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Paul Gauguin “Young Woman Lying in Grass”

Fine poets! It’s Amaya tending bar for the one and only dVerse Speed Dating Night. Okay, not really but we are going to get personal (Cheesy pickup lines left outside, please. But I don’t need to remind poets of that 😉

In honor of Walt Whitman’s 199th anniversary of birth last Thursday, we’ll be inspired by his magnum opus, ‘Song of Myself’, from his work, Leaves of Grass. Say you were going to write a personal ad and didn’t want to waste your or anyone else’s time with a clichéd list of “best qualities”, acronyms on status, race, and sex, or interests such as “love taking long walks on the beach.” (Who doesn’t?) You can write your ad looking for a potential life partner or, visualize your fallen apart soul that has crumbled along life’s rugged path and you are trying to gather all the pieces to become whole once more. Honesty behooves you and your ‘missing part’ as it is the only way to attract that which you seek.

Write a poem that only your intended audience will get. Show them who you are, not who you want the world to see. When I think of sample poems, Whitman’s immediately comes to mind as he declares to the world in (at the time) scandalous free verse the celebration of love for both nature and humanity and how they carnally and spiritually intertwine within him. Here is an excerpt in which the poet demonstrates his inquisitive and innocent disposition:

“A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose?

Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation.

Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same.

And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair
of graves.”

To read the entire poem click here.

There is a lot of freedom with this prompt, but just remember to proclaim yourself as if your soul mate at the other end of the universe would recognize the one and only you.

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