Poetry Friday: Responding to Rilke

In February, I took part in Laura Shovan’s Found Poetry Project on Facebook. (Read more about this here.) Everyone agreed we wanted to continue the project with a new set of ten words each month. For April, Heather Meloche found ten words in “Early Spring” by Rainer Maria Rilke to inspire new poems.  From these words, (vanished, softness, meadows, rivulets, tendernesses, earth, subtle, risings, expression, and trees) I zeroed in on “rivulets.” Our family has been kayaking forever, and spring is a paddler’s favorite season, especially here in the Northeast. As I worked through my ideas, I realized I wanted a tighter form and that my lines were arranging themselves into tanka-like rhythms on their own. So I created a series of tanka for early spring.

Vanishing snow digs
furrows in softening earth.
Trickling toward the sea,
icy rivulets quench the
thirst of stirring roots and buds.

Joining together
in rising streams and rivers,
subtlety is lost.
A cauldron of froth and foam
bubbles up into being.

Growing impatient,
cascading over boulders,
water expresses
its overwhelming power,
sweeping away winter’s dregs.

© Catherine Flynn, 2017

My son Michael, facing spring’s froth and foam.

Please be sure to visit Doraine Bennett at Dori Reads for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

10 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Responding to Rilke

  1. Love the image you created in this poem of kayaking. We canoe and kayak here but with no rapids, just calm brown bayou water. I’m happy we were both able to find a poem with these words today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m new to kayaking, Catherine, so I’m not brave enough to tackle “the cauldron of froth and foam” or anything other than the calm Sudbury River here in Concord! I’m new to tanka, too, and attempted one myself. Love your series.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love how you started with trickles and ended with power. Have you read Heidi’s Niagara Falls poem from this week’s PF roundup?

    (Great photo, too!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, that picture of Michael is awesome, Catherine. I love this quiet line showing the spring power of water: “subtlety is lost.” There are so many warnings when snow melt begins here, when water is swift and strong. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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