Mary Lee has today's line and says, "Right now this seems to be a poem of friendship, a poem of comfort...with the possibility of a little magic thrown in. What will become of those silver slippers?"
If you are reading this
you must be hungry
Kick off your silver slippers
Come sit with us a spell
A hanky, here, now dry your tears
And fill your glass with wine
While this may be the first-ever Kidlit NPM Progressive Poem, what we're all playing at actually has a long history, beginning with a parlor game called Consequences played during the Victorian era. Here's how the middle- and upper-classes amused themselves of an evening once leisure time was established and before radio and TV took over, from Wikipedia:
Each person takes a turn choosing a word or phrase for one of nine questions, in this order.The game is traditionally played by writing the words on paper and folding the paper to hide the previous words before passing it to the next player. You can see how this led fairly directly to Madlibs, which were introduced as a paper-and-pencil game in 1958 by Roger Price and "Honeymooners" script writer Leonard Stern. (In his little memoir, Leonard insists that the two originated the Madlibs concept, but of course in 1958 there was no Wikipedia to describe the game of Consequences for them.)
1.Adjective for man
4.Adjective for woman
6.Where they met
9.He said to her
10.She said to him
11.The consequence was… (a description of what happened after)
12.What the world said
Then the story is read (for example): Scary Bob met voluptuous Alice at the zoo. He wore a giant yellow banana costume She wore a lime green string vest, & a pink tutu. He said "This is delicious," she said "Hit me baby one more time." The consequence was that they eloped to Mexico. The world said "the femme fatale will always win".
By 1925 at least, a group of artists (both visual and literary) of the Dada and Surrealist movements were using the Consequences technique, which came be known as le cadavre exquis (from one of the early playings of the game in Paris). According to Andre Breton, "we would turn to games; written games at first, contrived so that elements of language attacked each other in the most paradoxical manner possible, and so that human communication, misled from the start, was thrown into the mood most amenable to adventure."
The jump from paradoxical juxtapositions of words to those of drawings, especially body parts, is easy to make, and I personally learned the Exquisite Corpse game as a drawing game, with each section of the body hidden by folding as the paper passes around. Here are some of the Surrealists' results.
It's fun to think that "my" version of Exquisite Corpse actually began as a poetry game played by the likes of Tristan Tzara, from whom comes the poem below. In the meantime, I'm wondering how a "blind" version of the Progressive Poem would work, one in which we the adventuring authors could NOT see and follow the development of the poem as it travels from "house" to "house."
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article the length you want to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next carefully cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them all in a bag.
Next take out each cutting one after the other.
Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag.
The poem will resemble you.
And there you are--an infinitely original author of charming sensibility,