Thursday, April 18, 2019

npm19: progressive poems lands here

Welcome to all, especially those who are following this year's Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem, an annual April tradition begun in 2012 by Irene Latham of Live Your Poem.  One by one we bring a new line, developing the idea of the poem and spinning it in new directions. This year we're challenging ourselves to build a found poem out of song lines, as suggested on April 1 by our kickoff poet Matt Forrest Esenwine.  Read about this project and enjoy data on previous progressive poems HERE.

Well.  I had been planning to pump up the action with some B-52's beachiness here, but by the time the poem reached me, Amy and Linda had suddenly, interestingly, taken a different tack:

                                    "it's not easy to know
                                     less than one minute old"

"WHO, WHO, WHO?!" I shouted inwardly.  We've had an I, we've had a we, we've had a you, then another we, then an I, then a you again. But I wanted a line with we, you AND I together to the end, and I wanted a line with how--my thought was to find a line that would show that the relationship between these deep divers was new and untried (less than one minute old!), that it wouldn't be easy to know how the waltzing would go...

and the B-52's let me down!  I tried "Rock Lobster," "Nude Beach" and "Dry County," "Roam" and "Song for a Future Generation,"  "Dirty Back Roads" and "Deadbeat Club," and none of them produced exactly what I was looking for (although I did spend a tremendous hour or so reliving the extreme lunatical lyrical glory that is the B-52's).  Here's one I'd forgotten about, making me heartily wish I could work some cake into the scenario (you only need the middle 2-3 minutes of this 6-minute song to get the idea)...

So next I tried Natalie Merchant and the lovely "Milly and Molly and Maggie and May," which is an E.E. Cummings poem set to music, involves the ocean, and which also offers an ending assonance:

as small as a world and as large as alone

--which was cool, except that the emphasis was on small and alone, and still nothing happened. So then I tried Natalie's first outfit, 10,000 Maniacs, and an all-time favorite, "These Are Days," which gave me this line:

to be part of the miracles you see in every hour

--nice, but a little cheesy without its abundant context, and which again did not feel as active or forward-moving as I wanted. So I turned to that other great export of Athens, Georgia: R.E.M.  When you can figure out what Michael Stipe is singing (and sometimes even when you can't), you know it's definitely poetry.

I looked for some watery songs and and fell upon "Find the River," which is a folkier number of theirs and offered a line that didn't include its delicious "bergamot and vetiver" but which finally cements that WE and whizzes us along to the brink of something fabulous-- plus a rhyme. Plus "minute" and "years." Plus a light at the bottom of the deep? Please listen to this whole gorgeous song to get the full effect of the line!


Endless summer; I can see for miles...
Fun, fun, fun - and the whole world smiles.
No time for school - just time to play,
we swim the laughin' sea each and every day.

You had only to rise, lean from your window,
the curtain opens on a portrait of today.
Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue,
It's the chance of a lifetime,

make it last forever-ready? Set? Let's Go!
Come, we'll take a walk, the sun is shining down,
Not a cloud in the sky got the sun in my eyes.
Tomorrow's here. It's called today.

Gonna get me a piece o' the sky.
I wanna fly like an eagle, to the sea
and there's a tiger in my veins.
Oh, won't you come with me waltzing the waves,
                                                                        diving the deep?
It's not easy to know
less than one minute old  

we're closer now than light years to go


Gosh, I hope that gives Buffy something to go on! Below is the complete list of contributors and lines, and I close with mighty thanks to Irene for making this thang happen every year, and to Amy for hosting today at The Poem Farm.  Happy spring holy days to all to celebrate!

NEW!!! You asked for it and now it exists--THE PLAYLIST!

Found Lines:
L1 The Who, 'I Can See for Miles' / The Beach Boys, 'Endless Summer'
L2 The Beach Boys, 'Fun, Fun, Fun'/Dean Martin, "When You're Smiling"
L3 The Jamies, "Summertime, Summertime'
L4 The Doors, 'Summer's Almost Gone' / Led Zeppelin, 'Good Times, Bad Times'
L5 Ray Bradbury, 'Dandelion Wine'
L6 Joni Mitchell, "Chelsea Morning"
L7 Paul Simon, "Kodachrome," "Dazzling Blue"
L8 Dan Fogelberg, "Run for the Roses"
L9 Spice Girls, "Wannabe"/Will Smith, "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"
L10 The Beatles, "Good Day Sunshine"
L11 The Carpenters, "Top of the World"
L12 Lin-Manuel Miranda, "Underneath the Lovely London Sky" from MARY POPPINS
L13 Carole King, "Hi-de-ho (That Sweet Roll)"
L14 Steve Miller, "Fly Like An Eagle"
L15 Don Felder, "Wild Life"
L16 Nowlenn Leroy, "Song of the Sea" (lullaby)
L17 Sara Bareilles, "She Used to Be Mine" from WAITRESS
L18 Stevie Wonder, "Isn't She Lovely"
L19 R.E.M., "Find the River"

And you can see the list of Poem Line Contributors in the right sidebar!


