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Old 01-19-2017, 01:44 PM   #1
Tzara
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The Three Voices Challenge

I've been reading, and greatly enjoying, Alicia Suskin Ostriker's The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog. All of the poems in the book are three stanzas in length, each stanza consisting of some kind of comment on the title or something the title represents, and with each stanza written in the imagined "voice" of (as you might guess) an old woman, a tulip, and a dog. In that order.

This structure seems to give Ms. Ostriker a great deal of flexibility to deal with themes from different perspectives--human/plant/animal, age/beauty/nature, experience/sensation/immediacy, etc. It seems to me that this tripartite structure might be a good one to base a challenge on.

So. Pick three things/entities/objects or whatever and write a poem that deals with a thought or theme or subject in the three distinct "voices" of your chosen subjects, each stanza containing the phrase "said the {whatever you select as entity}." So, for example, if you choose the Three Bears as your voices, you would have a poem with three stanzas, one in the voice of Papa Bear, one in the voice of Mama Bear, and one in the voice of Baby Bear. If you chose rock, paper, and scissors, you would have a three stanzas, one each with the thoughts of rock ("said the rock"), scissors ("said the scissors"), and paper ("said the sheet of paper").

Here's some examples of Ostriker's work for reference:
The Promise Triptych

I promised myself
said the old woman
that I would always remember
the afternoon I slow-danced naked with him
in his cheesy apartment
on St. Mark's Place

I promised the sun
said the tulip to her girlfriends
boasting and blushing madly
describing the kiss the lips
I'll always adore him oh my god I felt
the earth move under my roots

I promised the man
with my eyes and nose said the dog
half-asleep on the couch
that I would love, honor and obey
he promised he would always
stroke my brow like that

The Vow

I must solve my life
said the old woman
thinking of her grandchildren
and of her marriage
and of her many former lovers

I must solve my life
said the red tulip, arranging her skirts
troubled by the ache of sunshine
the squirrels and dogs
far too hyperactive

I must solve my life, said the dog
torn between tame and wild
bouncing from chow bowl to street
addicted to human love
dumb animal

The Moment on Stage I

I am
happy to be
here
said the fragile old woman

when my beauty
fades I
shall die
said the dark red tulip

Come on and
throw me
that Frisbee
said the dog


Source: Alicia Suskin Ostriker, The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog (U of Pittsburgh Press, 2014)
Post responses and any comments on the responses in this thread. Challenge to run through 02/14/2017.
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Old 01-19-2017, 09:12 PM   #2
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......

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Old 01-19-2017, 09:25 PM   #3
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I have always felt
put upon,
said the tablecloth;
sighing.

Nobody wants me
said the Undertaker,
until the moment of
dying.

I did my very best,
said the bride
jilted and bereft.
Crying.
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Blessed are the cracked for it is they that let in the light
They say a smile is a gift which is free to the giver and precious to the recipient.
But giving the finger is free, too, and I find it more personal and sincere.
If at first you don't succeed....skydiving is not for you ....
If you don't pay your exorcist .... do you get repossessed?
I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
....But I, being poor, have only my dreams, I have spread my dreams under your feet,Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.......
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Old 01-20-2017, 03:31 PM   #4
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Interesting, but it will be after Jan 30 before I get to it.

For clarification was your example a Triple Triptych?
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Old 01-20-2017, 05:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piscator View Post
Interesting, but it will be after Jan 30 before I get to it.

For clarification was your example a Triple Triptych?
No, it was simply three poems. Each poem is a kind of triptych, with three stanzas from three separate viewpoints/entities.

And responding after the 30th is, of course, fine.
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outrageous conceits (the worst of what we mean by ‘wit’)
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Old 01-20-2017, 08:47 PM   #6
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Stages of Child Development

I. "Spare the Rod. Spoil the Child."

"Tom, Bobby's been a hellion today,"
tearing her hair out, Mother would say.

"This will hurt you more than me,"
stifling a grin, Father said.

