Write a Poem using Dactyls. A dactyl is a three-beat foot of poetry which uses a waltzy, juggling sort of rhythm. The Dactyl goes BUM-ba-dum. Longfellow uses it a lot in “Evangeline” and Tennyson uses it in “Charge of the Light Brigade.” Use a few feet of dactyls sprinkled here and there, or make a whole dactylic poem.
Here’s my off-the-cuff attempt (you could waltz to it):
Here we are, singing and dancing like fools,
wandering into the woods and the leas,
leaving the stores and the churches and schools:
Follow your fancy and join us now, please.
(I just had a thought: Write a Terribledactyl poem. You know, like pterodactyl? Heh.)
1. Yesterday was tough, energy-wise–I had a big energy crash in the middle of the day, fortunately during my prep and lunch periods. Still, I am grateful that I am recovering, and this morning I feel a new surge of returning energy. I’ll conserve energy again today, but it’s nice to start out strong again.
2. Last week, one of my beloveds gave me some hand-me-downs. I LOVE hand-me-downs! And whenever I wear a shirt or a pair of pants or shoes that she gave me, I think about her during the day, and it makes me feel happy and connected.
3. Yesterday in Creative Writing, I introduced the unit project of each of us creating a chapbook with the best of the poems that we write during this unit. Halfway through the day, one of my CW students had emailed me a slideshow, beautifully designed, with several poems, just to check if she was on the right track. I love when they’re inspired by the projects.
4. Also in Creative Writing, I have given more extensions on the short story project than usual, not because people were overwhelmed or procrastinating (though there’s that element, too), but because they’ve gotten deeply into the stories, and want to extend them. There have been several earnest requests describing their process and their visions for their final stories. I feel a little like the students in these two classes are themselves elevating the class to a college level.
5. In one of my English 101 classes yesterday, the students began a spontaneous conversation on the differences between curse words and slurs. They’re very articulate and open-hearted and woke. They said they love this class because they can talk and have discussions. I tried to tell them it’s really them, as much as it’s the class–they just have this way, as a group, of building on each other’s ideas.
May we walk in Intention.
“Grief is normal. It’s not like you’ll have a life someday with no grief. Life is all about loss, but grief is the medicine for that loss. Grief is not your problem. Grief is not the sorrow. Grief is the medicine. The people that have grief cultural awareness are always turning all of their losses into beauty in order to make more life instead of just trying to get through it and then forget about it.” —Martin Prechtel
“The only weapon we have is our bodies, and we need to tuck them in places so wheels don’t turn.” —Bayard Rustin
“My turn shall also come: I sense the spreading of a wing.” —Osip Mandelstam, Russian poet and essayist
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” ―Washington Irving
“Gratitude is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us. Gratitude is not necessarily something that is shown after the event, it is the deep, a-priori state of attention that shows we understand and are equal to the gifted nature of life.” ―David Whyte
“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness—and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.
“The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling—their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.
“Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.
“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
―Arundhati Roy, War Talk
“And this brings us back to the Hen Wife—that figure of magic who dwells comfortably among us, not off by the crossroads or in the dark of the woods; who is married, not solitary; who is equally at home with the wild and domestic, with the animal and human worlds. She is, I believe, among us still: dispensing her wisdom and exercising her power in kitchens and farmyards (and the urban equivalent) to this day—anywhere that women gather, talk among themselves, and pass knowledge down to the next generations.” ―Terri Windling
2 thoughts on “NPM Day Fourteen: Dactyls”
Just wanting to say thank you, from afar, for blessing me with your thoughts and quotes, Beth.
I don’t read you every day, unfortunately many get deleted without a glance, but this morning I saw ‘dactyls’ and thought, hmmm, wonder what that means. I ended up sharing one of your quotes with a friend who’s experiencing complicated grief. The ripples of support and love spread wide.
Blessings on your day, Katy
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Thanks for that, Katie! In some ways, I feel like the blog is sort of a public journal, and when it catches your attention, or you feel like you might want to jump in, then it’s there for anyone else, too. I am glad you were able to share a quote today!
Blessings on your work in the world.