29 September 2010


A Word, a Question, a Poem and a Deadline Walk into a Blog

letter W metal type ampersand letter Q
number 4
Thanks to Crosses and Cradles
for being our September host!!!

And now you know my dark little secret . . . The real reason I wanted another host and a two-week deadline for submissions was that I was planning to slide in at the very last second.

(Well, not planning, but guessing that I would. And wasn't I right!?!)

Remember that our October host is Salome Ellen. Please e-mail her your words and questions when she puts up the announcement post on the first Wednesday of October. (Dylan, I can forward her what you sent me, if you like. =))

Word: Gleaming
Question: Why does the air smell so good after a thunderstorm?

Nature insists on antiphons
from her choirs of water, air and earth
A thunderstorm is just one form--
The labour of a longed-for birth

And in her ancient vesperal
This violent call to evensong
Begins a psalm of gleaming calm--
Air sweet with silence all night long

And before you say, "That's it, Enbrethiliel???" We waited two weeks for this??? . . . I have a funny story that's worth all that waiting.

At least it's funny to me. To you, it might be yet another reason I shouldn't be hosting this game again until I unfrazzle myself.

Bat, you might notice that I'm also using your word. It wasn't because I felt particularly moved by the sound of "vesperal"--although I suspect that original submitter had that very reason. My sad, silly, probably stoned reason was that I gave both of us the same word and didn't notice until today . . . when I linked up my poem . . . and then went to read yours.

What followed was fifteen minutes of scrambling through the "W&Q 4" e-mail entries, trying to figure out which poor word didn't get a partner for this dance.

It was gleaming.

Now, it took me long enough to write those eight humble lines, and I didn't trust myself to improvise a third verse on the spot, so I simply took out one of my original words so that "gleaming" could take its place.

And now the error has been rectified.

But oh, how I miss the original line, "Begins a psalm of puddling calm" . . .

Thanks again to Dauvit for being such a great host and to everyone else for playing! I've held off reading your own poems, but I'm going to make my rounds now. =D


Sullivan McPig said...

Man , you're so good at this that even substituting a word doesn't matter.
I myself missed the deadline on this one for entering and I will decline from joining next month as we'll probably be busy with painting and carpeting our house.

Dauvit Balfour said...

Wow! I really like this one, and I don't think the change of words does it much harm, what you lose in image (little enough) you gain in rhythm, methinks.

antiaphrodite said...

Deadline? There is a deadline?

I'll have it up later. I think.


Belfry Bat said...

That is a funny story! Sounds very much like several silly things I've done over the years --- but you folks don't need to read about them.

I think the poem is well worth the wait, even without the story; grand and full of wonder. Sometimes if you stretch them out they only sag. That reminds me of another very brief verse:

No power on Earth, however great
Shall pull a cord, however fine
Into a horizontal line
That shall be absolutely straight.

(This one was written almost by accident by an engineering professor many years ago. I think the first line got tweaked a bit.)

Paul Stilwell said...

I take back my apology.

It doesn't need to be longer.

I love it, the idea and the language. You really make me picture how alive it is in that silence that comes after. But also to have it as nature being awakened to it, as to vespers, by the prelude thunder, is just beautiful.

Enbrethiliel said...


Sully: Thank you! =)

We'll miss you next month, too, but I hope you can join us for the November round. Have fun renovating your home! Remember: houses need love, too! ;-)

Dauvit: Thanks to you as well! =) You're right that "gleaming" works much, much better than "puddling." I still like that image, though . . . A gleaming puddle! =P

Antiaphrodite: Um . . . yes, there's a deadline. =P I'm looking forward to reading your poem. =)

Stilwell: Since it's your question, I'm glad (and kind of relieved) that you're satisfied with the answer! It was a great question that I didn't expect to be so challenged by, and I'm happy with the results as well. Thanks for submitting it!

Enbrethiliel said...


Bat: Yes, this is one of those which would sag if it were any longer.

And I love it when scientists are also poets! =D Physicist Richard Feynman had one easy to remember:

I wonder why, I wonder why,
I wonder why I wonder.
I wonder why I wonder why
I wonder why I wonder.

Ah, punctuation! =P

There's a longer one by him that I loved so much I copied it into my high school Physics notebook, but it's not half as pithy and I can't remember it at all now. =(