"It felt like a hug," I said to my skin
strapped on his knee as I stifled a grin.

II. Adolescence

"So what's got to him?" Mother asked
who knew what once depression was.

"It could be highschool," Father said,
maybe Jane Postanek instead."

"Jane Postanek," I agreed,
"at the Sunday matinee

when the Duke on a battleship saved the world
and Dean on his Harley got the the girl."

III. Shaving

"This is how you do it, Son,"
he said ceremoniously,

"a cake of shaving soap in your cup,
hellish hot water splashed on your chin.

Swirl your brush in it, lather up.
Geronimo! We're goin' in."

"Oh, Tom, you look so nice tonight
by candlelight and coq au vin,

Bobby's with Jane at the prom.
Let's go to bed," Mother said

I imagined stifling a grin,
shaving gray stubble from my chin,

looking at my Dad's shaving brush:
"Geronimo! we're goin' in."
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Old 01-21-2017, 12:01 AM   #7
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My body is an hourglass,
each heartbeat a grain of sand
falling.

Your body in ashes,
handfuls to nourish seasons,
scattering.

Prayer flags in a line,
inanimate and out of time,
fluttering.




(ETA: Not right, but I still like it lol.)
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Old 01-21-2017, 02:02 AM   #8
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Guilt

It could not have been
my fault said the rock
you can see for yourself
I haven't moved
haven't budged
I was never involved

Now I don't admit
anything said the scissors
but just out
of curiosity
what kind of deal
could I cut?

With its affably blank face
the sheet of paper
said of course
I know it looks bad
but I am not
covering up anything
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outrageous conceits (the worst of what we mean by ‘wit’)
is the only road to truth. No other road takes me.

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Old 01-21-2017, 03:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angeline View Post
My body is an hourglass,
each heartbeat a grain of sand
falling.

Your body in ashes,
handfuls to nourish seasons,
scattering.

Prayer flags in a line,
inanimate and out of time,
fluttering.




(ETA: Not right, but I still like it lol.)
[Attempt 2]

Time

Once I was an hourglass,
perfect curves, small waist.
Now I'm not so defined,
but every heartbeat falls
in me like a grain of sand.

~

When I was human I slept
and woke in your bed. Now
my watch is gone. I'm ashes,
a scatterling who drops blind
to the seasons I'll nourish.

~

I flutter blue on a breeze,
unchanged in all seasons,
a small insensate symbol
blowing yesterday's prayers,
mantras for the wind.
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Old 01-21-2017, 09:27 PM   #10
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I'm a insignificant speck
said the grain of dirt,
what can I achieve?
Something to be walked upon,
rudely kicked aside.

You are one with us
said the open fertile field,
newly ploughed awaiting
water for it's seedlings.
Together makes a difference.

Join with us, for an onslaught,
said the hurtling landslide.
Race with the storm clouds
and torrential, slashing rain.
Power comes with insurgence.
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Blessed are the cracked for it is they that let in the light
They say a smile is a gift which is free to the giver and precious to the recipient.
But giving the finger is free, too, and I find it more personal and sincere.
If at first you don't succeed....skydiving is not for you ....
If you don't pay your exorcist .... do you get repossessed?
I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
....But I, being poor, have only my dreams, I have spread my dreams under your feet,Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.......
Nil Caborundum illigitimi
Sestina slut
Annie submits

Last edited by UnderYourSpell : 01-21-2017 at 09:34 PM. Reason: cos
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Old 01-22-2017, 09:30 AM   #11
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really enjoying these, especially those last by tzara and annie. thanks, all, for posting them up.

angie's i enjoyed more for its conceits than its adhesion to the form required, but then when didn't angie love bending the rules to suit the poem?

one of these days, when i've jumped over every damned obstacle, i'll be back commenting more and, hopefully, contributing some writing
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Old 01-22-2017, 09:43 AM   #12
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the meal

''now there's a fine piece of meat''
said the butcher
hefting its weight
scoring its skin
binding with string
ringing cash into till

