The Witching Hour, a poem . . . and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

Poetry is not a profession, it is a destiny. Mikhail Dudan



Must be something about the witching hour,
magic after all, when from sound sleep I so
suddenly awake to the silent scratching and
rough shaking of a poem, uninvited but near
fully formed, dropping in from some unnamed
peculiar heaven or hell to disturb the languid
luxury of this rare blue somnolence. A poem from
neither the horn nor ivory gate that snatches me
from the welcome arms of Morpheus, from the land
of Demos Oneiroi, where I long – an elegant ache
to return. I chew the poem like a baby new flavors,
trying to define shape and character, to hold the
memory intact until dawn when I can – perhaps –
name it. I … repeat it … repeating, repeating,
my mind wrapping itself around the words like my
arms the pillow, hugging their sensations, rolling
in the silk and nub and color, not willing to let go,
not able to sleep. In the chill before daybreak, I
give up and get up and taking the laptop in hand,
lay the words on a new page, ready post of the day.

© poem, 2011, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved;  Artwork – Morpheus and Iris by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, 1811

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Catching a poem seems sometimes almost a mystical experience. Where did it come from?  And how often does it come at the most inconvenient time – when your trying to sleep, read, bath the baby, walk the dog. Pad and pen are constant companions. I’m not implying that it’s always easy to finish – to refine the poem – but sometimes it does come to us fully formed or nearly so. Tell us how you receive and experience your own poetry as an unexpected visitor, a surprise perspective or observation, a gift, or as a mystical thing … perhaps even as an occasional inconvenience.

All poems shared on theme will be published here next Tuesday. Deadline is Monday May 28 at 8 p.m. PDT. All are welcome – encouraged – to participate no matter the status of your career: novice,emerging or pro.  It’s about sharing your work and meeting other poets who may be new to you.

If it is your first time sharing your work for Wednesday Writing Prompt, please remember to email your photo and short bio to thepoetbyday@gmail.com to be shared along with your poem by way of introduction. Please don’t mail the poem. Share it or a link to it in the comments section below.


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14 thoughts on “The Witching Hour, a poem . . . and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

  1. Hi, Jamie,

    Here is my third response:

    Coal

    like wood is my imagination solidified sunblaze trapped voices, stories trapped build a pile of imagination on top of my wood-raft stuffed into my gob have a nice pile in middle.

    Concentrate!

    Choose pieces too small air-flow round my head restrict visuals. I cannot breathe. Choose pieces too big don’t get enough licking heat from the wood. Ignite my images , ensure fire-front removed for maximum air-flow, ignite the paper from underneath, ignite heads images underneath.

    Focus!

    in multiple places – get as much litlick quickly as possible, heat feeds between ignition points

    if you will not put your mind on me I’ll burn your house down my water in the wood coal makes sulphuric acid lick surface off your brick funnel .
    Images sear . Imagination needs time, fire blaze, cornfield stubble, while wood and paper left, this cellulosefuel heats imagination -fire to self-sustain your hard images buried deep, pressured become harder, blacker used in locomotives, steam ships, pitsweat, minehacked proppedimages your soft images nearer surface browner nostalgic soft focus biscuit tin tender.
    Imagination produces smoke and tar when heated only,
    when “dried out” get red-hot carbon fire makes imagination so hot. Recall tar melting on roads in sunblaze, sticks to soles coal tar soap photosynthesizes calls back its days as a plant.

    I can be dangerous!

    once my fire lit poke gently, release ash, break-up images stuck together by tar sticky mind coagulate.

    Arrange cinders around the edge, add more images around fires periphery around

    minds periphery. Don’t throw a bucket of imagination on my flametongue.

    Always put a bit at edges or in middle. Images poked.
    Poke my licking.
    so ash falls through firebars so ash fall through the head.

    Lift my burning images, ensure ash removed from under fire bars.

    Imagination needs time to warm up.
    Don’t smother with cold-images.
    Kill lovely heat.
    Longer to burn up. Pile it up around the edges, when it starts burning: poke and rake it into centre gradually.

    When lit you give me a voice, a gob and tongues. Listen to my stories, record my voices, divine futures from decay of food thrown on me.

