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SADDLE-UP SALOON; COLLEEN’S DOUBLE ENNEAD CHALLENGE NO. 8

Happy September! Welcome to a new Carrot Ranch double ennead monthly poetry challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at the Saloon with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have an entire month to write your poem.

HINT: You can find this post again by typing: double ennead challenge in the search box to the right of the Carrot Ranch banner. That will bring up the most recent challenge post. ❤

Check out the poems from last month HERE

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

With the first day of Autumn quickly approaching on September 22nd, my thoughts naturally turn to pumpkin spice, hot apple desserts, and warm cuddly blankets. Think about how this season interacts with our five (or six) senses: taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing.

“Your five senses help you take in information from the world around you. These senses are also a powerful tool to use when you’re writing. They help convey a message to readers by providing a strong image in their heads.” Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/article-5-senses-in-poetry

For example, think about Autumn and describe it using your five senses:

  • Taste: pumpkin spice, mulling spices, apples, pears, harvest foods, etc.
  • Touch: wet rain, cold fog, warm sunlight, soft blankets, bonfires, etc.
  • Sight: leaf piles, fall color, red gold and orange leaves, wheat sheaves, corn stalks, bales of hay, pumpkins, etc.
  • Smell: wet, moldy, wet leaves, decayed leaves, pumpkin spice, baked bread, etc.
  • Hearing: autumn rains, cool or stormy winds blowing, geese honking in migratory flocks, etc.

My example follows:

"Lady Autumn"

welcome Lady Autumn— 
wet dew on grasses,
foggy sunrise awash over the fenland
sunshine between shadows,
chilly to the touch

red-tipped maples glitter
embracing the Queen 
of all seasons, trouping their finest colors
like burnished leaves displayed
in a royal crown

nothing gilded can stay
every leaf must fall
for a vivid autumn is death's finest hour
cold rain despoils the bracts
death, decay follow

© 2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

This month, write a double ennead poem dedicated to Autumn. Pay special attention to sensory words.

  • Post it on your blog or in the comments if you don’t have a blog.
  • Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media!

Now have fun and write some double ennead poetry!

Saddle Up Saloon; Linkin’ Inklings

“Kid, is thet…”

“Yep. We got ranch hand and columnist Sue Spitulnik ta take the stage. Howdy Sue!”

“Hello Kid, hello Pal. It’s good to be here again.”

“I fer one am real glad ta see ya Sue. What d’ya got fer us t’day?”

“I’d like to share another stage, Pal. I’m here to invite Carrot Ranchers and any writers to take part in Inklings.”

“I ain’t got an inklin’ what thet is.”

“Inklings is a weekly online writing “critique” Zoom meeting, open to the public through the Lilac City Rochester Writers (NY state).”

“Think I mighta heard Shorty goin’ on ‘bout thet group.”

“Well, Charli Mills recently gave a great presentation to this writing group. She talked about the need for three bios and how to tweak them for specific purposes. Of course, my group was impressed with her. She was impressed with our organization and the questions people asked. It was a win-win and I got to introduce my mentor/friend.”

“So how does this work, Sue? You say anyone can take part?”

“Yes. Inklings is hosted every Tuesday from 8 PM to 10 PM EST by David Woodruff. As president of LCRW, I attend regularly. Authors take turns sharing the screen and reading small bits of their WIP work aloud. Then other attendees express what is working and what isn’t. We do our best to not do line edits as we are usually working with first drafts.”

“Soun’s friendly enough.”

“It is! I usually read my weekly 99 word flash. Even those can be improved when others see/hear them. As we say at the LCRW Inklings website:

What if there was a place you could meet your fellow writers virtually? What if there was a place where you could read your draft work to others, without having to edit it or spend hours using a spell checker? What if there was a place you could help other writers with their work… no prep necessary? Now there is. Every Tuesday 8 PM

The group is different from other groups because we focus on what the writer has left out that makes the story clear to the reader. As writers, we know what our characters are thinking and doing, but sometimes we don’t share enough details for the reader to get what we are trying to convey. This group shares thoughts of whether the writer has accomplished their goals.”

“Sounds good, Sue.” 