''not willingly to slaughter''
said the once-pig
''life was fine
no one told me it'd cost an arm
and a leg''

''somedays i feel so put upon''
said the dining room table
''dressed in frills and furbelows
counting the cost of kicks to the shins
when all i long to do is
shine in the light''
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Last edited by butters : 01-22-2017 at 11:26 AM. Reason: the costings
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Old 01-22-2017, 11:10 AM   #13
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Tagged for later perusal, thanks T
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Old 01-22-2017, 01:00 PM   #14
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On Thermonuclear War

We modeled casualties
between 2 and 160 million
said Herman Kahn
one wonders—do survivors
envy the dead?

The dust clouds cut the light
so I can't quite see the rubble
said the ruined city
but then the wind's loud
whip and moan

I miss the small bits of cheese
and those cookie crumbs
said the cockroach
scrabbling along the floor
Oreos were my favorite
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For me, the long way round, through formalisms, word-games,
outrageous conceits (the worst of what we mean by ‘wit’)
is the only road to truth. No other road takes me.

—George Starbuck
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Old 01-22-2017, 03:49 PM   #15
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Auric Goldfinger’s Rule of Three

Happenstance

“Meeting
falling love
and marrying
on a canoe safari
across the Okavango,
and we’re still together.”
She said.


Coincidence


“Meeting
my lover
on a canoe trip
up the Nahanni”
she said.
“and we’re still lovers.”

Enemy Action

“I spoke too
soon”
She sobbed.
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Old 01-22-2017, 08:20 PM   #16
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Old things

Ya' know that old trees just grow stronger
And old rivers grow wilder ev'ry day
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, hello"
Hello in There – John Prine 1971


It’s complicated said the stately maple.
It may be true that a healthy big tree
will grow faster and process CO2
better, but there is more to it.
We too are susceptible to disease and
only our outer layers are living.
As we grow older, dead wood accumulates
and when those outer layers are compromised
by cracks, insects or pesty woodpeckers,
we’re susceptible to rot.
Then too there’s physics, as trees grow taller
we’re more vulnerable to strong winds and
the uptick in intense rain events and droughts
what with climate change and all isn’t good
for our roots. You might say I’m an accident
waiting to happen.

It depends declared the river, Heraclitus' analogy that
you cannot go into the same river twice holds if
you define a river by its everchanging water
in which case I never grow old.
But if you define a river by its banks, wildness is
defined more by gradient, with wilder waters in
the steep headwater sections and less
wild water in gentler sections down
stream, which in fact, may also
be older.

Johnny has is mostly right croaked the ancient
Crone, it’s mostly about losing – teeth, sight,
sound and memory although the order varies.
These days, I read the obituaries before the
headlines just to arrange my funeral schedule.
And women last longest.
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Old 01-22-2017, 09:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butters View Post
''now there's a fine piece of meat''
said the butcher
hefting its weight
scoring its skin
binding with string
ringing cash into till

''not willingly to slaughter''
said the once-pig
''life was fine
no one told me it'd cost an arm
and a leg''

''somedays i feel so put upon''
said the dining room table
''dressed in frills and furbelows
counting the cost of kicks to the shins
when all i long to do is
shine in the light''
See! Your table is put upon too!
__________________

Blessed are the cracked for it is they that let in the light
They say a smile is a gift which is free to the giver and precious to the recipient.
But giving the finger is free, too, and I find it more personal and sincere.
If at first you don't succeed....skydiving is not for you ....
If you don't pay your exorcist .... do you get repossessed?
I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
....But I, being poor, have only my dreams, I have spread my dreams under your feet,Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.......
Nil Caborundum illigitimi
Sestina slut
Annie submits
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Old 01-22-2017, 10:04 PM   #18
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The sweets of my childhood were bigger
says I, Wagon Wheels, Kit Kats
bought with precious pennies
from the village shop.

The sweets of your childhood
still eaten, have made you bigger,
all that sugar is unhealthy
said the dietitian.

