Carl Sandburg, First Person Narrative Poetry, Henry David Thoreau, I am, I am the People, Juan Ramon Jimenez, the Mob
Happy 9th anniversary!
Not 8th but going on our 9th year, whew!
For today’s Meeting the Bar, we are writing to the First Person Narrative, using “I am” as part of our poem. The voice, and the specific point of view is you, the poet.
This can be personal about something you would like to share about yourself. Or you could pretend you are another person or some figure throughout history or from fiction. Try to tell the reader what this character sees, feels, wants, illustrating their deepest thoughts within and honing in on what the senses are drawn to, using the First Person voice.
In expressing our “I am” poems, I encourage you to go beyond the usual descriptions of “I am” (a brother, sister, friend, citizen) and go experimental and creative with your “I am” poem. Think inanimate object, animal or groups of animals, planets and inter-galactic travel, streets, cities, plant, tree, or weekday or month or year, or even pandemic terminology.
I came across this description and I was amazed by the use of “dangerous intersection” in Big Bright Sun by Nates Pritts:
…One thing is certain: I am
not one of those stop signs you speed through! I am a dangerous
intersection; you should use caution when approaching me!
Here are some examples to help our creative writing.
I Am a Parcel of Vain Strivings Tied
by HENRY DAVID THOREAU
I am a parcel of vain strivings tied
By a chance bond together,
Dangling this way and that, their links
Were made so loose and wide,
For milder weather.
A bunch of violets without their roots,
And sorrel intermixed,
Encircled by a wisp of straw
Once coiled about their shoots,
By which I’m fixed.
A nosegay which Time clutched from out
Those fair Elysian fields,
With weeds and broken stems, in haste,
Doth make the rabble rout
The day he yields.
And here I bloom for a short hour unseen,
Drinking my juices up,
With no root in the land
To keep my branches green,
In a bare cup.
Some tender buds were left upon my stem
In mimicry of life,
But ah! the children will not know,
Till time has withered them,
With which they’re rife.
But now I see I was not plucked for naught,
And after in life’s vase
Of glass set while I might survive,
But by a kind hand brought
To a strange place.
That stock thus thinned will soon redeem its hours,
And by another year,
Such as God knows, with freer air,
More fruits and fairer flowers
While I droop here.
I Am the People, the Mob
BY CARL SANDBURG
I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food and clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from me and the Lincolns. They die. And then I send forth more Napoleons and Lincolns.
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for history to remember. Then—I forget.
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year, who played me for a fool—then there will be no speaker in all the world say the name: “The People,” with any fleck of a sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.
The mob—the crowd—the mass—will arrive then.
On the flip side, you can only use the title or phrase of “I am not ___” in your poem. Here is one poem:
“I Am Not I”
TRANSLATED BY ROBERT BLY
I am not I.
I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see,
whom at times I manage to visit,
and whom at other times I forget;
who remains calm and silent while I talk,
and forgives, gently, when I hate,
who walks where I am not,
who will remain standing when I die.
So for today’s prompt, compose a poem using “I am…” with a First Person narrative in any part of your verse. Go experimental and creative with your “I am” poem.
To join us for our MTB post:
See you at the poetry trail. ~Grace~
Welcome to our MTB prompt everyone. It is our 9th anniversary, not 8th. Please let me know your drinks so we can share a toast & verse. Looking forward to your poems. Cheers!
Linda Lee Lyberg said:
Hello Grace and all- Thanks for hosting Grace and Happy Anniversary! I think I’ll have an Arnold Palmer please to celebrate on this hot summer day.
I will join you with my Canadian Ice Wine. Hope it gets cooler and bearable at night.
brian miller said:
Nice prompt Grace. I love the Sandburg poem. I was reading some Kauffman this morning and also got a chance to rap with with one of Nepali friends on the sat phone… So that is where my i am ended up.
Love Sherrys poem as well.
Good readings Brian to stir up our pen. I am glad you are finding and sharing your verses with us.
Hello Grace and All. I can’t wait to read the poems generated from your prompt. The Sandburg poem as an example is deep as the ocean. The weather today is sunny and around 80F, just right with a gentle breeze. Grace, I’ll take a tall Magners please!
Today, its has been cooler but the heat and humidity will be escalating this weekend. Here’s a tall magners glass for you. It is going to be fun learning a little bit of our poets with this prompt.
Good evening all! Thank you, Grace for hosting, and for a great selection of poems to inspire us. I love this kind of prompt; I’ve done something similar with students when I was still teaching. I wasn’t going to write about my mum, but this morning I learned of the death of one of her cousins, for whom I was bridesmaid when I a child. That made me think of Mum, only eleven days after what would have been her 83rd birthday. I would like to toast dVerse Poets Pub, my mum and her cousin Kay with an alcohol-free sparkling wine, please, Grace.