“It is. Barbara Helene Smith says ‘The weekly Inklings sessions provide excellent feedback on my submissions, but I also learn even more from the comments on the other contributors’ works. Join us on Tuesday evening at 8:00 and become a better writer.’ And Rick Taubold has found the group to be very helpful; ‘It has offered diverse perspectives on my writing that are hard to come by otherwise. The various comments have given me good insights on how to improve my storytelling.’

I know for me, listening to all the comments with an open mind has helped me improve my own writing because I have become more aware of what to do to engage a reader and keep them wanting more. And participants do not have to be members of LCRW.”

“Really?”

“Really. Some of us are regulars and members, but we get other participants. Inklings and can be found on Meet-up. That’s where the Zoom link for the 2-hour sessions is. You must join the LCRW meetup group to be able to click on the events tab, and then the Zoom image to get the meeting link. But there is no other obligation.”

“So we kin jist go ta   https://www.meetup.com/lilaccity-rochesterwriters/   ta join in?”

“That’s all, Kid. And you get camaraderie and feedback on your WIP.”

“Wow! Thanks fer sharin’ Sue.”

“Thank you Kid and Pal!”


I
f asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

If’n your summer (or winter) has been as busy as mine, I shore do ‘preciate your comin’ back for more poeming.

Still, I didn’t get many volunteers in last month‘s offer to send me your poem needing a bit of meter-tinkering. The offer is open, even if you’re reading this months or years after its posting.

Now, on to more FUN poetry specifics:

If my #1 pet peeve is meter, my #2 is when people write poetry for entirely the wrong reasons and are therefore showing off.

Their work is flowery, superfluous, showy, fluffy, wordy, adverby -in short, too much tell AND show in some of the worst ways possible. Their poem ends up a mash of obscure words and emotional pleas that lack a concise theme.

If a poet is new to The Game, s/he will do this innocently.

If a poet is old to the game, s/he will do so because swaths of followers are wowed by a naïve misunderstanding of what really makes poetry good. What will make it memorable. What makes it timeless.

How do you avoid this pitfall? The same way you do with regular exercises: brutal murder of useless words.

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”

Stephen King

This is one reason why I believe Dr. Seuss is among the poetic masters. How many words does he use is The Cat in the Hat? And yet, I love it. And yet, with my kids, that book I still get…

This is also why, in intentionally ignoring the other rules haiku must follow, I had us try 5-7-5 for our first form. I am sorry to those who felt stabbed at my casual treatment. It had to be done.

Make your poem concise!

Compact!

To a point -please, please have a point to your poetry!

Easier said than done? Nah.

The way I see it, the most common reason a poet strays too far is because the poem doesn’t feel special enough. We have a misconstrued idea that poetry must be mysterious (obscure), beautiful (flowery), long (wordy), and impressive (vainglorious). It DOESN’T; at least, not in the blundering way we try to get it there.

The purpose of a poem is to capture the feelings of a moment and then use the artistry of words and meter to convey that exact moment and its feelings to another.

So, take your moment; your idea.

  1. Write the moment. Try the first exercise we did, word balloons, free-writing, doodling, or finger paints.
  2. Form the words of your moment more poetically. If you feel comfortable following a form, do so. If free verse appeals, try that.
  3. Follow the first two steps a few times. Let someone else read what you’ve got and tell you what they think you’re writing about.
  4. Next, fix the meter. Even free verse poetry follows a meter.
  5. Last and most difficult, murder the unnecessary.
  6. Polish.

And, I want you to use the attached form to send me what you’ve got at any step along the way. I’m happy to give pointers and I NEVER judge writers negatively. Writing’s difficult enough without worrying about judgment.

If you feel up to it, comment with what you end up with after step 6.

I’m waiting.

—–

©2021 Chel Owens

Saddle Up Saloon; Picture Prompt

“Kid? It’s awful quiet aroun’ here… do we got a guest? Who’s takin’ the stage this week?”

“Ain’t got nuthin’. Again. But don’t go blamin’ me, Pal, I cain’t do it all. Our dang writer— ah, shift, here she is now, this cain’t be good. D. Avery, where in heck ya been? We could use a little help runnin’ this here saloon.”

