Catching Up on the Postacrds

Finally, the inevitable happened: I skipped a day. Which, considering it was the first time in 39 days consecutive days of writing a poem on a postcard a day, it’s not too bad. I am, however, making up for the blip today, with both a calligram for day nine of NaPoWriMo, and an abecedarian poem for day ten. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I’ll be on the road tomorrow with probably no access to the internet, I’ll have to skip another day. But I will make up for it on Sunday!

So, then. For yesterday’s “visual poem” prompt I decided to make a little butterfly calligram. Unfortunately, however, it appears that the original doesn’t look much like the butterfly poem I had in mind (more like a misshaped fly, perhaps). Ooops!

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So I tried to recreate it with the Word Art function of Word, to make it more legible, and also to give you a better idea of what I actually intended to make:


I have a special obsession for lepidoptera, and it so happens that Vladimir Nabokov also had a soft spot for the little fluttering creatures. As I was thinking about how best to make the calligram, I was reminded of his poem “In Paradise”, which, although not of the visual kind, features some really striking imagery (I mean, come on, his angel is “a semi-pavonian creature”!) which I adore.

And today’s prompt – to write an “abecedarian poem” – reminded me of Edward Gorey’s emblematic “The Gashlycrumb Tinies”, which is possibly the best alphabet poem I’ve ever read. Here’s my own (and I have to apologise again for the fact that the scanner decide to cut out some of my handwriting):

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The Writer’s Primer

A is the steeple of the church where my thoughts enter unarmed
B is the shape of your lips, wordless and unguarded
C is retreating in the shell of my dilated nights
D is a convex mirror wherein my selves are reassembled
E is the rack upon which destines lie embalmed
F is reaching for hope when no one is around
G is the chair that rocks me to silence
H is the step just one foot too high
I is the wicker man too heavy to carry
J is the tail shed before I was born
K is the shadow I often recede in
L is the seat with a view to the sea
M is my name when I exit pursued by a bear
N is the bend of my knee
O is the shape of a breath drawn in winter
P is the white flag whenever I falter
Q is the trace of my lingering doubts
R is a kick in the sand
S is the body twisted in languor
T is the gate between worlds
U is the fosse where Atlantis is hidden
V is the base of your throat
W is the knot of illicit hands under tables
X is the rage to be deeply alive
Y is the spin of the phrase
Z is the roundabout journey of lies

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