  1. Yaaaaas! We are definitely getting closer. Perfect line, Heidi. (P.S. Love me some B52s! And I had dreamed of using "Cake by the ocean," LOL, so your cake would have been the perfect accompaniment! :-) Cheers! -- Christie @

  2. Oh, Heidi. You did it. You found the right, royal line...THE one. I love all the music you've shared. I am always a bit richer after spending time with you....but this post is just super. Buffy will be fine. She's smart and the kind of poet that will give the stanza a great anchor.
    The progressive poem reminds me of hot potato. I'm scared to catch it....and scared to hold on to it too long and just want to get my line done and tossed successfully to the next person so I can relax. But, you've made me enjoy the process by spinning out how you got your line. Well done.

  3. YES, the mixture of POVs drives me crazy, too. You came up with a great line anyway!

  4. Wow! You did some real leg work to get to your just right line! Love it!

  5. Well done, Heidi! Your line is perfect, and I so enjoyed journeying along with your rich, thoughtful process. Wow! I also loved "Find the River"--thanks so much for including the link.

  6. Wow, Heidi, I love how you kept diving until you found the just-right line... this is some playlist we're creating! Thank you. xo

  7. What a great song! I read the lyrics as I listened and tried to guess what you would choose for your line. Love love love all your process notes--you definitely come from different musical origins that I do!

  8. Great pick up! And loved hearing about your hunt! (How wonderful is that 'as small as a world and as large as alone'?

  9. Just perfection! How much do I love imagining you listening to the B-52s and planning. I really wish I had been there with you! And oh, yeah, Irene! We now need a Progressive Poem Playlist! What a blast this post is. Thank you! xx

  10. Heidi, your musical journey provided a glimpse of how your mind words and yes, the song "Find the River,' brings a beautiful, lilting quality to your line. The video brought me right back to my roaring ocean, surf crashing against rocks views of summer life here on Long Island. Thanks for diving into the music to find the right line and also for the playlist.

  11. I love this REM tune! Thanks so much for letting us know everything involved in coming to this perfect line!

  12. Thank you for pulling so many different POVs together! Someone needed to - and your selection of REM's tune does the trick very nicely!

  13. Love listening along with reading your post of your own journey to here, Heidi. It's a beautiful line added.

  14. Oh geez--I just remembered I'm up. You have given me something to go on, but I have no idea what will come next! Will set aside my seder prep and give it a go, but I am feeling even more clueless than usual. My knowledge of song lyrics is nonexistent...

  15. Loved listening to the song where you found your line. This is quite a journey this month. I love the thinking behind your line. And all of this is coming your way, Buffy.

  16. OOOH, I love the shape this poem is taking. Such fun!!

  17. Great next line, Heidi! I love that we're creating this cool new group poem and creating an excellent playlist :)

  18. Heidi, I loved hearing about your process and the cosmic element your line introduces. That being said, I'm still in a bit of a panic over how I will ever find a line for Monday!

  19. I love learning from your musings, perusings and links to songs I don't know, but may have heard. This has been a challenge of a whole other kind this year, a creative twist this found line from a lyric. I am curious where your well-examined line will lead. But I know I am enriched in a whole other way. The "Find the River" song and video are a treat. One I'd never heard/seen before. Thanks for all that and the playlist.

  20. Love the layers in the line you added Heidi, I was here when you added it a few days ago but am back now to comment. Interesting how you came to your final line, and the lines that were set aside too. Thanks for the tunes too!

  21. What fun to see this poem grow and take shape through the month. This one is quite a challenge. I love your line and the story behind how you found it.

  22. Loved hearing about your search and the thought you put into your perfect line!

  23. Yay, I just found out you're the one who made the playlist! I'm keeping it open so I can listen to it next time I go to the US - we can't use Spotify here. What a cool idea, though! Can't wait.

  24. Enjoyed your magical music tour in the universe of memorable poems & surrounding sounds, dear Heidi, which arrives at your perfect mind-expanding line.

    And I love it that if this is used in a classroom, depending upon the age/grade , light years will be a term that sends the class discussion into the universe.

    Well done on April 21!


  25. This line was fun, Heidi. I came here MUCH earlier to grab your line, but realized that I hadn't left you a note. Loved your search description! It has all come together now. Great job!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!