?

      Thank you for all the effort you put into my reading my writing. I’m glad you were able to find something in it worth digging for. I hope you’ll share your efforts when they’re finished. I’m curious to see it since it is coming from the visual side of the spectrum.

      Enjoy the process. That’s where most of the fun is, right?

      • aloha Yousei Hime – yes exactly – the process of doing. life. art. and the other 10,000 fine things on (and off) this planet that we explore. i have a lot of sloshing brain cells. you are right. i need to give them credit more often – plus take them out and spin them down a few more pathways to fun and digging until those light switches beam me up on high. or maybe i just need to get going on a 30 Days of Haiga page – it’ll soon be September. i wonder what Shakespeare might have done with haiku (no, i am not going to attempt it – i will leave that up to you)??. fun on. aloha.

        • Yousei Hime says:

          Shakespearian haiku … I’ll think about it. I’ll admit the idea is intimidating. I’m looking forward to your month of haiga. I’ll do what I can to follow along. Work has been so busy. A good thing but draining away my writing energy. I’ll find a bit more though. 😉

          • aloha Yousei Hime. yeah I know how life and the 10,000 things can swarm. no worries on 30 days of haiga. cool if you can play. first take care of yourself tho.

            yeah I gave Shakespearian haiku some thought for 35 seconds or so. then thought: What was I thinking?.. You could do it if anyone could. or of course he could have. heck it’s challenging enough in our own words and our own English.

            yeah work busy is a good thing too. aloha.

    • “the words lead to a saturation point where the meaning has soaked and leaked into me to such a point that the sloshing around simply overflows into meaning” … A perfect explanation of Shakespeare … poetry … life.

  11. “pillow books of litterleaf,” what a beautiful phrase!

    • Yousei Hime says:

      laura hegfield,
      Welcome and thank you for reading. I loved that word from the list, “litterleaf.” When I looked up what it meant, that phrase soon wrote itself. Look forward to your next visit and comment.

  12. ayala says:

    A feast of words, puzzling a bit but great to read. 🙂

  13. lucychili says:

    intense feelings. i like to imagine the trees running their fingers or roots through the whispering leaf litter

  14. leahJlynn says:

    Clever and beautifully written I just adored reading every bit of 🙂

  15. poemsofhateandhope says:

    Fascinating poem- a mash up of the traditional and the modern…. To make something post modern! Interesting concept to write a piece in this way….I can’t lie and pretend I understand what it means! But some awesome wordplay nonetheless

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Welcome and thank you for reading. I’ll admit its foggy in meaning. It was a bit tricky balancing Shakespeare’s borrowed lines, mushroom terminology, and the twist of my own story elements. I appreciate your honesty and I’ll revisit it sometime and see if I can lift the haze with a bit of editing. 😉

  16. hedgewitch says:

    Really delightful piping here, indeed–I love the jellied regret and lobster shackles. You definitely have imbued a powerful enchantment in this dreamscape.

  17. It was a long drive through the praises to find the comment space. Simply delightful.

  18. Geoff says:

    Simply a magical and totally absorbing ride … thank you!

  19. Irene says:

    Majestic and mesmerizing. I mean, lines like “stirring memory to lachrymose psychedelia”..you did well. An inspired Shakespeare “mash up”!

    • Yousei Hime says:

      😉 I know he’s not for everyone (my friends oft remind me of that point), but I read him and think, “How can one who loves words not be stirred, even aroused by this language?” Intellectually, for me, there are few turn-ons bigger than Shakespeare.

      • Irene says:

        Well, I’m aroused. 😉

        • Yousei Hime says:

          I thought you might be like that. Anyone who can smile in understanding reading Murakami will soul-hum reading Shakespeare. More proof we were meant for friendship. 😉

          • Irene says:

            I thought you didn’t like Murakami.

            • Yousei Hime says:

              Not as much as you did, that’s for sure. But the book mellowed in memory (I did finish it, in case I never mentioned it). That book is proof its worth struggling through to the end for a greater reward. When I was done with it, many strands came together. I decided I liked the main character alright, though I adored others much more. The Greek tragedy connection was a definite bonus; I loved seeing how he reworked that. I really can’t explain why but I found the novel very intense. I knew I’d need time before attempting another of his. I do want to read more though. Struggling to identify with the main character at the beginning of the story and taking much longer to read it than I normally do with novels, these were two things that influenced my initial reaction to the book. Sorry if I sound wishy-washy (I probably am a little), but I’ve thought about the book off-and-on since reading it, and that definitely says something positive about Murakami.