    How virgin cakes of salt and spelt bake towards decay in heat tongueflicked wild jig of ideas before I ashreturn lose my tongues.

    (From “The Headpoke And Firewedding, Alien Buddha Press, 2017)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my second response:

    Wood
    my thought needs substance crouched supplicant
    to our hearthmind layer my gob can’t light my coal with paper my wood layer is for coal as my paper is for wood layer on my paper small pieces of wood (kindling) watch for splinters embed in your fingers for all day pain or a heated steel pin to remove. Carefully make a wooden pallet a raft of images on balled up paperwaves support my coal so imagination flares as I burn to speak.

    Pray raft holds. Criss-cross wood, a cohesive structure.
    You’re making my fireplace,
    My head layered.

    My gob layered.

    Geology reversed.
    Paper from trees. Dead trees made coal graduations of image, thought and idea.

    When paper gone hold stays, mixture of thick and thin considerations.

    Thin ideas burn easily, produce heat, thick sustains in depth delights my imaginations coal

    (From “The Headpoke And Firewedding, Alien Buddha Press, 2017)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Jamie,

    This is my first response:

    Ash And Paper
    summer mornings my fire snuffed.

    No flaming voice.

    Only a word in your head.

    Dream of spelt and salt cake I fire for you, and before you can seek future from way I burn clean my fireplace, clear your head.

    Old ash and cinders block gust makes for poor-burning, makes for poor-thinking prepare my gob for my tongues my gob packed with ash piled ash in my grate piled ash in my head crumbles like walls from incendiaried homes

    stop wandering off when I’m talking to you!

    ash up against my fire-bars makes them overheat makes you overthink
    so they sag and “burn through” make me virginal something to focus on something for focus recall collecting ears of spelt in reaper’s baskets

    I said stop wandering!

    rake remains of my last fire the last fire between my temples so ash falls through my grate train steam in your nostrils pick-off the cinders for re-use.

    My lightweight dark lumps, not my powdery un-burnable pieces of roasted shale my exhausted voice.

    Clear my fire-bars of small cinders, clear all my ash, clear all the dead, dry bones out of my head recall the crush, grind
    then roast the ears of spelt, yeasty like a pint of beer

    Concentrate! You are lighting me fill my gob

    with dry, unfinished paper cheap-newsprint not glossy magazine-print.
    screw sheets into rough balls packed into this brain space not too tight, but not too loose.

    Keep the paper open & crinkly don’t pack paper into hard nuggets, make them roughly spherical.

    Should cover my grate with plenty of space to allow gust to blow away, focus these eyes, only one layer, as my tongues lick paper down everything on top will drop, roof falling in around my ears leave it at a couple of inches. Recall salt prepared pound crystals from brine
    from a salt pan in a mortar, pack and inhale seafret. Cut lump with an iron saw.

    I’ll not tell you again!

    paper is to ignite the wood (next)

    the next thought only enough, too much will clog fire-bars cause stack-collapse as your paper doesn’t burn well, stuff a loose sheet under my grate under my thoughts light it let my little tongues loose stuff sheets underneath burn them recall forbidden reading, books in flame, memories of things not spoken discarded ideas

    I can be dangerous!

    break up my ash with a poker. Recall stir of salt and spelt into carried spring water pure never touched the ground into meal that must be rested my pulped treeflesh.

    I will lick away a support for my woodflesh. I lick away a flicker of an idea, a first layer
    of contemplation.

    (From “The Headpoke And Firewedding”, (Alien Buddha Press, 2017)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. SEVEN SPRINGS

    Who knows where they have come from? No
    summer rains to fill the limestone
    caverns, no spring time residue
    and yet the tongues of water spread
    in new directions,loosestrife by
    the water’s edge; and willow herb.

    Across a once-ploughed field,
    mineral insinuation
    feeding the tangled hedgerows and
    forcing the flush of hawthorn’s white.

    Folded in dew, summer might bring berries;
    fieldfare and redwing on winter’s winds.

    ( Seven Springs is a real place just north of us which feeds the River Churn that runs past my allotment and through the middle of town. So…)

    Liked by 2 people

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