“Sorry Kid. And no, I don’t have anyone lined up for you to interview. My computer is on the fritz, I’ve been working and playing hard, and quite frankly it isn’t easy corralling people to be interviewed by you.”

“D., yer excuses is lamer ‘an a old broken down nag.”

“Whoa, back up. Shush, Kid. Yer workin’ D.? Thought ya was retired. What’re ya doin’ now thet ya ain’t teachin’?”

“Working at the local hemp farm.”

“Hmmf! Hemp? Ya makin’ rope or smokin’ dope?”

“None of the above. It’s CBD marijuana, cannabidiol type. You know, for medicinal oils and tinctures.”

“Sounds like snake oil ta me.”

“All I know is it’s a growing business. And I get paid to exercise outdoors on one of the most beautifully situated farms in the great state of Vermont.”

“Exercise? Thinkin’ ya mean manual labor.”

“Yes, but you know what the 4-H kids say.”

“No, I don’t. What d’they say?”

“Well the pledge is, as I recall, ‘I pledge … My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to larger service and My Health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world’.”

“Ya tryin’ ta tell us this’s some sorta 4-H project? Growin’ pot?”

“No, Kid, but it sure does my heart, health, and head good to be working with my hands again. And I’m among good people and the operation is all organic. Worse things could be going on on that acreage.”

‘S’pose thet’s a fact. So what’ve ya been doin’ there, D.?”

“Well, this past couple of weeks it’s been a lot of weed whacking.”

“Weed whacking the weed?”

“Yes, clearing the weeds and ground cover that are around the plants. Clearing the way for harvest. And, from that work, maybe there is something we could run for the saloon this week Kid. See, when you have row upon row of repetitive work to do, your mind gets to travel a bit.”

“Uh-oh…”

“The crew and I are out there, dressed for our work, you know, long pants, boots, and a harness that helps support the straight shaft weed whacker. We march in and transform shaggy fields into regimented, groomed rows of sturdy plants.”

“Uh-huh…”

“Anyway, my mind went back to a scene from a family visit to Arlington National Cemetery a couple years ago.”

“‘Cause a them straight rows?”

“No. Because of the weed whacking brigade. On our way to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the Marine in full dress uniform makes his precise drills, I noticed men in drab green work clothes marching through the rows of headstones. They moved with precision and as a unit, their weed whackers held expertly as they maintained those hallowed grounds, keeping them in pristine condition.”

“I kin see how ya made thet connection whilst weed whacking with yer crew, D., but what’s thet got ta do with runnin’ somethin’ fer the saloon?”

“I’ve had these pictures handy for over two years. The picture in my head is stronger. I’ve thought there is a story there, but I have yet to write it. So maybe—”

“A photo prompt! Mebbe folks’ll connect ta these picture an’ they kin provide some stories!”

“Yes, exactly. Any length they wish. They can post and pingback through their own sites and/or leave their story below in the comments. And it doesn’t have to be exactly this scene. Their story could be about going to an acclaimed event, but then they see something that leaves an unexpected impression… my visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is more memorable for me because of the parallel scene.”

“When I’m at a rodeo sometimes I miss the action in the arena cuz I’m takin’ in the re-actions in the stands. An’ thet’s what I end up ‘memberin’ the most a thet event.”

“Yeah, Pal. So what’s the prompt?”

“Folks, if these here photos inspire ya ta a story, or lead ya ta a memory or story ‘bout a time thet weren’t the main event, please share in the comments or with a pingback ta yer post. Ev’ry pi’ture tells a story. What d’ya have ta say ‘bout what ya see?”

The Unknown by D. Avery

The boss calls me Manuel, calls me Mexican. Manuel is not my name, Mexico is not the country I come from. I am Guatemalan. “What’s the difference?” he asks, but does not really want an answer. 

Hundreds of people come every day to this cemetery where I do this work. These people honor their soldiers. They are awed by the endless rows of headstones, each engraved with a name. 

My father, my mother, my brothers and sisters— they had names. My village had a name. 

The boss says I am lucky to have this job. I know that’s true.

 If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon; Receipt Rustlin’

“Shouldn’t thet title say ‘Recipe Rustlin’’ Kid? Er did ya go an’ change the plan? Agin?”