I recalled my own mom when you mentioned handwritten letters. I share a toast with you, your mum and her cousin Kay, with a alchohol free sparkling wine from our Niagara winery. Take care Kim.
Thank you, Grace!
Hi Grace–and all. Thank you for the prompt and poems. I just got home–we were clearing out the storage unit where all my mom’s things went after she died in April. So, I may or may not post today. It’s been one of those weeks, and I’m behind on reading, too. . .
But yes, cheers to all and happy 9th!
Life is busy at times Merrill. Thanks for dropping by.
This is an element from a piece I wrote for a musical soundscape last year.
Thanks for letting me through the door!
Hey to The Soap Company
Hey to Walt Whitman, too!
Keep on keeping on
Perfect to share with us. Nice to meet you at dVerse. Cheers!
Nice to be here.
I will gladly take a cola. No ice please. 😉 Happy ninth!
I really had fun with this prompt narrative. It was a very creative and innovative writing exercise. A lot of my poems have similar themes, but I think this one is a bit different, perhaps a tad more solemn but then hopeful depending on the context in which you view it from.
I just really enjoyed doing this. Thank you for the prompt and opportunity. I will now indulge myself to what our fellow poets as well wrote.
I am so glad you are enjoying the readings & interacting with poets by your comments on their blogs. This is the fun side of writing and learning – reciprocating comments and visits. we love your company too!
Here’s a cola to you !!! Cheers.
Ron. Lavalette said:
Thanks, Grace, for the cool prompt. I’ll be giving it a try later tonight. Meanwhile, let me suggest to anyone interested, Paul Simon’s song lyrics for “I Am A Rock” which clearly fir the bill.
Little too busy from now til 9:00-ish, but maybe a nearly-midnight inspiration will strike. We’ll see.
Thanks for the music recommendation. Looking forward to your poem.
Sherry Marr said:
A wonderful prompt, Grace. The wild ones are always foremost on my mind and in my heart, so I spoke for them.
Thanks for joining in Sherry. I think I can guess what you are going to write about, wild woman, smiles.
Julie Karey said:
I am usually more of a painter, but am now taking inspiration from poetry and short stories, both reading and writing. Thanks for the invitation! I really enjoy this 🙂 .
Nice to meet you at dVerse. Can you put your link in our Mr. Linky, which is right under the post? This is so the other poets can visit you and you can visit them as well. If you are having issues, please let me know. Thanks.
Great prompt Grace, the mob resonated deeply … I am excited about this one!
Good to see you. Yes, Sandburg is an exceptional poet.
thanks for the intro!
Hello Grace, thanks for hosting and sharing the amazing poems, I’m a fan of Carl Sandburg, I haven’t read all of his poems yet but I aim to do so 🙂 You’ve shared one of my favorites! I’ve submitted my poem, this one came to me almost spontaneously like a reflex, as soon as I read your prompt. Thank you again 🙂
Thanks for joining us Jay. I am glad your muse is very good, allowing you to write it as soon as you read the prompt.
Here’s my attempt on I
Thanks for joining us.
Thanks for hosting Grace. (K)
Thanks for joining us.
I love it when the prompt fits whatever I’m working on at a given moment! Plus I love talking about myself (indeed all poems, like all dreams, are about the author, I think)
Perfect timing. Thanks for joining in.
Thank you Grace, a hint of Descartes and his famous dictum, ‘I think therefore ….” wonderful.
Yes, that famouse line. I will be making my poetry trail in a bit. Thanks for joining in.
Frank J. Tassone said:
Happy 9th Anniversary, Poets! Thanks, Grace, for hosting MTB, and for the intriguing prompt! See you all on the trail! 🙂
Cheers Frank! Have a good weekend !
Frank J. Tassone said:
Thanks, Grace! You, too! 🙂
Lona Gynt said:
Posting later than usual, delayed by busy schedules, banking errands, visit to my sweet shrink, and then… power outage. Power back on, after sharing a moment of nice silence with my sweetie, she had a mojito, I had a Diet Coke, we both had a nice hand holding time. Thank you for hosting dear Grace.
You made the best time out of the situation. Thanks for joining us Lona.
Lona Gynt said:
always a pleasure Grace!
Just Barry said:
Oh my. This sounds like a strong prompt. I’ll have to mosey on over and read a few after I’m done watching Hamilton for the billionth time.
Late and I cheat, but as a thanks to your prompt giving me the first words when nothing could be said… https://borderlinewritings.wordpress.com/2020/07/20/i-am/
Arun Kumar said:
Admirable work 👍👍