Saturday, April 21, 2018

NaPoWriMo Day 19: Not All Girls Play With Dolls

Prompt: Write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story, describes the scene outside your window, or even gives directions from your house to the grocery store. Now try erasing words from this paragraph to create a poem or, alternatively, use the words of your paragraph to build a new poem.

Once again, this was a surprisingly more difficult prompt than I'd expected - perhaps a pounding migraine had something to do with it. The hard part wasn't the poem, it was the paragraph that precedes the erasure of words.

I am a HEMA (Historial European Martial Arts) swordswoman in training, and earlier in class, my assistant instructor had brought in his buckler and new Regenyei arming sword. He let me play around with them both, much to my delight, and I ended up writing my paragraph about that particular little interaction. 

The poem ended up in two forms: the original erasure poem intact, keeping all the line breaks, and the one in more conventional form. I couldn't decide which one I like better, so I kept them both, although there's a certain movement about the first which I rather am taken by.


I have Farhan’s buckler in one hand and his new arming sword in the other. He’s right. The balance is amazing, and even on me – five foot nothing of temper, clumsiness, ambidexterity and chaos – it feels right. It’s exhilarating. Power, science, art, seamlessly integrated into a Regenyei blade that handles like an extension of my arm. The buckler’s heavier than I expected. A well-placed punch with it, and I could break someone’s face. That’s ok with me. It used to matter once, that I wasn’t flawless femininity and skin. Magazines, relatives, and friends all took turns reminding me how far short I fell from grace – later on, boyfriends beat it into me with words and fists. It doesn’t matter now. I’ve got Farhan’s arming sword and buckler, and the boys are pointing out that my light grey outfit matches my weaponry perfectly. Shield maiden, one of them says with a big grin. I’ll take shield maiden over princess any day.


                         buckler in one hand                           arming sword in the other       
                                          ambidexterity and chaos
                        exhilarating   power, science, art                                 a Regenyei blade
                                                                                 buckler’s                                                                     well-placed punch                                       could break someone’s face                                  
                                                                                                              flawless femininity and skin
                                               doesn’t matter now                                       
                                            the boys
                                                             shield maiden, one of them says                            
                  I’ll take shield maiden over princess any day


buckler in one hand     arming sword in the other
ambidexterity and chaos
exhilarating     power, science, art     a Regenyei blade
buckler’s well-placed punch
could break someone’s face
flawless femininity and skin
doesn’t matter now
the boys   shield maiden, one of them says
I’ll take shield maiden over princess any day


Jane Dougherty said...

Hope the migraine's gone. I get them too so I feel for you. Your erasure poem is a distillation of the longer piece, which I suppose might be the point of the exercise. I suspect not—it's just the way it turns out. Have you tried doing this with a piece someone else wrote? I can't get it to come to anything at all.

Shuku said...

Thank you Jane! Migraines are HORRID things. I often wish them on deserving evil ones. I've done an erasure poem before, in a slightly different manner - though it was erase, then add repetitive words and leave the spaces as is. I've not tried it with someone else's work, but it might be an interesting exercise. I think it's seeing how far the distillation differs from the original (there were a few I saw that did differ quite greatly), but I s'ppose it also depends on the prose?

I'll have to do this again when the migraine isn't ringing a full damn peal of Grandsire Triples in my cranium (although I am working on Day 20, which is actually rather fun in the rebelliousness of it, it'll get posted soon.)