Looking at a Favorite

I had fun with this one as is fitting because it is the last of the prompts that Kim Hawke had put forth for May. These last two of Kim’s MMPP prompts were: Write a poem for or about Beltane (or the midpoint between vernal equinox and summer solstice) and Write a piece in the style of your favorite poet, or about your favorite poet. I love Carl Sandburg. We had to memorize a poem for 7th grade English and I wanted to memorize “Chicago” by Carl Sandburg. I had found it in an anthology on my parent’s bookcase. My teacher, Miss Watson, felt the theme was too mature and my classmates wouldn’t understand it. Instead she approved a much shorter Sandburg poem “Fog” which was easy – too easy I thought! So for your reading pleasure my take on Sandburg’s style and interpretation of Beltane in the industrialized world…

I squint into the sun of the blast furnace
The roar of the fire fierce but the men more so
The heat intensifies the hunger and the thirst
And we toil making our own tribute to Beltane
The flame is mine, the god of iron and steel is mine
And the boys jump between crucibles
Leap past molten metal between slag showers
Ingots
Billets
Slabs
Coils
Shovel coke and sweat the dust from our faces
Wear flowers of soot and char while we dance
We sing as a raging inferno pounding iron
Listen to our song of spark and sizzle

32 thoughts on “Looking at a Favorite

  1. This is awesome.
    I also enjoy “Chicago” by Carl Sandburg. At some point (high school? middle school?) I had memorized a fairly good chunk. Hog Butcher to the world. is about what I have left of that. nation’s freight handler. maybe. What an impressive poem.
    Anyhow. Back to you. Like it.

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    1. Thanks Carrie! Awesome is a awesome way to start a Wednesday!! Carl Sandburg writes with such strength and I often feel that my stuff is “weak sauce” in comparison… I am thrilled you liked it!

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  2. What a great combination of prompts you turned this into! Wonderful work/play! Loving the voice in this, too. Well done. (My father just sent me his copy of Sandburg’s last book of poems.)
    ?post yours next Beltane, so that we can read it again, and get new readers, too?

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    1. I am totally amazed that you like this one that much!! I have to admit that without your prompts I would have never in a thousand years gone in the directions you sent me! So what exactly is involved in posting this to get more readers? I’m not very good at self promotion…

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      1. So poetry prompts are like geo-caching? 😉 Going places that one would never have gone.
        I only meant, perhaps to repost, next year, at Beltane, i.e. on May day. And y’all have more readers than I do, for that’s for good reason.

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        1. Yes! Prompts are a little like geocaching. They do take you to wonderful new places where you discover unique things – either internally or externally! I suppose I could do that. I will have to make a note in my calendar – a year is a long time for my brain to hold an event… As for readers, it is only because I follow and comment on lots of posts and then I get the same in return. I think your blog is very very good and am so happy I follow you!

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    1. Carl Sandburg wrote during the early part of the last century. When he died in 1967, then President Lyndon Johnson is quoted as saying, “Carl Sandburg was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America.” My husband worked for US Steel for many years and because of that I learned more about steel manufacturing than I ever wanted to know. We also live in Northern Indiana, close to many steel plants (though there are very few left).

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      1. you do have a really strong connection then, our big brother devotion didn’t evolve until more recently so that’s why we wouldn’t have heard of him 🙂

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                1. Xanga was my introduction to blogging and there was community there that even to this day is unsurpassed. My BFF is someone I met through Xanga. I’ve met so many truly wonderful souls through Xanga that it will forever have a special place in my heart…

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                    1. I think you did! Xangans are on the whole really interesting and friendly people. Back in the day we’d have Xanga meet-up. I’ve met quite a few and there are still some that switched to WP that I want to meet in person!!

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                    2. how lovely, I’d like to meet a lot in person – including yourself and Sparky – but my travel days are done! I just want to nest 🙂

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  3. We studied ‘Fog’ and ‘Chicago’, just before reading Sinclair Lewis’ “The Jungle”-in eleventh grade. I can still remember Mrs. Bisbee, in her patrician Boston accent: Hawg butcha to the world…”

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