NaPoWriMo Day 12 Prompt for Friday, April 12, 2013 April 11, 2013April 11, 2013
“If you do not hear music in your words, you have put too much thought into your writing and not enough heart.
– Terry Brooks
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.
It’s my birthday tomorrow…so this prompt is sort of about one of my favorite movies, Harold and Maude. As part of the movie, Cat Stevens’ (aka Yusef Islam) music is used throughout as sort of a Greek Chorus—expressing various thoughts. 1. Find a Cat Stevens song you like. 2. Let it inspire a song lyric poem from you. 3. Yes it probably should have a repeated ‘chorus’/stanza (No it’s not a must—you’re a poet—you make your own rules).
You can accomplish this anyway you’d like but it should result in something more than a parody. It certainly doesn’t have to have any relation to Cat Stevens or any of his songs except that you were inspired by something in a Cat Stevens son (tell us what song inspired you).
Here’s a You Tube of a newer Yusef Islam/Cat Stevens song that might be new to many: Boots and Sand
A live different sort of performance of one of his best known
Three of his very best
Sitting (do listen to the original but this 2009 Royal Albert Hall performance is worth a look) The Wind (short and just about as perfect a song you could ask for—from a 2007 concert) Father and Son
Prompt 10 suggest using one of your favorite quotes to inspire a poem. Here’s mine.
Poem Starter 1410 (for one of my favorite quotes)
By Christopher J. Jarmick
The millions spent on research,
tests, focus groups, proved
would be a huge success.
Not really a Favorite Quote poem
By Christopher J. Jarmick
“THAT’S you’re favorite quote?” she asked
in an instantly defined incredulous tone.
“Certainly one of my favorite quotes.”
“More than the building your wings on your
way down by Bradbury.”
“I love Bradbury’s quote”
“You love Bradbury’s quote but it’s not your
“I love lots of quotes. Whatever it is I’m against it”
“You do love Groucho,” she smiled
“I do love Groucho, “
“But you’re going with this one? “
“It’s truth in three words.”
“Truth? I don’t see it with that quote”
“Cuts through everything.” .”
“but People know all sorts of things,” she dismissed.
“They THINK they do, pretend they do, convince themselves
and others they do, but …”
“YOU’RE convinced you’re right about things most of the time.”
“proving how true the quote is,” I smiled.
“So you aren’t usually right?”
“Right in the moment perhaps, but right forever and forever? What’s right mean?
When I remember what someone said I might be right but maybe they
didn’t mean what they said—said it under duress or to prove a point.”
“Scientists know lots of things,” she said.
“And they don’t know lots of other things, and they keep testing what they think they know
and sometimes discover they were wrong and have to figure it all out again. “
“God knows everything.”
“Not a person.”
“Not a person?” she asked.
“Not human. Doesn’t have a body. And if God knows everything then why
don’t we have absolute faith, why don’t we believe it all the time.”
“Well I didn’t say I knew everything.”
“There you go.” I said.
“I don’t know everything but I’m sure I love you.”
“The love card.” I sighed.
“I can play it.”
“You have faith you love me…”
“I know I love you.”
“I know I love you too.” I added quickly.
“So there’s something you know…which makes the quote false.” She stated.
“Do you always know you love me “
“I know I love you.”
“Or do you believe you love me, decide you love me, promised to love me,
insist on loving me….”
“I Love you.” She said.
“Even when you’re really mad at me.”
“I stay no matter what, right?”
“So far.” I said.
She said nothing.
(Uh oh… wrong thing to say. Good at saying the wrong thing.)
“Even if I left, I know I love you. Always will,’ she said.
“And what does love mean?”
“Everything.” She said.
“Everything?” I said.
“Absolutely.” She smile confidently.
“Absolutely Everything?” I asked again.
“Yes, absolutely everything.”
“And everything is everything all inclusive, no matter what,right?”
“Right. Everything is everything including your tricks,” she said.