            • Irene says:

              The wind up bird chronicle then, when if you’re ready. I finished reading all his novels so I’m kind of over that phase, if it was a phase. Clearly that last poem sums up where I am, looking for a new author love. I’m on Goodreads as well. S’pose you are too.

            • Yousei Hime says:

              I’ll look for that when I’m ready for it–Bradbury and Shakespeare are ahead of him right now. I am on Goodreads but don’t make very good use of it. With work and blogging, it’s fallen to a wish list mainly. Fun even so.

            • Irene says:

              I’ve only just gotten into updating statuses on Goodreads (mainly what I’m currently reading) and Facebook. I should go back and read all Shakespeare, don’t think I’ve read all his plays.

            • Yousei Hime says:

              I haven’t read them all either, nor all his poetry. The book I left behind, monstrous as it was, had everything in it, in rather small print, of course. Still a nice goal to have. Shall we make that our winter reading plan?

            • Irene says:

              Yes ok. It’s a worthy goal. I’ll have to go look if I have a book of Shakespeare. Obviously you read Midsummer’s Night Dream. My memory is wonky. The most memorable is Hamlet. I don’t think I even read King Lear. Jeez. I’ll keep you posted.

            • Yousei Hime says:

              Deal. Maybe we should tackle some rather than all. There are a few. Much Ado About Nothing is one of my favorites. You can watch it after you read it too (Branagh and Thompson).

  20. */-)ndr¡X* says:

    Loved it my friend!! Is a piece of art.
    Poetry is like music for my soul and life, thanks for sharing it! 😀

  21. blancaster99 says:

    Hey, looks like this was a pretty successful exercise. A writing buddy and I once decided to use the same kind of bread (organic seed bread) in our novels and that was pretty fun as a point of discipline. In groups we’ve written on the same topics–never a duplicated story. I wonder how using a word list in a story would work as an exercise. Hmmm.

  22. Raven says:

    I enjoyed the lavishness of this … and her sight. Might attempt some haiku with her list. 😉

  23. God save me I wish I could use language like that.

  24. What a poetic rabbit you are! Loved this.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Polly Robinson,
      Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed it and appreciate your comment. I liked your writing too, but I’ll confess it made me twitchy. 😉

      • heh-heh, that’s good, it was meant to! In the nicest possible way, of course 🙂

        • Yousei Hime says:

          Polly Robinson,
          Of course. It really was fascinating. I knew some of that, but not most of it. I had also heard the later stage meth users really suffer from that condition, to the point of tearing at their own skins. I’ll be over to read your Villanelle soon.

  25. punnypalaver says:

    a magical little tale–I was entranced!

  26. Some very sumptuous combinations here between the Shakespeare and the gorgeous words I leave starry eyed and satiated :)! Magnificent!

    • Yousei Hime says:

      I wrote this before seeing your Poetics post at dVerse, but I thought it still approached the prompt in spirit. Thank you for letting me share it with you.

  27. ManicDdaily says:

    Just terrific – you’ve used all sorts of poetic words and phrases – and not just Shakespeare’s–a very fanciful, whimsical, fantastical piece, chockfull of legend and fern. k.

  28. I’m plucked like a juicy plum plummeted to a meaty world of whimsical winds~ gorgeous !

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Plucked but not to pie, plummed or meated, but set to sumptuous feast of dance and desire. Thanks for reading and commenting so cleverly. 😀

  29. angie werren says:

    oh, this makes me feel like trying to write again.
    I love the earthiness in your words, mingled with a splattering of his — seems like I could scoop them all up and smell my way into the globe. (thanks for the nudge. nudge away, anytime). 😉

  30. Yousei–this is so beautiful! Your words spun with Bill’s so seamlessly. I will say there is a definite Elizabethan tone here, but the images are so very much your own. Beautifully done. By the way, you somehow turned fungal reproduction into something stunning 🙂

    • Yousei Hime says:

      When I read the definitions of earthstar and universal veil, I got very excited. Unless one really knew mushrooms, and I don’t, one would never suspect their terminology sprouting through this poem (only a couple of obvious places). I love the older way of speaking, adore Shakespeare, so trying to match the patterns was hard but not impossible. The match isn’t perfect, but I think it’s respectable. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I had so much fun writing it, I really wanted to share it. Glad you were one of the readers.

  31. What a feast ~ I like the weaving of the Shakespeare lines with your coral constellation words ~

  32. brian miller says:

    ha. very classical feel to this…probably attributed to your borrowed words….kinda glad i do not get passion spores…that sounds painful or gross at least…smiles….as much as drowning in oysters….smiles….well spun and some interesting ways you used shawna’s words…

  33. This is so like reading Shakespeare> Really liked this:
    To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind
    about ripe earthstars unhoused from their universal veil
    Lovely piece and, thanks for visiting me 🙂

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Glad you liked it. If you felt Shakespeare’s influence in it, then I did well. Of course, I borrowed lines (the italicized ones), but the rest are mine. I enjoyed my visit to your place very much. I followed your link to hear the word spoken by a Welshman . . . oh my. Makes me happy I just have to learn ridiculous, inconsistent rules for English. Thank you so for visiting and sharing.

