Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 200

Still on the subject of love. I confess, this is all part of a gestation for the Fall/Winter 2016/2017 issue. Anyways, this poem is kind of a response to Rumi’s poem, “The Ship Sunk In Love”.

Should Love’s heart rejoice unless I burn?
For my heart is Love’s dwelling.
If You will burn Your house, burn it, Love!
Who will say, ‘It’s not allowed’?
Burn this house thoroughly!
The lover’s house improves with fire.
From now on I will make burning my aim,
From now on I will make burning my aim,
for I am like the candle: burning only makes me brighter.
Abandon sleep tonight; traverse fro one night
the region of the sleepless.
Look upon these lovers who have become distraught
and like moths have died in union with the One Beloved.
Look upon this ship of God’s creatures
and see how it is sunk in Love.

Yea, the heart is where Love dwells. I heart. I love. Who do you heart? What do you heart? Those are important questions that you’ll have to answer in your poem. Answer it slant. To paraphrase Dylan Thomas, you are to move from “an overclothed blindness” to “a naked vision.”

Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 199

So is love a prayer? Is it ascetic? One often thinks the carnal part of it as being the deal maker but is it?

In Sung China,
two monks friends for sixty years
watched the geese pass.
Where are they going?
one tested the other, who couldn’t say.

That moment’s silence continues.

No one will study their friendship
in the koan-books of insight.
No one will remember their names.

I think of them sometimes,
standing, perplexed by sadness,
goose-down sewn into their quilted autumn robes.

Almost swallowed by the vastness of the mountains,
but not yet.

As the barely audible
geese are not yet swallowed;
as even we, my love, will not entirely be lost.

So what does it take to love and hold on to it? Perhaps let Jane Hirshfield’s poem, “The Heart’s Counting Knows Only One”, inspire you. Just don’t let your poem be clouded by the doe-eyed romantic in you. In case you missed the thread, I’m prompting for the theme of heart in the Fall/Winter 2015/2016 issue of Red Wolf Journal. If your poem is selected, it will appear anytime on our site from September 2016 onwards and submissions shall remain open till 28 February 2017. Read the submissions deadline here.

Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 198

So this dream that you have, is it real? Try to think for a moment and maybe ponder alongside Langston Hughes’s poem, “Dreams.”

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Is love frozen? Surely not. It’s the most alive thing. Let your poem explore it.

Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 197

I got inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem on love:

You left me, sweet, two legacies,—
A legacy of love
A Heavenly Father would content,
Had He the offer of;

You left me boundaries of pain
Capacious as the sea,
Between eternity and time,
Your consciousness and me.

In case you haven’t caught the hint, the next issue of Red Wolf Journal will be concerned with heart, and love. Whatever keeps the fire burning. So I thought you might want to try your hand at writing a poem about love. What is truly a legacy must have been wrought in love. On a side note, there’s a new movie about Dickinson, yippee!

Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 196

Hey there, I’m really starting to prompt towards the new theme. So here’s the hint: it’s all about the heart, the thumping thing. So yea, look within your heart, dear poet. And start right there. That’s a very good place to start. In fact it’s the one and only place to start. Yes yes yes. Light a lantern. Then tread there cautiously. See what happens.

Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 195

On the topic of self, have you run out of things to say? That self that you call self– that’s called your character isn’t it? Given human imperfection, there’s self-glorification on the one hand (eek), and self-effacement on the other (eek), and do we seem to be hung up on both like a row of dead ducks? How noble is man’s reason when it is ultimately cut down to size on the greater mystery of life? What is certain is that humanity has much in common and it is on these universal values that great literature is made. I’ve an idea already for the next issue of the journal. Wrap up time, if you’ve got anything further to add, dear poets.

Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 194

There’re lots of people who are Christians. Christianity seems to be the fallback position. It holds a belief and that belief is key to the way one lives. I don’t think it holds the position that life is empty. If you aim to be a spiritual person without recourse to Christianity, then you may feel more akin to Eastern philosophy. In which case you would hold emptiness to have value, like a vase or a container. There is a pathway there too. In your poem, make some kind of value statement.