Welcome to dVerse. Tonight, I’m going to organise some introductions in the bar.
A couple of years ago, I was having a discussion with my son about the internet, and the people he was engaging with there. I reminded him that you can’t really believe that anybody is who they say they are. They say they’re 14-year-old boys, but they could be 30-year-old women or 50-year-old men, I told him. I am a great parent.
He pointed out that I have online friends. “How do you know they’re poets, and not a bunch of 14 year old boys?”.
Well, thanks to Bjorn, I’m happy to report that I’ve seen some of you now – and heard your voices! Just before the summer break, Bjorn pulled together an online poetry meet-up/reading – and it was great. So many people from so many places – and time-zones. Some of us made a massive effort to be there (I’m looking at you, Sanaa).
One of the great things about dVerse is that people write regularly. I feel I know many of you in a very special way, through your poetry. And equally, I’ve told you things about myself – consciously and unconsciously – that I wouldn’t normally tell people, because that’s what poetry does. It opens us up.
For this prompt, I wanted to make that very explicit. I’d like to see some self-portraits.
If you look online, you can find self-portrait poem generators. You just fill in the boxes and make a poem. I know a few of you are teachers, and I’m sure you’ve done similar things with your pupils. I’ve definitely done similar exercises in workshops, but for this prompt, I want a little more.
If you were giving me a portrait of someone else, you might pull out one feature, or one incident, or start telling me about their eyebrows and head off somewhere completely different. I’d like a self-portrait that does something like that. By the end of this we might not know what colour your eyes are, but we might know what inspires you, or how you take your coffee.
Here are some self-portrait poems. I’ve ordered them so that they move from the more concrete to the more abstract:
Self-Portrait – Barri Armitage
Eyes, covered by thick glass, disguise the two,
four, a thousand parents who passed the blue
recessive gene by blue-hot touches in between
mending the plow or stirring the beans.
Mouth tries to perfect a closed design,
lips stretching since high school trying to hide
teeth that fought for space in a too-small chin
and practiced for hours natural grins.
Skin smooths over the face, guards a world
of feelings that pull and push to be heard:
of blood that rushes when the covers slip
when he takes off my glasses, presses open my lips.
Self-Portrait – A K Ramanujan
I resemble everyone
but myself, and sometimes see
despite the well-known laws
the portrait of a stranger,
often signed in a corner
by my father.
Self-Portrait – Eloisa Amezcua
I’m dangerous; there’s little left
inside this body —
that hasn’t wanted not to subtract
from the world.
I can divide a man into men. This
isn’t a warning
or confession. Call me what
in my own mind I’m a mirror.
I see everything
except myself. This way I can’t
lose: even when
broken, a polished surface reflects
whatever looks in.
What interests me is that even though Armitage gives a much more detailed physical description, I feel I learn more about Ramanujan and Amezcua from their less concrete poems.
So feel free to give me a detailed description of what you see in the mirror, or to use that as a springboard to head off in an unexpected direction. Give me a portrait of yourself as an extended metaphor – maybe you see yourself as a cat, or a jar of pickles. Tell me about an incident that sums you up, or made you wonder about your identity. Hog the limelight for a moment or two. Stand up on the bar and let’s have a look at you.
I’m sure you know what to do:
Write a poem and link it up to Mr Linky.
Please put a link back to this post in your post – it increases our traffic, and ultimately yours.
Read and comment – get to know your fellow barflies a little better!
All images from Pinterest, if you’re pinterested…
Hello, everybody – the bar is open! Come on in, have a drink and a look round. There’s always something interesting to see here.
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
Sarah your poem is no published yet… 🙂
I don’t know what happened there! Maybe I scheduled it in American time??? It should be up tthere now.
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
Hello… So fun to write this… had to play a little with words from my normal boring day
A very intriguing prompt, and I admit this one was challenging as well. I really enjoyed writing for this; it’s so interesting and it delves more into the psychology of a person and indeed their inspirations and what they see. I’m now off to read some poems here, but before I go, I’d love a cola. No ice please.
One cola, ice free, but you get a little umbrella with it!