Will you listen now that you're diabetic,
said the doctor? and stop smoking!
Everything once enjoyed
taken away, replaced by pills.
__________________

Blessed are the cracked for it is they that let in the light
They say a smile is a gift which is free to the giver and precious to the recipient.
But giving the finger is free, too, and I find it more personal and sincere.
If at first you don't succeed....skydiving is not for you ....
If you don't pay your exorcist .... do you get repossessed?
I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
....But I, being poor, have only my dreams, I have spread my dreams under your feet,Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.......
Nil Caborundum illigitimi
Sestina slut
Annie submits
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Old 01-22-2017, 11:01 PM   #19
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This wet night, rain starred windows,
Empty here except for me,
The vacant sky speaks with thunder,
Hollow sighs are my reply

Sanguine evening, bleeding tears,
Scarlet rivulets on gilded panes,
Painted twilight waves goodbye,
Sun slides out of sight

Oh blessed morning, greet the dawn,
Sweet breezes, bird song,
Damp scent of earths perfume,
Fills my senses, room
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Old 01-23-2017, 01:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderYourSpell View Post
See! Your table is put upon too!
damn! i read all the posts and ddn't have a thing in mind, then a pork roast popped into my head. your phrase clearly struck a chord because i didn't realise i'd repeated it, it just came out in the write! sorry, annie
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Old 01-23-2017, 02:50 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butters View Post
damn! i read all the posts and ddn't have a thing in mind, then a pork roast popped into my head. your phrase clearly struck a chord because i didn't realise i'd repeated it, it just came out in the write! sorry, annie
Don't be! Great minds think alike ........... won't repeat the rest!
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Blessed are the cracked for it is they that let in the light
They say a smile is a gift which is free to the giver and precious to the recipient.
But giving the finger is free, too, and I find it more personal and sincere.
If at first you don't succeed....skydiving is not for you ....
If you don't pay your exorcist .... do you get repossessed?
I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
....But I, being poor, have only my dreams, I have spread my dreams under your feet,Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.......
Nil Caborundum illigitimi
Sestina slut
Annie submits
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Old 01-23-2017, 10:02 PM   #22
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A Woman, A Book and a Tree

I love the way you feel and smell.
I hold you close, run fingers down
your spine and if you're good
enough I want to devour you.

My god she acts as if it's sex,
and I'd blush from her gaze
were I more than ink and pulp
or able to know my own story.

It's an old story.
I just want to stand here,
taste the wind and sway.
Jesus lady get a Kindle.
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Old 01-23-2017, 11:13 PM   #23
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Mount Cook
as the snow clad Summit soars into sky
it said"how magnificent...
Magnificent am I
My devotees come to gawk
from Tokyo, Delhi...Shanghai
as I gaze down like a hawk
acceptin' their homage: gracious am I"

Lake Matheson
the Lake murmured sadly to itself
" Must I always be that arrogant jerk's reflexion??
neither have I it's beauty, nor power or pelf
as the multivarious voices bill and coo
OOOH look at that high mountainious, snowy shelf!!"

Gawky Tourist:--
"Arre Bhai , idhar dekh---
what a beyootiful mountain...
what a placid lake
we must take a selfie
you, me, water, snow, sky must all be in the 'take'!!"
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Old 01-23-2017, 11:43 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angeline View Post
A Woman, A Book and a Tree

I love the way you feel and smell.
I hold you close, run fingers down
your spine and if you're good
enough I want to devour you.

My god she acts as if it's sex,
and I'd blush from her gaze
were I more than ink and pulp
or able to know my own story.

It's an old story.
I just want to stand here,
taste the wind and sway.
Jesus lady get a Kindle.
You da bomb!! Brilliant!
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Old 01-24-2017, 12:01 AM   #25
Angeline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuiltyPleasure View Post
You da bomb!! Brilliant!
Thank you dear PoeTess.

Another excellent challenge from the T-man. I haven't felt like writing for a while, but this challenge got me going. And I'm not the only one, clearly!
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