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A poetry challenge

At the Guardian, John Hartley Williams posed a poetry challenge. Essentially, the assignment was to fracture a proverb and combine it in a poem with at least seven of the following words: beat, mother, fashion, ghost, pool, dance, disturb, knife, croak, shimmer.

The contest caught my fancy, and I gave it a try. I might have missed the deadline, though, unless they cut me some slack for being on the West Coast. Anyway, here’s what I came up with.

Whom God loves his bitch births pigs
A quien Dios quiere bien, la perra le pare puercos
By Thomas Christensen

Light danced round the chicken bus
Wobbling from the village of
San Juan Sacatapequez —
It shimmered from the knife of
The crone who had fashioned a
Blanket around her chest. I
Thought her a nursing mother
Until the blood pooled across
The dirty fabric that had
Clasped the pig to her body.
The beast’s eyes caught mine, disturbed,
It seemed, to be exposed at
Such an intimate moment.
El que quiere baile, the
Woman murmured, que pague
Musico. To dance to the
Beat of this world, sometimes
You have to slay the piper.

In the second line I don’t much like the word wobbling. Can anyone suggest something better (needs to be two syllables)?

(I don’t like “shimmered” either, but it’s one of the assigned words.)

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1 Comment

  1. Light bouncing? Light breaking? The thesaurus isn’t much help with alternate words for wobbling. But I rather like the poem especially the alterations between the English and Spanish. When I was looking at Chicano poetry, trying to find something to post for my images of 16th St., I read a lot of English/Spanglish/Chicano poets and realized how difficult it is to do this at all well.

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