“No, we’re good ta go. We put the word out fer summer recipes an’ some folks has sent us their receipts.”

“Receipts? Are we payin’ folks fer their recipes, or are they payin’ us? What’s the word Kid?”

“The word could be receipt or recipe. According ta Merriam-Webster 

‘Both recipe and receipt derive from recipere, the Latin verb meaning “to receive or take,” with receipt adding a detour through Old North French and Middle English.’

“The dickens, you say!”

“Yep. Receipt’s jist the older version a recipe. In fact, still accordin’ ta Miriam-Webster, 

‘The form recipe is the Latin imperative, and its original use, a couple hundred years after receipt, was not in cooking instructions but in prescriptions, where it was used to preface a list of medicines to be combined (as though to say, “take these”). Eventually that word got abbreviated to an R with a line though the leg, which we later would render in print as Rx. So on a doctor’s prescription pad, Rx originally indicated the command to take that which was listed after, and Rx (or the R with a line through the leg) eventually came to serve as the universal symbol for a pharmacy or pharmacist.’

“Well Some good summer recipes— receipts— might be good fer what ails us. Geoff LePard has an innerestin’ one here fer what he calls summer pudding that looks as easy as one, two, three. Says it’s a simple way to use up any surplus summer fruits—strawberries, raspberries, red and black currants, blue berries, etc.”

You cook up about 800gms with a tablespoon of sugar until the juices are released. 
Then you line a l litre pudding bowl with slices of white bread — the cheaper the better — that you have de-crusted and soaked in some of the juice. When the bottom and sides are complete you put the fruit gunk inside and cap with more soaked bread. 
Put a plate on the top, weigh it down and chill for a few hours.

When needed turn out and eat with cream/ice cream/yoghurt. You can freeze it too. 

“Oh, that’s seems yummy, Pal. But it looks like we put dessert first. Here’s a marinade fer some hearty barbecue an’ a substantial an’ tasty macaroni and shrimp concoction from ranch hand and columnist Sue Spitulnik. These two recipes are some a her family’s favorites.” 

Bar-b-q Chicken Marinade

2 eggs – beaten well

2 cups brown cider vinegar

2 rounded tablespoons poultry seasoning

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients together, pour over chicken (with skin) to cover

Marinate at least 24 hours

Cook chicken over charcoal fire turning and basting a few times.

Macaroni – Shrimp Salad

   1 box macaroni rings – cooked

   5 or 6 hard-boiled eggs – chopped

   2 cans baby shrimp with liquid

   4 green onions – cut in small rings

Dressing

   1 cup sour cream

   3/4 cup mayonnaise

   2 tablespoons brown cider vinegar

   1 teaspoon grated celery seed

   1 teaspoon salt

   3/4 teaspoon black pepper

“An’ all the way from South Africa is Robbie Cheadle’s mielie milk bread recipe, a staple a their braais.”

“Their what?”

“Braai means barbecue, Pal.”

“My word!”

“Yep.”

Mielie Milk Loaf

Ingredients

4 x 250 ml (4 x cups) self-raising flour (or use plain cake flour and add 2 teaspoons of baking powder)

10 ml white sugar

5 ml salt

1 x 400 gram tin creamy sweetcorn

300 ml low fat milk

15 ml oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 190 C. Grease a loaf tin.

Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.

Add sweetcorn and incorporate. Add the milk and oil and mix well.

Spoon into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean.

In South Africa, cooking meat, and other things like corn on the cob, over an open fire is popular and traditional. Here it is called a braai as opposed to a barbecue and the meat that is cooked is usually steak, boerewors (a traditional Afrikaans sausage), chicken pieces, and chops. 

The men braai and the women make the salads and other side dishes including mielie pap and tomato relish and this delicious mielie milk bread.

“Those recipes all sound real good Kid. Innerestin’ too. But what about our writer? Nuthin’ from her?”

“Shift, Pal, she don’t have too many tricks up her oven mitt. She was gonna share a couple a her father’s pickle recipes, but… 

Yep, she was all proud a hersef, was preservin’ her brother’s plethora a picklin’ cukes along with preservin’ her father’s legacy fer fine pickles. Thought that was a fine thing ta do, what with him gittin’ on in years an’ all. Was gonna organize this treasure chest too. Reckon if she don’t find them pieces a lined paper he writ on she’s gonna have ta go back an’ ask fer the secrets all over agin.”

