Poetics:  Lost poems and Found poetry

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I’m not an intrepid traveller mostly because I fear being lost, not finding my way in another language, even to the post office! I might parrot-fashion the basic questions but inevitably the answer comes too quickly for comprehension! Thus I’ve certainly never ventured as far as the Republic of Niger  as Susan Rich does in her Lost By Way of Tchin-Tabarden “ (full text here)


“…It’s so easy to get lost and disappear, die of thirst and longing
as the Sultan’s three wives did last year. Found in their Mercedes,
the chauffeur at the wheel, how did they fail to return home
to Ágadez, retrace a landscape they’d always believed?
No cross-streets, no broken yellow lines; I feel relief at the abandonment
of my own geography. I know there’s no surveyor but want to imagine
the aerial map that will send me above flame trees, snaking
through knots of basalt. I’ll mark the exact site for a lean-to
where the wind and dust travel easily along my skin,
and I’m no longer satiated by the scent of gasoline. I’ll arrive there
out of balance, untaught; ready for something called home.”

Like the terrifying tale with no happy ending of the Babes in the Woods, Pablo Neruda is ”Lost in the Forest”

Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:
maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,
a cracked bell, or a torn heart.

Something from far off it seemed
deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,
a shout muffled by huge autumns,
by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves.

Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind

as if suddenly the roots I had left behind
cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood—
and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.”

Even when we go nowhere, we can still lose our way, like Peter Schneider getting  Lost in Plain Sight (full text here)

“Somewhere recently
I lost my short-term memory.
It was there and then it moved
like the flash of a red fox

My short-term memory
has no address but here
no time but now.
It is a straight-man, waiting to speak
to fill in empty space
with name, date, trivia, punch line.
And then it fails to show….

It is lost, hiding somewhere out back
a dried ragweed stalk on the Kansas Prairie…”

In her usual prose poetry style Maxine Chernoff is looking for a particular item in “Lost and Found

I am looking for the photo that would make all the difference in my life. It’s very small and subject to fits of amnesia, turning up in poker hands, grocery carts, under the unturned stone. The photo shows me at the lost and found looking for an earlier photo, the one that would have made all the difference then. My past evades me like a politician. Wielding a fly-swatter, it destroys my collection of cereal boxes, my childhood lived close to the breakfast table. Only that photo can help me locate my fourteen lost children, who look just like me. When I call the Bureau of Missing Persons, they say, “Try the Bureau of Missing Photos.” They have a fine collection. Here’s one of Calvin Coolidge’s seventh wedding. Here’s one of a man going over a cliff on a dogsled. Here’s my Uncle Arthur the night he bought the prize peacock. O photo! End your tour of the world in a hot air balloon. Resign your job at the mirror-testing laboratory. Come home to me, you little fool, before I find I can live without you.

And so for this challenge, you have two options to choose from:

1. ‘And the lost were found’:  Select ONE of the above ‘lost poems’ (or one of your own finding where something or someone is lost) and write your poem as response with the resolution of finding, being found or returned etc.  

OR

2. Finding a poem within a poem or prose:  Select ONE of the above ‘lost poems’ (or one of your own finding where something or someone is lost ) and re-write is as a ‘Found poem’. It does not have to be as rigid as an erasure poem for you can add in some of your own words or even reorder it.

Whichever option you choose you must include a reference to the poem you selected  but better still, include the original within your post or alongside your own poem, especially if you are opting for a Found poetry style. [And for those of you who need to double-check what Found Poetry is see HERE:]

Hint: you can see the full text of your chosen poem by clicking on its link

And so that others can find you, add your poem to the Mr Linky below and go visiting others as that is half the fun of our dVerse gatherings.