Whatever I say comes out all wrong, tongue-tied I fall mute and down to my knees, ear to the ground
Whatever I hear can not be understood, It all sounds like gobbedly-gook, as if the world started to speak in tongues
What ever I taste carries with it a bitterness, lingering on the taste buds offensively
Whatever I see gouges out my eyes and siphons the blood from my arteries
Whatever I feel doesn’t matter, I have become uncomfortably numb in my ignorance
Whatever I read brings tears to my eyes and desolation to my heart, how many perished, how are we deceived?
Whatever I write never seems good enough, words so inconsequential, meanings so obscured
Whatever I believe is not the same as you, and that is not ok with you, but I am not afraid to admit that I don’t know
Whatever I know, it’s never enough, my ignorance is immense, my thoughts insignificant
Whatever I do is not good enough, feeble attempts, inexpert and unacknowledged
Whatever it is, there is you and I, sitting on the couch, sipping tea, watching Sherlock on the BBC
Whatever may be, Whatever may come, we remain.
And now for our (optional) prompt. Anaphora is a literary term for the practice of repeating certain words or phrases at the beginning of multiple clauses or, in the case of a poem, multiple lines. The phrase “A time to,” as used in the third Chapter of Ecclesiastes, is a good example of anaphora. But you don’t have to be the Old Testament (or a Byrds song) to use anaphora. Allen Ginsberg used it in Howl, for example. This post by Rebecca Hazelton on the Poetry Foundation’s blog gives other great examples of anaphora in action, from Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech to Homer Simpson. So today, I challenge you to write a poem that uses anaphora. Find a phrase, and stick with it — learn how far it can go. Happy writing!
My little guy had a play date tonight and didn’t have time enough to compose poetry.