Welcome to dVerse, fellow poets! Tonight, let’s get elementary. Let’s get back to the absolute basics of matter.
For Christmas this year, my son received a copy of Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersley-Williams. It’s a book of stories about the different elements of the periodic table. I thought it might be fun to write some poems inspired by elements, and that’s what I want you to do tonight. You don’t need to have any knowledge of science to do this – we rub up against the elements every day.
When you stop and think about it, you realise there are so many elements surrounding us all the time. Maybe you’ll write about gold – the ultimate treasure? Or carbon, present in charcoal, coal, but also in diamonds? Maybe oxygen? Maybe you’ll fill a balloon with helium and let it go bobbing off; or give me a poem that’s a neon light in a dark night. Or maybe you’ll head off down into the lower layers of the table where the stranger elements like uranium and polonium lurk.
Just to remind you of the wonderful, varied world of the periodic table, I’ve added a copy of it.
And here’s a link to the Royal Society of Chemistry‘s interactive version.
And here are a couple of very different poems inspired by two very different elements:
Oxygen – by Mary Oliver
Everything needs it: bone, muscles, and even,
while it calls the earth its home, the soul.
So the merciful, noisy machine
stands in our house working away in its
lung-like voice. I hear it as I kneel
before the fire, stirring with a
stick of iron, letting the logs
lie more loosely. You, in the upstairs room,
are in your usual position, leaning on your
right shoulder which aches
all day. You are breathing
patiently; it is a
beautiful sound. It is
your life, which is so close
to my own that I would not know
where to drop the knife of
separation. And what does this have to do
with love, except
everything? Now the fire rises
and offers a dozen, singing, deep-red
roses of flame. Then it settles
to quietude, or maybe gratitude, as it feeds
as we all do, as we must, upon the invisible gift:
our purest, sweet necessity: the air.
Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep;
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws and a silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.
Walter de la Mare
See? It doesn’t have to be scientific…
Once you’ve written your poem, connect it up to Mr Linky, and then make your way round our poetic periodic table. Please don’t forget to add a link to this post in your own post. It helps expand the dVerse world, and expand your readership.
Thanks for joining in!
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Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
Hello… I had fun writing this thinking about what to draw from iron.
You did brilliantly, Bjorn. I especially like that iron taste – blood has so much iron in it.
Hello, hello! Tonight our drinks will be mainly made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, in differing combinations! Welcome to the bar.
Thank you Sarah for this lovely prompt! See you in the poetry trail everyone!
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Good evening all! Thank you for a tricky challenge, Sarah, that made me think.
Thanks for joining in, Kim. Hope your week is going well.
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Linda Lee Lyberg said:
Hi Everyone- Thanks for hosting Sarah! I re-worked an older poem that I have been wanting to revise. Great prompt! I hope everyone is having a fabulous week so far.
Thanks for joining us, Linda. Always good to see you here.
Hi, Sarah (and all). Thank you for hosting, and for this prompt. I’m behind on everything, so I will have to ponder a bit. I just got around to yesterday’s prompt.
Don’t worry, Merril! Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with it all.
If I don’t get to it, I’m coming back to this prompt.
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Hello Sarah and All. Great prompt with so many possibilities. Sunshine and warm from yesterday has faded to grey chill. The giant flakes of snow falling this morning was almost worth the change. A cup of warm cider with a cinnamon stick would be juuust right about now.
Mulled cider coming up! We add a dash of brandy round here, and a clove or two.
Yummy, thanks. Cheers!
Thank you for hosting Sarah! 🙂
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Thank you for this musing prompt, Sarah! Did a quite sad turn inspired by the book I finished reading last night. Looking forward to reading the elemental poems of this community!
Reena Saxena said:
The format used by Mary Oliver is interesting. Does it have a specific name?
Roslyn Ross said:
What a great book and such an innovative prompt.
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Thank you for this Sarah, something close to my heart 🙂
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Thanks for hosting. This prompt was fun! 🙂
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I can’t believe the widget expired already! I tagged it in the post, but don’t know how pingbacks work. Oh well.
It is open, sorry about the Mr. Linky early expiration. Thanks for joining in.
thank you thank you!
Sorry about that! I’m going to blame Christmas.
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