“Everything including things you don’t like,
like Spiders and surface mold and…”
“Everything,” she insisted.
“And that includes nothing.”
“Nothing is the opposite of everything.” She argued.
“Something is the opposite of nothing,” I said. “Everything
would include everything even the opposites something and nothing
or it wouldn’t be everything..”
Fine… yes, Everything including nothing,” she pouted
“Which is saying Anything and Everything….”
“And you know this because you know everything there is…” I said.
“Of course I don’t know everything there is.”
“So you don’t know everything and anything.”
“Nobody knows everything…” she said.
“But that’s not the quote and people know all kinds of things.”
“People think they know all kinds of things but its based
on a combination of facts and faith ,beliefs and culture and
trust and love and…..”
“Okay, so maybe you are right and it’s a truth.”
“And maybe I’m not right as you want to prove….”
“Okay, but you said it’s your favorite quote…”
“Definitely one of my favorites” I said.
“But maybe not your favorite?”
“That makes no sense.”
“It can’t really make sense.”
She smiled: “I see what you’re doing.”.
“You see what I’m doing?”
“We know what an inch is.” She said suddenly.
“Anything includes something. If we know something, then you
can’t say we don’t know anything.”
“What? I’ve got it don’t I? I proved the point.” she beamed.
“Ha…!” she said.
“What can I say?” I shrugged.
“Ha…,” she repeated.
“Looks like you have to pick another quote.”
“No.” I said.
“No makes it even more profound.”
“Explain.” She demanded
“Anything includes something, you are right….but everything is constantly changing so anything and something are changing. The inch doesn’t matter if you should be measuring in millimeters or if you
don’t need to measure at all.”
“ But something in the moment is still something.” She said.
“Then I know something.”
“many things, lots of things.” I agreed..
“So there you go.”
“Are you a nobody?” I asked.
“No, I’m somebody….of course.”
“a somebody who knows some things…”
“Nobody is a nobody…” she stated.
“You could be nobody…”
“To someone in another part of the world who has never met you,
you are nobody.”
“Technically I suppose, a matter of perspective.”
“and your perspective is you’re a somebody that knows some things….”
“Right which disproves the truth of the quote.”
“But you aren’t a Nobody…” I smiled
“Oh now you’re just twisting it all around again.”
“Then I’m wrong about this?” I asked.
“You’re wrong about this.”
“and you know I’m wrong about this?”
“yes I know you are wrong about this…the quote isn’t a universal truth, it isn’t
“and you know everything about universal truths?”
“Not everything, but I know some things about universal truths.”
“and you know everything about my universal truths?”
“objectively I know some things…”
“but not subjectively?”
“well I know some things subjectively…”
“and you know subjectively about what I know about universal truths?”
“I know you’re an asshole,” she said.
“But you love me anyway.”
She sighed. “Yes, I love you anyway and if you want it to be your favorite quote
then it is your favorite quote.”
“Now go write your poem.”
“I might make this the poem.”
“Our conversation a poem?”
“Could be a poem.”
“I don’t know that it could be a poem.” She said.
“I don’t know either, but that seems fitting”
“Yes, certainly for the quote.” She said.
And I know it’s best to let her have the
“Thank you,” I said.
“You’re welcome,” she finished.
(The quote Nobody Knows Anything and comes from William Goldman’s auto-biographical Adventures in the Screen Trade. In its context there, Goldman decided upon this truth as he wrote and sold a number of screenplays to various studio executives. Nobody Knows Anything. It applies broadly and helps me usually keep a sense of humor. It has sparked many wonderful conversations with a variety of people.
The root of the word Poetry is from the Greek ποιέω (poieō), “‘I
make’”). , poiesis, meaning a “making” or ‘creation’
Poetry is Everything
Christopher J. Jarmick is a Seattle based writer, very active in the Northwest Poetry Community. His latest book is called IGNITION; Poem Starters, Septolets, Statements & Double Dog Dares. Click on it to find out more about it.
Copyright© Christopher J. Jarmick 2013