Progressive Poem: Lines From Stories

This is something a bit different for me. I signed up to become one of many folks passing along lines of a poem throughout April. Thanks, Margaret, for allowing me to step into this massive poetic collaboration. (Here is a full list of all blogger/poets who are contributing to the effort).

I’ve been loosely keeping tabs on the growing poem, which early emerged as something built by contributions of quotes from different novels and books, allowing another layer of poetry/writing/curation on top of a collaboration. When I read Robyn’s addition yesterday (“Mud and dusk, nettles and sky – time to cycle home in the dark”), I sat and thought for a bit, and wondered how would I take that idea of a path home a little bit farther?

In my mind, I found myself with an image of Milo, from The Phantom Tollbooth, and then, I came across what I think is a beautiful one-liner that takes the Progressive Poem a little farther down its path.

See my addition at the end of the ongoing poem …

THE POEM (so far)

Where they were going, there were no maps.

   Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today.

Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!

   We have to go back. I forgot something.

But it’s spring, and the world is puddle-wonderful,

so we’ll whistle and dance and set off on our way.

Come with me, and you’ll be in a land of pure imagination.

Wherever you go, take your hopes, pack your dreams, and never forget –

 it is on our journeys that discoveries are made.

And then it was time for singing.

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain, paint with all the colors of the wind, freewheeling through an endless diamond sky?

Suddenly, they stopped and realized they weren’t the only ones singing.

Listen, a chattering of monkeys! Let’s smell the dawn 
and taste the moonlight, we’ll watch it all spread out before us.
The moon is slicing through the sky. We whisper to the tree, 
tap on the trunk, imagine it feeling our sound.
Clouds of blue-winged swallows, rain from up the mountains,

Green growing all around, and the cool splash of the fountain.

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden,

a bright, secret, quiet place, and rather sad; 
 and they stepped out into the middle of it.

Their minds’ libraries and lightning bugs led them on.

The darkwood sings, the elderhist blooms, the sky lightens; listen and you will find your way home.

The night sky would soon be painted, stars gleaming overhead, a beautiful wild curtain closing on the day.

Mud and dusk, nettles and sky – time to cycle home in the dark. 

(mine): There are no wrong roads to anywhere

(Note: I borrowed this list from Robyn, who wrote the line before me and added my reference to it). Here is a list of the sources for lines:

1. The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories, by Emily Winfield Martin
2. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
3. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
4. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
5. inspired by “[in Just-]” by E. E. Cummings
6. “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
7. Maybe by Kobi Yamada
8. Sarah, Plain, and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
9. inspired by Disney songs “A Whole New World” from Aladdin and “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas
10. The Other Way to Listen by Byrd Baylor
11. adapted from Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman
12. adapted from The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron
13. adapted from On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer
14. adapted from a line in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
15. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
16. Prince Caspian by CS Lewis
17. The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
18. Kate DiCamillo’s The Beatryce Prophecy
19. The Keeper of Wild Words by Brooke Smith
20. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
21. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

And now, the poem moves to … Margaret Simon (who started me off on this whole thing).

Peace (in the gathering),

  1. Hi Kevin, I remember reading your posts a long time ago when I participated in Tuesdays’ posts. Hope you are doing great! From a favorite book comes a special line for this adventuring group. It’s a terrific choice to read with all the poem. Thanks! (Yikes, I commented on the wrong post! – feel free to delete!

  2. I’m so glad the Phantom Tollbooth made an appearance in the poem. I thought I might use it, but had a different idea instead. What a great line!

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