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NaPoWriMo : Day 29 – Taming of the Shrew

And now for our penultimate (optional) prompt! The poet William Wordsworth once said that “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” For Wordsworth, a poem was the calm after the storm – an opportunity to remember and summon up emotion, but at a time and place that allowed the poet to calmly review, direct and control those feelings. A somewhat similar concept is expressed through the tradition of philosophically-inclined poems explicitly labeled as “meditations,” – like Robert Hass’s “Meditation at Lagunitas,” the charming Frank O’Hara prose poem, “Meditations in an Emergency,” or Charles Baudelaire’s “Meditation.”

Today, I’d like to challenge you to blend these concepts into your own work, by producing a poem that meditates, from a position of tranquility, on an emotion you have felt powerfully. You might try including a dramatic, declarative statement, like Hass’s “All the new thinking is about loss,” or O’Hara’s “It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so.” Or, like, Baudelaire, you might try addressing your feeling directly, as if it were a person you could talk to. There are as many approaches to this as there are poet


My poem for today

My ears are red, like I’ve had ‘peri peri,‘ flaming hot

My heart’s racing; like a thief been caught

I know, I know, it’s my mistake

Damn! My ears and my heart just won’t behave

I went late to class and got told off

‘Nothing wrong with that; there’s no need to scoff!’

I mean the teacher’s really sweet

And she told me, really neat-

“Its difficult accommodating, if you’re not in time”

I totally get it but this little ego of mine-

bruised; offended she created a ruckus, her arms and legs flung out

A tantrum she threw; I wished to shout-

‘Accept it and move on. You know you were wrong;

Grow up! You’d have done the same, not too long

ago.’ She heard me, not a whisper, not a whimper; but she didn’t budge

She needed time to nurse the hurt; said, she bore no grudge

Calm, I sat in class; a storm brewing within

In stubborn silence, my hands busy; painting

Deep inside, a simmering concoction of grueling emotion

She has her ways of extortion

But I knew better-

The roles had changed; I was no more the expert, the mentor-

I once used to be; guiding and directing;

Here I was a student; a novice learning

My past achievements, my age, my position; a culprit, a tormentor

Spewing lava from a hereto sleeping volcano; Oh! The sorcerer

My ears still red, I bid the teacher goodbye

I packed my tools, I had no guts to meet her eye

Frightened of the ‘spoilt child’ that wasn’t afraid to show

Hurriedly I stepped out, my head hung low

When in the tranquility of my room I sat

Bruised ego and I had a spat

It took me time to explain,

Alas! But in vain

I gave her time to understand

But she remained adamant in her stand

It made me vulnerable; I grew enraged

She roams free; she has me caged

The Shrew, I must tame

Or have none other, than myself to blame.

  • peri peri – spicy Portuguese sauce

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