Wednesday, April 19, 2017

NaPoWriMo 2017 - Prompt #19 - Body

The face - a part of the body that garners
much attention.
Today's prompt deals with the body.  It is something every person lives with, and so provides a powerful shared experience.  Yet at the same time, nobody has the same relationship with their body.  Bodies function differently from one another - some have chronic illness, others disability, some are optimized for sports, while others are honed to create art through excellent hand-eye coordination. Every body is just a body, and yet each is perfectly unique.  Each part has a form and function, and of course a body is far more than the sum of these parts.

Poets have long celebrated and castigated the body in verse.  A classic example is Walt Whitman's poem The Body Electric:

"To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round
his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.
There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them,
and in the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well,"

Also then there is Lucille Clifton's poem Homage to my Hips:

"these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips."

Prompt #19: Write a poem that features some aspect of the body.  Think about the senses, illness versus wellness, what the body can do and how it enables or inhibits how we interact with the world.  Imagine bodily experiences that create a strong impression, such as childbirth, running a marathon, injury in a car accident, a heart transplant, or the first dance at a wedding.  Also imagine experiences such as dissociation that take us away from our body.  What does it mean to "live in the body" or to be "grounded in the body?"  Think of the general concepts we have surrounding the body such as nudity, shame or pride, body shapes and sizes, how body relates to concepts of beauty, etc.  Consider these questions as you craft your poem.  

For something more specific, use a standard form to write this poem that includes both meter and rhyme.

As always I will be considering the body as my theme while looking at sci-fi-, fantasy, or horror poetry.

Did you use this or one of our other prompts?  You can post your poem in our comments, if you like.

Happy Writing!

Prompts crafted by:
J.A. Grier, Senior Scientist and Education Specialist, Planetary Science Institute
Amy Grier, Managing Editor, Solstice Literary Magazine
Image Credits: Venus of Arles CC 2.5 Wikimedia Commons

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Poem written in response to Prompt #19 - Body

Spinning bodily around downtown
chasing the rat race among the
Crowded alone ("with no particular
Place to go?"): the body seeking -
The mind subsequently reeling - needing
A quiet place to alight (a bench, say;
Or a comfortable, soft easy chair in
Some out-of-the-way little cafe): does
The body mind the mind - or is the mind
Now minding the body?

Finally the body decides (weary of
Traveling, whirling around and around in
a madcap frenzy, circular-nonsensically, rapidly going down that "road to nowhere")...

And now -
A chair;
At last -
Ah, yes; that's good: give
The soul (and the two, worn-
Down soles, besides) a chance
To rest...and you to breathe...
Sit down: take a load off...and
(Gazing through the nearby window,
Now, up towards the top of the
Towering glass-and-steel office
Building across the street...and
On into the drifting, high and
Hazy clouds beyond) (finally)...
The thoughts drift up...
into the loftier heights of soul...

- T.B.