  34. Misky says:

    That is just splendid! Splendorous! Thank you mentioning that you also did Joseph’s prompt, as I’m so glad to read your poem today.

  35. This blends right in with the borrowed language in italics. These are my favorites:
    “culturing our nightly fairy-ring in joyous coral constellations”
    “hark the merlin’s screams of fungus unbefitting” 🙂
    “stirring memory to lachrymose psychedelia”
    “so impassable an azure cataract between our hearts”

    I’m reading it again now. This is so gorgeous: “when dying tree roots whispered endearments”

    I like this too: “intricately illuminated with black shoelace”
    And this: “double-blind … about ripe earthstars”

    I love all different lines the second time through: “straw housed yearnings without root or trellis
    abated with raptor eye and talon” (“straw housed yearnings” is brilliant … what a great descriptor for anything that falls apart easily or blows apart under the pressure of wind … or under the eye of a dangerous would-be attacker of some sort [raptor eye and talon])

    “heed them and jellied regret” … I love that the poem works with the quoted lines read along with … but also when they are removed.

    Geez … “drowning it in righteous oysters” … “infect each ancestral cell”

    You KILLED Joseph’s prompt. Seriously.

    “about ripe earthstars unhoused” … So I think this poem is a fairy forest tale on one level, but it’s also about people in houses crying/whispering/writing into their pillows/journals/memory books. Anyone out of their comfort zone (emotionally, mentally, or physically) could be an unhoused earthstar. Now if ripe, then perhaps ready to bear fruit, produce something wonderful, begin a new stage of life.

    “now burst in expectant anxiety” … Perhaps given the chance to begin again, this person becomes nervous and afraid but also excited.

    “Your German merlin garrisons devotion’s amateur stipe,
    drowning it in righteous oysters and dark, gilled mandate stews,
    which unpalatable, thicken the very air in humid constraint” … A magician (of love? a friend? a parent? a partner?) is trying to protect the one with the “amateur” (weak) stem … wobbly knees, not quite ready for this new endeavor … is this for protection or control? religion and rules … which the “stipe” cannot stand—the thick air and constraints are making this person unable to breathe

    so this righteous (mean) merlin is being such a controlling bully that he has brought the “amateur” to tears and confusion

    “so impassable an azure cataract
    between our hearts” … what a beautiful way to describe a waterfall of tears and pain between two people

    “continent (adj.) — exercising or characterized by restraint in relation to the desires or passions and especially to sexual desires” … is this the definition you’re using here? 😉

    I’ve actually looked up a “modern text” version and this is what it says:
    “Since the beginning of midsummer, my fairies and I haven’t been able to meet anywhere to do our dances in the wind without being disturbed by you and your arguments. We haven’t been able to meet on a hill or in a valley, in the forest or a meadow, by a pebbly fountain or a rushing stream, or on the beach by the ocean without you disturbing us. And because you interrupt us so that we can’t dance for them, the winds have made fogs rise up out of the sea and fall down on the rivers so that the rivers flood, just to get revenge on you.” … So if this is how you are using the final line, maybe merlin is saying the rivers/waterfalls/tears are a form of revenge.

    I think poets are fairies dancing for the wind.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      You make me smile. I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for including the modern language version. It was great to see how you read it, similar and yet varied from my own thoughts while writing. Think I’ll indulge in rereading your comment. Thanks for the words, the made a huge difference in the crafting.

      • 🙂

        I”m ready for a bunch of your haiku. I’ll try to pick you some pretty words to work with for tomorrow’s list.

        • Yousei Hime says:

          I’ll do what I can. 🙂 Hopefully I didn’t burn myself out on shrooms.

          • LOL … I’d be surprised if you didn’t! That looked like it took a lot of mental energy. I’ll let you have a week off. 🙂

            • Yousei Hime says:

              Thanks sweetie. I might still give it a shot, at least with a few. I did spend about three days working on that d.i.y. with your words. It sure felt good. I really love Shakespeare. I think I’ll read some of his plays after I finish my Bradbury summer. Wish I hadn’t left my Shakespeare plays book in Michigan. 😦

  36. nonoymanga says:

    Yousei your words are so magical i feel like i’m surrounded by fairies!!! Cheers Nonoy Manga

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