Poetry Friday: The 2015 Progressive Poem concludes here!

National-Poetry-Month-Logo (2015)
I’m sharing my Poetry Friday post a day early this year, because I’m very happy to once again be part of Irene Latham’s annual Progressive Poem! Each day, a different person has added a line to a poem that has been growing and growing over the course of the month…and it culminates today, here!

2015ProgressivePoemI’ve been excited – and a bit anxious – about the fact that it’s up to me to write that last line. Honestly, there was only one way I felt I could go with it, so hopefully you’ll like it. I’ve been following the poem’s development, from a woman walking along the shoreline, to growing fins and sliding down into the water, to making a discovery, to — well, just read it, and you’ll see!

(I’ve also added a title, which it was lacking, but if anyone prefers something else, feel free to change it!)

Due to popular demand (well, ok…Irene was the only one who asked, but she IS popular), I recorded an audio version of the poem, so you can read along if you’d like:

“Ocean Dreams”
(The 2015 Poetry Friday Progressive Poem)

She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium of the delta.
Shoes swing over her shoulder,
on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica.
Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms.
Her hair flows, snows in wild wind
as she digs in the indigo varnished handbag,
pulls out her grandmother’s oval cuffed bracelet,
strokes the turquoise stones,
and steps through the curved doorway.
Tripping on her tail she slips hair first down the slide…splash!
She glides past glossy water hyacinth to shimmer with a school of shad,
listens to the ibises roosting in the trees of the cypress swamp
an echo of Grandmother’s words, still fresh in her windswept memory;
Born from the oyster, expect the pearl. 
Reach for the rainbow reflection on the smallest dewdrop.
The surface glistens, a shadow slips above her head, a paddle dips
she reaches, seizes. She’s electric energy and turquoise eyes.
Lifted high, she gulps strange air – stares clearly into
 Green pirogue, crawfish trap,
startled fisherman with turquoise eyes, twins of her own, riveted on her wrist–
She’s swifter than a dolphin, slipping away,
leaving him only a handful of memories of his own grandmother’s counsel:
Watch for her. You’ll have but one chance to 
determine—to decide.
Garner wisdom from the water and from the pearl of the past.
In a quicksilver flash, an arc of resolution, he leaps
into the shimmering water
where hidden sentries restrain any pursuit
and the bitter taste of impulse rushes into his lungs.
Her flipper flutters his weathered toes – Pearl’s signal –
Stop struggling. The Sentinels will escort you
He stills, closes his eyes,
takes an uncharacteristic breath of…water!
Released, he swims, chasing the glimmer of the bracelet
Gran gave the daughter who reveled in waves.
Straining for fading incandescence, flecks of silver,
his eyes and hands clasp cold silt,
flakes of sharp shale seething through fingers – crimson palms stinging.
A sea change ripples his shuddering back.
With a force summoned from the depths, her charged turquoise eyes unsuffer his heart
And holding out her hand to him, she knows. He knows. She speaks,
as his hand curls ’round her bracelet-clad wrist,
“Papa, just a little longer in the pool! One more time down the slide! Please!”
He nods; she won’t be his little mermaid much longer.

So there you go – a wrap-up to our heroine’s whirlwind adventure! You can see how the 2015 Progressive Poem progressed from Day One at the following locations:

1 Jone at Check it Out
2 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
3 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
4 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
5 Charles at Poetry Time Blog
6 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
7 Catherine at Catherine Johnson
8 Irene at Live Your Poem
9 Mary Lee at Poetrepository
10 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
11 Kim at Flukeprints
12 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
13 Doraine at DoriReads
14 Renee at No Water River
15 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
16 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
17 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
18 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
19 Linda at Teacher Dance
20 Penny at A Penny and her Jots
21 Tara at A Teaching Life
22 Pat at Writer on a Horse
23 Tamera at The Writer’s Whimsy
24 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
25 Tabatha at The Opposite of indifference
26 Brian at Walk the Walk
27 Jan at Bookseedstudio
28 Amy at The Poem Farm
29 Donna at Mainely Write
30 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

There’s so much going on today!  I’m very honored that Jama Rattigan has conferred upon me and fellow writer Greg Pincus the title of HotTEA…and you can learn more about what that means at her blog, Jama’s Alphabet Soup! (I’ve never been a HotTEA before – or a hottie, or even haughty – so this is all quite new to me) I also share an original haiku about a specific type of tea…can you figure out which one?
By the way, today is Poem in Your Pocket Day – AND Poetry Friday is at Mary Lee Hahn’s A Year of Reading this week, so you’ll find plenty of poetry there, starting bright & early Friday morning!
poetryfridaybutton-fulllDid you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

33 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: The 2015 Progressive Poem concludes here!

  1. Pingback: Z is for Zoo | Catherine M Johnson

  2. Catherine Johnson

    Oh my goodness I didn’t read yesterdays huge twist. I did not expect her to be so young. What a fabulous poem and great ending, Matt. The whole things reads so fluently.


  3. I really enjoyed this last night, but can’t comment on my phone… so I am now. As I re-read the poem (and noted later Amy LV said something very similar to what I felt) it was so clear. The imagination of childhood. And I am debating within myself for bringing this subject up here, but in schools, if all we entertain is the kind of thinking that is analytical and the transmitting of the accumulation of known information we wish to impart, how do we honor creativity? It is inherent in children and obvious to any parent who spends the time watching. And this poem so speaks to that beautiful need for metaphor, allegory and story. I also love how the poem evolves from so many minds in a collaborative homage to connection. Intriguing and each year so different yet strong. Thanks to Irene Latham for the idea. I am glad you chose this ending, Matt. And it also speaks to love, which we know endures and makes us even more creative. Janet F./Clare/Fagal


    1. Thank you, Diane! I’d be intrigued to see how it would have developed had more men taken part in it…there were only three of us, but since we often approach subjects differently, the story could have been wildly different.


  4. margaretsmn

    I was so surprised and delighted by the ending. I do wonder about the title. I thought the setting was a cypress swamp which is quite far from the ocean. But it is fantasy! Loved hearing your reading. I want to share this with my students. An amazing collaboration.


      1. Thank you, Margaret! True, it started out in a swamp somewhere in a delta- which would indicate it’s near an ocean – but she slid down a slide to get in, so who knows?? Then later in the story, a “sea change ripples” his back, and the “Sentinels” are supposed to help him…which leads one to believe she’s in the ocean at that point. I suppose something like “Delta Dreams” might be a good alternative, too. Your thoughts?


  5. maryleehahn

    I wasn’t sure how that twist at the end was going to work out. I was a little sad to see the magic go out of the poem. BUT…you saved the day! LOVE how you ended it. All kinds of perfect!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.