The Sunday Whirl,, with wordle prompt #22, a baker’s dozen of, “raw, sheep, verve, yearn, fingertips, omen, muse, mirror, strengthen, opal, corridor, thrust, and thread,” arrived while I’m in the middle of reading Poemcrazy, by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge.

Margo Roby recommended it to me, saying it is one of her favorites. Because my last few postings have been somewhat less than joyful, I thought I’d try some of the techniques from Poemcrazy to lighten my verse. While it worked to a degree, I’m finding it more difficult to embrace the poetic freedom offered in the book than I thought it would be.

It appears I’m pretty set in my ways, and collecting magic words, looking at them in an entirely new way, and manipulating them into new thoughts will take more than a couple days. It will be worth as many attempts as necessary.

By Mike Patrick

Flickr image by *julia

Though tentative most of the time,
our relationship survives
on omen threads of awkward silk,
which turn so often into lies.

My time is wasted pleasing you.
You’ve had your fill of offerings burnt?
I place them on your altar raw.
There’s just one thing I finally learnt:

a muse can be a fickle bitch
with a gnat’s attention span.
You screw my sleep by counting sheep
aloud. Without a word you’ll strand

my fingertips above the keys
and steal my weakened verve away.
It’s done no good to idly yearn
to strengthen verse another way.

With callous disregard for art,
you thrust me down gray corridors
of cloudy dreams and distressed hopes
with promises of opal doors,

which open onto golden shores;
but lead instead to more dead ends
or mirror mazes where I’m lost
for days of waste, my time I spend.

As deadlines loom, I cry for you,
because you are my writing crutch;
the keystone to my poetry,
which sometimes glows beneath your touch.

A keystone is a wedge-shaped block used at the top of an arch—the most important block—allowing the arch to hold weight and making it one of the strongest shapes in human architecture. It is what keeps the structure from collapsing.

This entry was posted in A Wording Whirl of Sundays, Humor, Iambic, Muse, Poetry, Rhyming, Tetrameter and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to KEYSTONE

  1. vivinfrance says:

    I think we’re on the same wavelength with this one – in theme if not in style! I like yours very much, and am seeing the new influences

  2. Janet says:

    Mike, what can I say? This is so fantastic! The ‘a muse can be a fickle bitch
    with a gnat’s attention span.SO TRUE! I love ‘opal doors’ , ‘mirror mazes’ ‘the key-stone to my poetry’. Stunning, really, truly! Worth the wait.

  3. Mary says:

    Oh, Mike, do I ever agree with your words that ‘a muse can be a fickle bitch.’ But we just keep writing on, don’t we? I enjoyed your perspective.

  4. brenda w says:

    Right away I loved “on omen threads of awkward silk,” and the rest of the piece is filled with rich phrasing. If it struggled against you, it is certainly worthy of the fight. My muse sometimes has the attention span of a gnat, but so do I. Does that mean she comes by it honestly? ha!

    Thank you for your dedication to the whirl, Mike. I appreciate your participation a great deal.

  5. Irene says:

    Mike, What an eloquent tribute to the muse! And done with the right humor.. I appreciate the architectural symbol much.

  6. I likey! I can see a change in your writing and it is good. You got me with this stanza:
    With callous disregard for art,
    you thrust me down gray corridors
    of cloudy dreams and distressed hopes
    with promises of opal doors,

    This is yummy!

  7. Mary says:

    I have another comment about your introduction. If your poems come less than joyful for a time, so be it. I don’t think a person can write in a way other than they feel at a particular time. i don’t think a poet can force joy any more than he/she can force sorrow or sadness. What comes comes. Anyway that is my philosophy.

    • Mike Patrick says:

      You are right, of course, but I can start writing and have a piece turn on me. The down side is in having them go sad. I’m feeling each word as it appears, if only for a few minutes. Looking Up started out as upbeat as its title, but went south without warning me. By the time it was finished, I couldn’t talk or see. That elusive muse should at least give me a little say in a poem’s direction.

