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Celia Dropkin painting dropkin02

In the tender gray,
I swim undisturbed.
by Celia Dropkin,
from, “In Sullivan County”

Happy December to All and Welcome to the Poets Pub! Lisa here as your pub host, offerer-server of liquid refreshment and tasty snacks from the magic cupboard, and provider of today’s prompt.

Before we get into the challenge, a reminder: Please mark your calendars now for this Thursday, December 8, at 3pm EST, as it is OLN Live! where Björn will be our host. OLN Live is a fun time of camaraderie where we gather; to read our poems, to interact with other pubsters, to hear them read their poems, and be welcomed to be part of the merriment without having to read. This will be our last OLN Live for 2022. Please check it out if you can.

Now on to the prompt!

It’s Prosery Monday at dVerse: where we write prose based on some given lines of poetry. This can be flash-fiction or creative non-fiction; cannot exceed 144 words in total (sans title); must not be poetry (no versification, line breaks, meter, etc); and must include the given poetry line, word for word, within the prose.

I decided to look to see if I could find any famous poets that were born on December 5 and was delighted at how many there were:
Elena Kazantseva (1956) from Belarus
Christina Rossetti (1830) England
Bhai Vir Singh (1872) India
Lewis Nkosi (1936) South Africa
Afanasy Fet (1820) Russia
Celia Dropkin (1887) Russia
Josh Malihabadi aka Shabbir Hasan Khan (1898) India/Pakistan

I was unable to find any poetry in English for Kazantseva or Nkosi. If you click on any of the links it will take you to good information on all of them (and their poems, other than the two mentioned.) What is amazing is just how good their poetry is. It was difficult to choose one for today’s prompt line. I finally had to make a decision and went with Celia Dropkin, who was born on December 5, 1887, in Russia. From my good friend, wikipedia:

Dropkin was born in Bobruysk, Russian Empire to an assimilated Russian-Jewish family. In Yiddish her name was Zipporah Levine, and later Tsilye Drapkin. Her father, a forester, died of tuberculosis when Dropkin was young. Dropkin, with her mother and sister, were taken in by wealthy relatives. Dropkin exhibited intellectual abilities at a young age. She attended Russian-language school and gymnasium (high school), after which she taught briefly in Warsaw. In 1907 she went to Kiev to continue her studies, and there came under the influence of Hebrew writer Uri Nissan Gnessin. Under his tutelage she wrote poetry in Russian. She returned to Bobruysk in 1908, and shortly thereafter met and married Shmaye Dropkin, a Bund activist from Gomel, Belarus. Because of his political activities, he fled to America in 1910, leaving Dropkin and their son (Dropkin John Joseph) to follow two years later.

Dropkin became active in Yiddish cultural circles in New York City, translating many of her Russian poems into Yiddish for publication in Yiddish literary journals beginning in 1917. For many years she was a regular contributor to a wide variety of journals; she also wrote stories and a serialized novel to earn money, but was more interested in poetry.

During the Depression the family moved frequently in search of work. They lived for several years in Virginia and later in Massachusetts, before returning permanently to New York in the late 1930s. In 1943 her husband died unexpectedly; after this event her output slowed considerably. Dropkin died of cancer in 1956, and was buried in the Arbeter Ring section of Mt. Lebanon Cemetery in Queens, New York.

Please note that the top image was painted by Dropkin. She was a person of many talents!

“In Sullivan County,” the poem the chosen lines come from, is magnificent and well worth a read, as are ALL of the December 5 poet poems. The lines to write to:

In the tender gray, I swim undisturbed

Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to incorporate the above quote into a piece of prose. This can be either flash fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction, but it must be prose! Not prose poetry, and not a poem. And it must be no longer than 144 words, not including the title. (It does not have to be exactly 144 words, but it can’t exceed 144 words.)

• Please include Celia Dropkin and the poem it came from on your post
• You must use that entire line. You may change punctuation and capitalize words, but you are not allowed to insert words in between parts of the sentence.
Write a piece of flash fiction or other prose of up to or exactly 144 words, including the given line.
Post your Prosery piece on your blog and link back to this post.
Place the link to your actual post (not your blog or web site) in the Mister Linky site.
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