Arrangement for eight feathers

Five feathers at dawn
in company with
two coins in the paper cup
gently squeezed
between a beggar’s knees.

Your shadow is more the apparition of a thought
nearly spelled
than the feather left behind by hawks.

O, woman of stiletto heels,
shawled you walk
syncopating V8 engines and a kiss,
moist with white feathers.

Not much was said while
waiting for the tea to cool
and feathers falling in the pond.

The caged bird doesn’t need its
feathers clipped,
but still sings in broken tongue.

Lending to the feathers,
hues of sunlight
refracted on a peacock rainbow,
as a cockerel subdued.

The blackbird’s feather is
a tongue, a woman clad in lace
and this poem spilled from rain.

The window panes as brushed
by fingertips divide your
shore from winter’s sleet and
a feather stained with blood.

© Emily Blincoe

© Emily Blincoe

Today I host MTB at dVerse, where I try to link the ideas behind Wallace Steven’s poem, Thirteen ways of looking at the blackbird, to the Picasso’s and Bracque’s postulates for cubism. If this sounds complicated just follow this simple recipe:

1. Select an object to write about.
2. Write separate poem about it and vary the perspective.
3. Arrange the separate poems to create a new coherence by using contrasts.

Please join us in writing your own cubist poem. The bar opens at 3PM EST. I have used an image from Emily Blincoe that come from Grace’s prompt on arrangements.

September 28, 2016

61 responses to “Arrangement for eight feathers

  1. A terrific challenge Bjorn ~ Each one a feathery delight and my favorites are 7 and 8 (I think this should be VIII). The approach leaves a lot to the reader’s imagination ~

  2. Thanks so much for introducing Wallace Stevens Bjorn. Absolutely loved it..esp V. Was so inspired to write, though am not so sure how I’ve done. Thanks a ton!!

  3. Fantastic stuff, Bjorn, I am a huge fan, and I loved the poem number 5 the most. Arranged like this, and in this manner of speaking, they really just push me to want to imagine this, and more so, reproduce it (via photography or a drawing, a painting or a composition.). I feel vibrance.
    I would love to try out this prompt by myself, but I am totally lost with time zones. If you find a moment, could you drop me a line here as to when we can post the poem and how much time do we have?

  4. Wow, sometimes I forget how international & cosmic our fellowship is; cool. Love your 8 mini-poems. I wrote 7, & kind of had a “feeling” about fracture & absurd perspective–at first wanting to go with e.e. cummings double speak, but later just jumping in with more normal verve & POV. I liked your #3 stanza; for it could easily be a stand alone.

  5. I love what you’ve done with the title and the way it’s linked to the structure of the poem, Björn. I spotted stilettos in there – great! That final stanza’s a beauty!

  6. It’s hard to pick a favorite from your remarkable listing…I can’t do it! I love every POV…your expansion on eight feathers is a good lesson for me to learn from…thank you! I’d like to play with this form again, Bjorn.

  7. really like part V – reference to the clipped tongue of a bird…to give it the ability to make more “human” sounds…or perhaps a reference to one who struggles with a new language…”caged” in a new culture/environment

  8. OH, I so love this bit of silence at center:
    “Not much was said while
    waiting for the tea to cool
    and feathers falling in the pond.”

    And I love that you have deconstructed Wallace even further, going from birds to feathers. Wonderful.

  9. If I just found this somewhere, I would have guessed it to be the work of Wallace Stevens. Very much along the line of imagism, deep looking at, seeing what is there. I looked back trying to pick a favorite. Impossible.

  10. This is very fine work indeed, Bjorn. Each part offers a view, an emotion, a thought. They harmonize very well, but VII just took my breath away.. Those lines i want for myself.

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  12. awkkkk. This challenge was about as difficult as I have ever seen. However, Bjorn, I love all the verses of yours….they ‘fit’ into a whole quite nicely…after flying around my head in a circle. LOL! You have deconstructed Stevens in a way that I finally understand him…at least in this poem. Bravo, my poet friend. You certainly have raised the bar.

      • LOL! Poor Issa! Well, it was a difficult prompt, but it certainly shook my head up. But I can see what you mean about Issa’s technique. I would have thought that was a stretch, but I see what you mean. Issa is so …all over the page….LOL! I love his abstraction, or perhaps that’s not the right word. To me, Issa is a imagist, I would guess if I had to put a label on him, but I’m treading ice here. I’ve been stuck in medieval Japanese poetry so long that I forget there is more poetry after. LOL! This will drive me back to Wallace Stevens for sure.

  13. Björn, 1st of all, this prompt is amazing. Thank you for sharing it and shaking me out of my navel-gazing funk.

    Now to your poem. I love the contrasting language in your words and the unique perspectives taken in viewing the feathers. Really great work!

  14. Lending to the feathers,
    hues of sunlight
    refracted on a peacock rainbow,
    as a cockerel subdued.

    Like the way you carried on the connection between each of them and at the same time the contrast is maintained as the one above. Not sure Hank did it ok or not! Thanks Bjorn! This is something new!


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  16. A difficult challenge Björn yet your flights of fancy have the easiest and lightest of touches – every cube a facet of feather rewoven in intricacy. I must revisit this genre til I get the hang of it!

  17. Wonderful prompt!! Have been in NC with grandchildren since TH – we return home tonight. Empty house now as all in school and at work so finally time to read. I especially like stanza’s 1 (the simplicity of this one and especially the detail of the two coins), 3 and 7 because of the vivid description of individuals with so few words. Well done!

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