  8. siggiofmaine says:

    I enjoyed how you applied the words of the wordle…
    my tooth/face ache has stopped the brain waves for now…
    maybe tomorrow…interesting phrases from your post,
    gnats attention span being my favorite…had forgotten all
    about that one.
    Was looking for Poemcrazy, by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge.
    I need a hint where to find it…remember the title but not when or

    Enjoy your posts…
    ☮ Siggi in Downeast Maine

  9. siggiofmaine says:

    Thanks…will do the same thing…sounds like what I need right now.☺.
    ☮ Siggi in Downeast Maine

  10. Mike, you stay the course. Your poetry is meant to be what it’s meant to be NOW. In time, your life will take different turns and you’ll have different impressions to share. I really get a lot from you unflinching look at that “fickle bitch” and am profiting as well from your journey. Keep ’em coming, my friend! Amy

    • Mike Patrick says:

      I’m hoping my starts, stops and turns are beginning to iron out. The writing has to continue, it has become my first addiction. We will be carpooling because I enjoy my time traveling with you.

  11. Deborah says:

    WOW! That was a journey, brilliantly written. I just loved it!

  12. Susannah says:

    “a muse can be a fickle bitch
    with a gnat’s attention span.”

    That really made me smile!

    I loved –
    “With callous disregard for art,
    you thrust me down gray corridors
    of cloudy dreams and distressed hopes
    with promises of opal doors,”

    Seems that’s what happens! I recognise the feeling. 🙂

  13. Mr. Walker says:

    Mike, a delightful read. I think we can all identify with your struggles with your muse. We’ve all been there. I love the imagery, especially how you’ve worked in so many things that are architectural in nature, the keystone, of course, a wonderful way to end, by the way, but also the altar, gray corridors, and opal doors – and what a great contrast those two are. Thanks.


    • Mike Patrick says:

      Thank you, Richard. What with following along with your fifth-grade class, doing some personal reading, and finally starting to pay attention to Viv, some of the loose ends are coming together. Still, for every step climbed, a thousand remain.

  14. Nanka says:

    Enjoyed every line here, which flowed silky smooth Mike, and it really is a cornerstone to excellence!! Your words never fail to bring that smile on my face!! 🙂 Love it!!

  15. Mike, as always a well penned poem, and the first two lines of the third stanza made me laugh and sigh at the same time. How I can relate to those words.


    • Mike Patrick says:

      You would think they would treat us better. My original poem, which I scrapped, was about how all the Greek gods (and their offspring) disappeared after they made themselves irrelevant–except for the muses, which hang on through the devotion of poets. If we ignored them, they would become a footnote in Greek mythology.

  16. Very nice write from you Mike.

  17. akweelife says:

    Okay. I do like this one. I can relate to your feelings of frustration in trying to write, or create. I guess maybe I don’t understand exactly what is a muse. If you lose yours, then you will not be able to write? Then from where do the stories come? I’m going to have to think about this muse thing. I like your poetry very much. I’m sorry I have none to offer you in exchange. Maybe my muse is just not a poet. 🙂

  18. This is really good. I could definitely relate!

  19. 1sojournal says:

    You had my full attention with,
    “on omen threads of awkward silk,”
    and I stayed for the sheer pleasure of your word choices and phrasing. One of the things I really like about the wordles is that they do force us to find new paths, explore winding corridors, and kiss that keystone again and again. I’m thinking that the ones that are a struggle, have a distinct value simply because of that. The muse is always there, but sometimes she speaks in sign language.


  20. 1sojournal says:

    PS, Mike, and sometimes even the sign language is Greek, lol. Threads of silk might be awkward in calloused fingertips. Take a tip from Neil and try your non-dominant hand. It opens new and unexpected corridors and the silk is far less awkward when it slips across smoothed fingertips.


    • Mike Patrick says:

      I use some techniques for switching from left to right brain, but writing with my left hand would be a waste of time. I can’t even read what I write with my right hand. It’s the keyboard or forget about it.

  21. Traci B says:

    Terrific poem, Mike! I like the humor and pathos of it, the enjambment, internal rhymes, everything I see you incorporating into your work. Well done.

    Oh, and you gave me an idea for a poem; I’ll have to see where it takes me.

  22. My muse was dead for sometime. I loved this. I like the tribute.

    while the instrument plays

  23. Cathy says:

    Love the raw feeling to the poem.

    a muse can be a fickle bitch – Lol my Muses are male , so when they are being bad I call them bastards and few other wonderful names.

  24. Pingback: HH22 – Bullseye « poemflow

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