“Hmmf. Makes ya wunner what her receipts file looks like.”

“No. It don’t. Speakin’ a recipes an’/or receipts, here’s more from Merriam-Webster:

The sense of receipt that we know today—that of a statement documenting the receiving of money or goods—began in the 16th century, and by the 17th century, both words were referring to cooking instructions. While recipe is the preferred word for that meaning today, the memory of being handed down “a receipt for cookies” does get handed down—like a beloved recipe—from older generations:

I was after a recipe (or “receipt,” as my mother called them) for corn bread that came from the heart of the Old South. 

— Theron Raines, Gourmet, May 1988

Her receipts, as she insists on calling them (rightly, too), are in the best tradition of New England cooking, often rich perhaps in eggs and cream, but not exotic… 

— The New York Herald Tribune Books, 13 Dec. 1942

“Reckon when our writer does git aroun’ ta rootin’ through thet recipe box a hers she’s gonna stir up some memories a people an’ places from her past. I know she’s been purty selective ‘bout what she collects fer thet box. There’s stories in there.”

“Yep, our fav’rite foods come with stories, Pal, ‘sociations. Mebbe some a our Saloon patrons’ll leave a recipe or a family food story in the comments.”

“What d’ya say folks? D’ya call it recipe er receipt where ya come from? D’ya have a old family recipe been handed down over generations? D’ya have a favorite cookbook or one a these file card boxes?”

Brined in 99

The cucumbers are cut lengthways and set in a crock of brine. Like him, the crock and its contents are a presence. His grandkids love or hate his infamous sour pickles. They goad one other, laugh through watering eyes as their faces twist and pucker. Some claim to like them and go back for seconds.

The Old Man’s bent walk is more labored, the slicing and onion dicing more challenging for his swollen hands, yet each summer he pickles. His progeny find the crock in its place, solid and reliable, pickles sour yet surrounded by sweet memories. Like him.

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

SADDLE-UP SALOON; COLLEEN’S DOUBLE ENNEAD CHALLENGE NO. 7

Happy August! Welcome to a new Carrot Ranch double ennead monthly poetry challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at the Saloon with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have an entire month to write your poem.

HINT: You can find this post again by typing: double ennead challenge in the search box to the right of the Carrot Ranch banner. That will bring up the most recent challenge post. ❤

Check out the poems from last month HERE

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

Poetic Inspiration

Do you search for poetic inspiration? If you do, I’d like to share a discovery with you. I’m obsessed with the Oracle… what is the oracle, you ask?

POETRY ORACLE

The poetry Oracle is magnetic poetry. Click the link above and choose one of the category icons in the lower online version after the first group. A series of words will appear and you can drag and drop the words into the white area to create your poetry. I often use the Oracle when I’m looking for inspiration.

The Oracle works for syllabic poetry as well. On another browser tab, I usually have a syllable counter open as I compose my poem. I type in the words to check my count.

Here are the words I received from the Poet Kit:

Now, I will drag and drop the words until I have the makings of a poem. There is a button to choose more words. I cycle through the word selection and grab words as I compose my poem. I’m conscious of syllable counts, but for now, I’ll just grab words that closely match the count.

Finally, I’ve composed the first stanza of my double ennead poem (6, 5, 11, 6, 5 syllables). I took a screenshot to share with you:

Always check your syllables with a syllable counter when composing and writing syllabic poetry. The pronunciation of words is very important to convey meaning in your poems. You can use sodacoffee.com/syllables/ as a syllable counter. I checked my one stanza below:

I don’t expect you to compose your entire double ennead poem using the Oracle… although the Oracle works well with longer-form freestyle or prose poetry, too. If I’m looking for inspiration when writing syllabic poetry, I enjoy the magic the Oracle sends.

This month, try experimenting with the Oracle. Write only ONE stanza of a double ennead poem and share it on your blog.

