Wow! I can’t believe we’re now two weeks into NaPoWriMo!
Today’s featured participant is Judy Dykstra-Brown, who wrote thirteen unfortunate fortunes (plus one fortunate one), for Day 13’s fortune cookie prompt.
Our poet in translation for Day 14 is Egypt’s Mohamed Metwalli. The Brooklyn Rail has published a number of his poems in English translation: see here and here. Further poems are available from Jacket Magazine. You can also check out a recording of Metwalli in conversation with the poets Maged Zaher and Zhang Er, discussing their work and the problems of censorship.
And last but not least, our (optional) prompt! Today’s prompt comes to us from TJ Kearney, who invites us to try a seven-line poem called a san san, which means “three three” in Chinese (It’s also a term of art in the game Go). The san san has some things in common with the tritina, including repetition and rhyme. In particular, the san san repeats, three times, each of three terms or images. The seven lines rhyme in the pattern a-b-c-a-b-d-c-d.
Here’s an example san san from TJ’s blog, Bag of Anything:
Drinking the driven storm, the sturdy apple
Dances, between sky and earth, her spring-young leaves.
Knowing no purpose, knowing only season,
Her spring-young leaves, storm-driven, dapple
Earth and sky; all that my eye perceives
Dances. My eye drinks in the apple’s spring-
Young leaves, her dance that has no reason:
Only the storm, driving each dappled thing.
As you can see, three images or terms are repeated: the driven storm; the spring-young leaves; the dance, and the seven lines rhyme per the pattern given above. I hope you have fun giving the san san a try.
Terrors in the night
Stricken with panic, fumbling for a flashlight
Moonlight dancing, conjuring demons, playing tricks with my mind
Panic stricken, running, escaping, out into the night
Demons conjuring armies of shadow puppets, my mind to embark
A lonesome figure, chanting, his mission to accost
The dark is stronger than the light, succubus is disinclined
Panic strikes, demons conjure, too late, my mind is lost