Wednesday, June 9, 2010


One of the hardest experiences I had with writing turned out to be the most rewarding. As a final for the Poetry Writing Workshop course I took, I had to write a poem that fit a number of elements into it, including:

• Four beats (8 syllables) to the line (can vary slightly)
• Six lines to the stanza
• Three stanzas
• Use run-on lines between stanzas one & two, and two & three
• Use at least one foreign word somewhere in your poem (besides “faux”)
• Use clear English grammatical sentences (no tricks), although fragments are okay. All sentences must make sense within themselves
• Insert yourself somewhere in the poem (“I...”)
• Use at least one simile (comparison using “like” or “as”) and at least one metaphor in the poem
• Use at least one phrase of dialogue (in quotes)
• Use 5 nouns, 5 verbs, 5 adjectives or adverbs from a given list

I struggled for a bit with the restrictions but then it came to me-I would write a poem about a lazy day of fishing-something I don't get to do often, but would like to. Once I got the image in my mind, the words flowed out. Though it wasn’t completed without numerous revisions, it felt like a puzzle that I was putting together and once the outside edge was done, the rest of the pieces just kind of fell into place. I felt excited that I could follow the given form that the whole class was assigned but still create this piece that was unique to me. Based upon the reception I got from the class and instructor, it was the kind of piece that was a lot of hard work to write but the final product made it seem like it was effortless.

La Muerte De Los Pescados

Yawning, I watch as lazy drains
into the mosquito chewing
above my elbow. The slack line
on my pole sways like old lady
Simpson’s Buick, tires swapping
tar for soft shoulder. Dents reveal

that more than mosquitoes have kissed
her bumper. Land dwellers at risk,
the fish are safe for now. The faux
lure confirms my belief that there
is a conspiracy between
fish and bait, exposing the hook

to give me away. The dense heat
exhausts. “Time for a siesta.”
Nodding off, the pole tugs, the reel
spins like a turnstile, line careens
through the residue of pollen.
As it zips, music to my ears.

-Steph Milligan 04-23-08

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