My example follows:

"Full Moon Magic"

velvet smiles let joy dance
through vast heart-sky clouds,
remember hot kisses lingering—steamy...
delicious poetry, 
warm perfumed desire

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

Experiment with the poetry Oracle. Write only ONE stanza of a double ennead poem (6, 5, 11, 6, 5 syllables) using magnetic poetry. If you’d rather write a double ennead poem, and not try out the magnetic poetry site, write about a theme of your choice.

  • Post it on your blog or in the comments if you don’t have a blog.
  • Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media!

Now have fun and write some syllabic poetry!

Saddle Up Saloon; Back in the Saddle?

“Well, Kid, yer puglet cleaned out the pantry an’ now we’ve finally cleaned up after her. Phew! So now the Saloon’s cleaned up what d’ya got planned fer this week?”

“Planned? Thought ya knew I was on vacation, Pal. Thought you was gonna take the reins.”

“Ah jeez, Kid, not agin! An’ thet writer a ours done dropped the ball week afore last too, also off gallivantin’ aroun’. Well, mebbe I’m on vacation too!”

“It’s a funny word, ain’t it Pal? Vacation. ‘Specially fer our writer, ‘cause near as I kin tell she don’t really do anythin’ anyways, so what’s she gittin’ away from?”

“Reckon folks jist need ta git away from their reg’lar places an’ people so’s they kin ‘preciate ‘em more mebbe when they git back.”

“Reckon. An’ it’s good ta git out an’ see dif’rent people an’ places. Kin be right thought provokin’. Where do you vacation Pal?”

“Ain’t so much where as what Kid. Cain’t ever’one git ta go too far, an’ anyways, why would I wanna vacate this here Ranch? But they’s ways ta git all relaxed without too much trouble. Fact thet’s an important thing fer folks ta be able ta do.”

“Take a break fer themselves?”

“Yep. Kin be somethin’ simple like makin’ a space an’ a time fer yersef, ya know like when Shorty does yoga an’ listens ta calmin’ music in her unicorn room. An’ thet kayakin’ sounds like a good way ta take a break, git all calm out on the water.”

“Sure, or takin’ a hike, mebbe fixin’ a picnic, anythin’ where yer takin’ time fer yersef. Jist doin’ somethin’ outta the ordinary kin be a break thet refuels ya fer the stuff thet was drainin’ ya.”

“Yep. But I bet ya used ta take big family trips when you were a kid, Kid.”

“Sure did Pal. Lotsa campin’ an’ fishin’. Always liked seein’ historical places too.”

“Well, since we ain’t got nuthin’ planned fer the Saloon stage this week, ain’t got no one featured er anythin’, mebbe folks’ll hep us out an’ share their vacation stories in the comments.”

“I jist hope if folks are gittin’ out an’ about that they’re bein’ real careful. But the Saloon is a safe space ta share yer campfire yarns or yer vacation memories. An’ if folks email our writer with their favorite summer recipes we kin have another Recipe Rustlin’ next time. I always injoy learnin’ what other folks like ta fix.”

“Thet’s a good plan.

Folks, use the comment section ta tell us ‘bout yer vacationin’ er ways thet ya manage ta git a break. An’ also, email our writer at shiftnshake@dslayton.com an’ git yer favorite summertime/barbecue recipes featured in our next Recipe Rustlin’ episode. Heck, git yerself featured. Jist contact our writer. Unless yer on vacation a course.”

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Man, oh woman, this has been one heck of a month! Thanks to all the poets (you *are* all poets!) for playing along with these prompts despite your busy lives. I tip my hat to ya.

Last time I got up on this here stage, I encouraged y’all to intentionally mess with meter. A few did so in the comments; I hope many more tried it on their own.

Now, destruction is always easier than construction. To create more difficult than to destroy. Ice cream is far better than raisin cookies. -You get the idea.

Therefore, we must now turn our metering ear to improvement. I have a few, easy exercises for your poeting minds:

  1. Read this poem, preferably aloud:
    At last, I lie upon my bed.
    At last, I sigh; rest my head…
  2. Decide what’s wrong with its meter.
  3. Fix it.

I’m waiting.

If you did Steps 1-3, your Answer Key is that the meter -the BEAT of the poem- trips up between sigh and rest. It needs an extra syllable there; maybe an and.

Did you see that? Did you fix it?