Thank you! ☂️
Linda Lee Lyberg said:
Hello Sarah- Thanks for a thought provoking prompt! I’m back on the radiation train this week. After this week, only 10 more treatments to go- it will be a wonderful relief. The 3 day weekend was a god send – I had to chance to be free from it for a while. I hope everyone is doing well.
Think of you so often….counting down with you!
Linda Lee Lyberg said:
Thank you Lillian!
Only 10!!! You must be scratching them off. Hang on in there ❤️
Linda Lee Lyberg said:
Yes, I am!
Hello Sarah and All. The rain is soaking everything outside. The doors and windows are shut in daytime for the first time in months, but the sound of the rain still gets in. The cats are sleeping. A nice cup of hot tea would be nice today please. I’m heading for a quick trip to the library and will be back in a flash.
Hot tea coming up!
Thank you, ahhh just right.
Tea is my speciality.
Greetings dVerse Poets and good evening, Sarah! Thank you for hosting and for the selfie prompt. I’m not a fan of selfies, although I have let my daughter take a few, and I hate having my photo taken. But a self-portrait is fun. I’ve sketched and painted a few in the past. I’m excited about the poems you’ll all be posting. I might not get to read many this evening, but will have something to look forward to in the morning, as I tired myself out today with a 1 1/2 hour walk, a visit to the hairdresser, and worrying myself stupid over Lucas’s first morning at nursery (Kindgergarten). He’s just two and a half, but he only cried twice: once when Ellen had to leave him at the gate and once in sympathy with a little girl who was crying. Ellen said the first thing he said to her when she picked him up was ‘Mummy come back!’
It’s hard when they are so little – but I bet he loved it! Have a good rest, see you in the morning.
Thanks for hosting Sarah! I adore anything to do with Frida Kahlo – my friend has a mask that features her artwork!
I will be back on the poetry trail tomorrow….getting better acquainted with everyone through their selfie posts! So fun!
Helen Dehner said:
Quite the amazing challenge! Love it. I was in on the video chat and would love a repeat.
It was great, wasn’t it? I hope Bjorn sets another one up…hint hint…
That would be amazing to do again!
I am smiling hugely right now 😀 thank you for the kind mention, Sarah! 💝 I think I speak for everyone when I say that I was really excited when I first heard about dVerse Google Meet back in June. Wouldn’t have missed it for the world!
This is a fantastic prompt 🙂 I will be back shortly with a poem. Happy Tuesday! 💝
Thank you Sarah for hosting and for such an exciting prompt: the Poets’ Pub is the only pub I go to nowadays, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know you all a little better 🙂
Those interested can check out my photo at my art site, my name is Myrna Migala
Although that image is 8 years old, which reminds me, I should update it!
This is a fascinating prompt! I will try it soon and am looking forward to reading everyone’s posts. In the meantime, I’ll have a black coffee, with a chocolate chip cookie if you have it. 🙂
Hahaha, thanks, Sarah! By the way, I’ve written something but am not sure if I dare to post it. It might be a little too honest.
Well…sometimes it’s good to push a little.
I felt the same but let er rip anyway! 🥴
Cheryl – when I click your link it doesn’t take me anywhere!
I wrote and then trashed it. Too revealing
Fair enough. The writing is the important bit 😊
I put it out but then took it off.🥴
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Thank you for all your poems this evening. I’m off to bed now, but keep posting, and I’ll be back to read in the morning. Sweet dreams!
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This is a great prompt Sarah, thank you! I believe it will be an enriching experience in responding to it… 🙂
I had fun creating an acrostic for https://dversepoets.com/ You asked that we write a selfie poem today. You already know me – if you follow my blog. But, if you’re new to JanBeek, here’s a taste of who JanBeek is on http://www.janbeek.blog/selfie-poem
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For some reason when I click on Cheryl’s post it says it cannot connect. It was that way on the last post as well. Am I the only one?
I checked with Cheryl, and she took it down. I need to tinker under the bonnet of Mr Linky.
Thank you. I am sure she was wondering why no one was responding!
Mother Wintermoon said:
Very interesting prompt, Sarah! Thank you for hosting. 😊
Richmond Road said:
Skin that has failed to reflect
But reflecting the game
Both lost and won
Looking the same
Through my eyes
But not in the mirror
Here at the end
Yes. It’s me
Be proud of me, mother
I no longer pretend
Than what I would always be