Monday, April 29, 2013

30d30w: word 29


secret whistles,
fiery code…
happy wrapping
hides the empty
something whispers:
furry coat
sniffing whiskers  

subtle wishes,
buried hope…
eyes paws ears   leap

Golly.  When I first cut and pasted this from my worksheet doc, I had added lick from both Buffy and Laura S. as word 29--I'm a sucker for alliteration (and who among us ain't?).  But then, as Laura notes, that does rather limit the critter, since I can't picture anything leaping and licking except a dog. 

This became suddenly problematic, for I am not a dog person.  Now, I know that many (most?) people are dog people, but for the purposes of this poem--and bearing in mind that there are really VERY many dog poems--I suddenly decided that finally works better.  It captures all that whistling and whispering and wishing and hoping, and while typically one whistles for a dog, I can see someone whistling for a lost mouse or ferret or rabbit as well.

Early yesterday both Mary Lee and Daisy independently wondered the same way about "fiery code," and it's coming up in other comments too.  Let me tell you why that worked (and is still working) for me, although I may yet see the need to revise.  To me, the peak birthday moment is that moment when the candles are all lit and everyone is singing and you're gathering breath and putting your face right next to the undeniably dangerous flames and making your wish and knowing that a) you must not tell your wish and b) you must blow all the candles out at once and c) if there are those rules then there might be other rules, like how you encode your wish might actually matter.

For me, the poem begins in that moment, when the birthday child can think of nothing but the cage that has stood empty for days, and how the special whistle has not worked, and how encoding the wish exactly right in the blowing of that fiery, dramatic moment might do the trick...and then nothing.  The moment is over and the presents received, and no amount of happy wrapping can overcome the sadness of that empty cage.  Maybe "hides" is the problem?

I'd be very curious about how that first stanza reads to everyone else--I was sure that you'd be suggesting changes to "subtle wishes,/buried hope," since for me the energy seems to drop there and I'm not sure we're getting enough out of those words.  Last call for revisions!

And just one more time, may I say how much I'm loving this deep work at the word level?  And one more time, how much I appreciate those who have dropped in to play along? 


  1. I understand your reasoning on fiery code. Maybe exchange the words whistle and wishes? Because it's the wishes that are secret within the fiery code of the burning candles, right? Not sure what to do with buried hope, but surprise comes quickly after so the slow down doesn't last long.
    My suggestion for the next word is found.
    I will miss this daily poetry exercise. Thanks for doing it.

  2. Getting alliterative:
    waiting wishes,
    happy hope

    (Still a little abstract, though...)

  3. I've been popping into to read each day and it has been so much fun! Can't wait to see the final word! Maybe a name?


  4. wow, with just two words left, this is maybe the toughest part! I don't know I don't know.... love your thoughts about fiery code... it's just a little abstract for the rest of the poem, maybe? I still like "hides"... I want a true surprise at the end, not the expected animal at all, you know, the way a kid loves a box more than what's in it?? I look forward to seeing where this ends and am (again) sorry not to be much help. xo

  5. I know you wanted a revision, Heidi, but I'm a sucker for a tidy ending (and alliteration).

    May I suggest the word FOUND to close?


  6. What fun this poem has been! Thanks for sharing each day. It has truly "come to life."

    Not sure what you're thinking re the very, very end. Maybe -


  7. I like your explanation of the secret whistles and fiery code. It makes sense now (but I admit it seemed a bit random to me although that's not necessarily a problem.)

    Here are some suggestions if you're thinking about changing "hides the:"
    strewn over empty cage
    crumpled near empty cage

    I like the softness of the subtle wishes and buried hope before the surprise and tangle of eyesearspaws (which I like better smooshed together as you had it before.)

    Was that one revision suggestion you wanted? Rulesshmules.

    Thanks for the fun this month.

  8. Thanks for the fiery code explanation. Glad to know I wasn't the only one!

    I, too, like the smooshed version of the eyesearspaws.

    Can't wait to see how it turns out!

  9. What about changing empty to new. That way it is a cage.....waiting for the new pet, too?


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!