Let’s try another:

  1. Read this one; again, preferably aloud:
    The cow is a member of the bovine ilk;
    One end is moo, the other, milk
    .
  2. Decide what’s wrong.
  3. Fix it.

This one is a mutilated version of Ogden Nash’s The Cow. If you are familiar with his original, your mind automatically corrected it to how it should sound. If you are unfamiliar, your Answer Key hint is that I added two words (a member) where there were none.

Let’s try another!:

  1. Read it so they can hear it in the back:
    Because I could not stop for Death –
    He sure stopped for me –
    The Carriage held just Ourselves –
    And Immortality.
  2. *Tick* *Tock* *Tick* -Can you find the problems? There are two.
  3. Well, fix them!

You may have guessed that this is an excerpt from Emily Dickinson’s Because I Could Not Stop for Death. You may have cheated and fixed it based on her original words; I replaced kindly with sure and omitted but from The Carriage held but just Ourselves. Did you choose to add the same words as she? Another two-syllable word will work for kindly; another one-syllable for but.

What am I trying to do here?

…Actually, I’m trying to enclose your mind more than free it. I’m trying to help you see the pattern of words. I’m trying to help you feel the rhythm. Feel the ride.

Films aside, learning to feel the meter of a poem is very important. Knowing this meter is vital to taking your own poem and realizing one reason why it just doesn’t sound right.

So, you have homework:

Send me your poem. Use the form that I’ve included and send me that bit of your creation that’s niggling at you so much you just want to stick it in a shoebox and shove it under the bed. You and I are going to do what you did with my poem, Ogden Nash’s, and Emily Dickinson’s: FIX IT! We are going to look at the meter and decide what will make it flow.

Go on. I triple dog dare ya.

—–

©2021 Chel Owens

Saddle Up Saloon; Colleen’s Double Ennead Challenge No. 6

Happy July! Welcome to the Carrot Ranch Double Ennead Monthly Poetry Challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at the Saloon with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have an entire month to write your poem.

HINT: You can find this post again by typing: double ennead challenge in the search box to the right of the Carrot Ranch banner. That will bring up the most recent challenge post. ❤

Check out the poems from last month HERE

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

Last month’s challenge was TUFF! So, this month, let’s write our double ennead using the image below or expound on the theme of travel!

For more inspiration read: What Is Ekphrastic Poetry?

Our Inspiration:

Image by Thanks for your Like • donations welcome from Pixabay

Use the image above to compose your double ennead poem. Remember to count your syllables using the sodacoffee.com/syllables site.

My example follows:

"Travel through Books"

books give me wings to fly
to charming spaces
where characters invite me into their lives
to stay for just a while—
bittersweet friendships

books give me wings to fly
to far-off places
where the battle against good versus evil
wins out at the finish—
soul-satisfying

books give me wings to fly
to learn new concepts
for writing poetry and fun flash fiction—
travel the world of books
enjoy your flight—read!

© Colleen M. Chesebro

Poetry is based on your perceptions. After all the places I lived and traveled to, in and out of the Air Force, the theme of travel is still exciting. (Although now, I do most of my traveling through reading). While I wrote this double ennead with the theme of travel through the reading of books, you might feel and interpret the image differently. Follow your inner voice for inspiration.

In this double ennead, I used the literary device of repetition by intentionally using the phrase “books give me wings to fly” for effect. Poets often employ this technique. We should use the phrase at least two or more times for the repetition to be noticeable. The words or phrases should be repeated within close proximity of each other. Repeating the same words or phrases in a poem brings clarity to an idea and makes it memorable for the reader.

In the next month:

  • Write a double ennead poem based on the image above.
  • Post it on your blog or in the comments of this post.
  • Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media!

Now have fun and write some syllabic poetry!

Saddle Up Saloon; Howdy Reena Saxena!

“Hey Kid. Where ya been?”

“Been aroun’ the world an’ back Pal!”

“Sure hope ya got someone ta take the stage this week.”

“Yep, sure did! Here she is now. Howdy Reena Saxena! Welcome ta the Saddle Up Saloon.”

“Hello Kid. Hello Pal. Thank you for having me.”

“Whoa, Kid, Reena Saxena? She’s been writin’ aroun’ here fer a long time!”

“That’s right, Pal. I entered Carrot Ranch sometime in 2016. Poetry comes naturally to me, but I always thought I couldn’t write fiction. The non-fiction heads that you see on the menu of my blog are the ones I started with, but did not make much headway in gaining views or followers.

Then, the creative bug struck and I started pouring out whatever came to mind, in response to writing prompts. It helped to refine my writing skills and learn new formats. I discovered that I could easily write 100-300 word stories, if not a novel. These are slices of life, rather than a journey from beginning to end.”

“Well we’re sure glad ya tried yer hand at flash fiction, Reena. We’ve always enjoyed yer stories here at the Ranch.”

“Thank you, Kid. The Carrot Ranch is interesting, because I have to stop one word short of 100. Of late, I find that I start writing, and then find that the word count is exactly 99 as needed. Universal energy flows my way. I don’t change anything after that, though there may be flaws in the storyline or flow.”

“Ha! I know of a few folks that’ve got honed inta the 99 word count. D’ya ever go back ta them stories an’ do somethin’ dif’rent with ‘em? Or d’ya use the 99 word restrictions in yer other writin’?”

“Stories change every time one hears or reads it, and change again when the reader changes. The stories I write here have come from somewhere in my neural pathways, which keep changing. Yes, I’ve used part of the stories in social media posts to make an impact.

My work of fiction “When Time Stopped” starts with a flash I wrote here on WordPress. The story is carried ahead into metaphysical realms.

 I usually go with a 100 word limit, not 99. Those pieces, if tagged correctly, are easily searchable on the internet.”

“Ya got a fav’rite genre?”

“As far as genres that I write in, I’m still on a journey. I am a former banker, coach, image consultant, writer, artist, feminist and all of that finds a way into my blogs and books. Each subject demands a different style.

I started blogging with quotes from the masters, and links to scholarly articles. I received feedback that I need to relax, and make the style more conversational and engaging. Quora happened on the way, and I was chosen Quora Top Writer in 2018. Writing fiction and poetry on WordPress helped me improvise writing on other platforms. This is a learning ground to practise skills. 

Of late, I’m doing the scripts for online learning videos, which need a lot of storytelling and storyboarding. I’ll be immodest enough to say that I’ve come a long way.

My books that you’ll find on Amazon are fiction, poetry and banking.”

“Wow, yer mighty versatile, Reena.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/HnrQ_BzpInM_vFmBWGkD4JDjoIBADFC9B17RYZcG1yEwEXxYThOoKRlCxk51tfmWw8XKcgVLefLDE8VtJcoKN_ARM6wsJ0nr9DgrX3w68-Khz7qDBaUb5yYC0xDdQrzUmPh7HGI

The ebooks on my site MoneyGoalz are all the psychological side of personal finance.

I discovered I’m a writer at the core, and I choose creative writing, videos or finance as a platform to express the inner demons.

I’m sure I’ll manage to write a novel some day 🙂 There are so many stories inside me, which need to be sewed up in a garment, rather than a patchwork quilt.”

“Wouldn’t be at all s’prised ta see ya publish novels. Yer a woman on fire!”

“Actually, that’s another project! I am one of five Fiery Females  who started the blog SacredCircleforWomen.

Feminism is at the core of my being. I’ve shunned stereotypes all my life, and fought battles to be treated as an individual with a right to make a choice.

I found myself in a group of women from different countries and diverse backgrounds. We meet online once in a week, and found that feminism binds us all in a common thread. 

We bring to the table a pool of talent on coaching, writing, hypnotherapy, finance, digital marketing and content writing. We are on a constant look out for women who are willing to speak, write to share their journeys and insights. It can be any aspect of a woman’s existence and mindset. Feminism is a very small part of the package.

Women reading this are invited to blog, share videos on our platform or be interviewed.”

“Well, thank ya very much fer thet invite an fer sharin’ more ‘bout yersef.”

“Yep, thanks fer comin’ by Reena!”

“Thank you. Follow me on 

https://sacredcircleforwomen.wordpress.com/

https://www.reenasaxena-author.com/

I keep lurking around here on https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/, and that is how most of you know me.

“Well thanks agin fer lettin’ us git ta know ya better.”

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.